Martin Scorsese Brings “Lost” Hitchcock Film to Screen in Short Faux Documentary

Alfred Hitch­cock fans should enjoy this 2007 com­mer­cial by Mar­tin Scors­ese. It was com­mis­sioned by the Cata­lan sparkling wine mak­er Freix­enet for the com­pa­ny’s annu­al Christ­mas cam­paign, with the con­cept of mak­ing a short film that would some­how weave the Freix­enet brand into the plot. Scors­ese respond­ed with a nine-minute homage to the mas­ter of sus­pense.  “Hitch­cock is one of my guid­ing lights,” he told El País at the film’s Decem­ber 2007 pre­mier in Madrid. “It’s a satire of my own movie mania. It has to do with my love of cin­e­ma, and the impos­si­bil­i­ty of pos­sess­ing it.”

The com­mer­cial is struc­tured as a faux doc­u­men­tary, with Scors­ese appear­ing as him­self. With amus­ing­ly frac­tured log­ic, he explains to an inter­view­er his dis­cov­ery of a three-and-a-half minute frag­ment from an unpro­duced Hitch­cock script and his obses­sion with bring­ing it to the screen. “It’s one thing to pre­serve a film that has been made,” Scors­ese says. “It’s anoth­er to pre­serve a film that has not been made.”

The “pre­served” frag­ment, The Key to Reser­va, is pre­sent­ed as a film with­in the film. Bernard Her­man­n’s omi­nous music from North By North­west sets the tone. The roman­tic leads look some­thing like Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint. Hitch­cock afi­ciana­dos will spot ref­er­ences to a num­ber of the mas­ter’s clas­sic films from the 1950s, includ­ing Rear Win­dow, The Man Who Knew Too Much and Ver­ti­go. The Key to Reser­va was filmed by cin­e­matog­ra­ph­er Har­ris Savides and edit­ed by Scors­ese’s long­time col­lab­o­ra­tor Thel­ma Schoon­mak­er. The sto­ry is set in Carnegie Hall but the crew was unable to film there, so the his­toric con­cert hall had to be cre­at­ed dig­i­tal­ly from pho­tographs. Ben Gross­mann of The Syn­di­cate won a Gold Clio award for visu­al effects.

If you’re won­der­ing whether Hitch­cock would have been pleased by any of this, be sure to stay with the film until it’s amus­ing con­clu­sion. For more of Scors­ese pok­ing fun at his own movie mania, see our fea­ture from yes­ter­day, “Always the Direc­tor: Mar­tin Scors­ese Spoofs Him­self in Two Com­mer­cials.” And if you want to see some real Hitch­cock films, don’t miss our col­lec­tion of 20 Free Alfred Hitch­cock Films Online.

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