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National Portrait Gallery is definetly stepping up its movie program game this summer. The Smithsonian baby showed “Elevator to the Gallows” last week and this Thursday -(to)- Saturday is treating DC to a trifecta of Alfred Hitchcock’s (whose portait is on display at their very excellent Harry Benson: Being There exhibit) unique form of mystery with a sense of humor on the side. We wish they were showing “North By Northwest”, “Rear Window” and “Rope” as well, but then, no one (and no crime) is perfect.

On the cutting plate:

“Shadow of a Doubt”
Thursday, June 21 | 7 p.m.

Is Teresa Wright’s beloved Uncle Charlie, played by Joseph Cotten (who cut his thriller teeth in Orson Welles’ “Third Man” and can also be seen hamming it up with Bette Davis in “Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte”, for those of you that care) , the Merry Widow serial killer? Hitchcock’s direction of Thornton Wilder’s screenplay injects real terror into smalltown life.
Bonus: A discussion with author Tappan Wilder follows the screening.

“Strangers on a Train”
Friday, June 22 | 7 p.m.

In his movie that spawned a whole remake subgenre (“Throw Mama of the train?” anyone?) Hitchcock delivers murder, blackmail, and Oscar-nominated cinematography (and then some).
Bonus: A conversation with Geoffrey O’Brien, historian and author of “Castaways of the Image Planet” follows the screening.

“To Catch a Thief”
Saturday, June 23 | 2 p.m.

In our opinion, the 100% gem in the series:
The classic Hitchcock caper stars an Arsen Lupenesque Cary Grant (looking sharp in well cut suits, and mining all that “Philadelphia Story” and “Charade” patented charm) and Grace Kelly (looking sharp and icy blonde are ready to be married of to Monaco royalty any second now) chasing truth, jewelry, and each other around the French Riviera.
Crime never looked better.
Everytime you see a lady with a head scarf riding along in a convertible, you should know that this is where he inspiration came from
Bonus:Discuss Hitchcock’s Hollywood and the Cool Blondes with NPG historian Amy Henderson after the screening.

Buckle up.

Screenings and lectures for this series are all located in the Nan Tucker McEvoy Auditorium at the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture. Admission is free; doors open one half-hour before show time; seating is first-come, first-served.
for more details go to: National Portrait Gallery