I came to Hitchcock a little later than some, seeing my first film somewhere around 2002, when I was about 22 years old. That first film wasn’t the famed Psycho or Vertigo or Rear Window, it was The Trouble with Harry. This film holds a special place in my heart as it launched my interest in Hitchcock and very soon after viewing it I went on to watch the aforementioned films and then some. As regular readers of my blog know, I am endeavoring to read all of the books that inspired Hitch’s films and this one is based on a book by Jack Trevor Story, which I have not yet read, but I still couldn’t resist re-watching the movie this weekend. It’s an ideal film for welcoming in the cooler fall weather. The screen becomes saturated with the vivid, crisp hues of autumn.
A group of quirky, eccentric, and undoubtedly endearing characters each stumble across the same dead body in the woods. Each of them has their own peculiar reactions to the body, several of them believing themselves to be the murderers. However, none of them seem to be particularly disturbed or upset by what they’ve discovered. Both the physical atmosphere and the tone of the film are so light and whimsical that you almost forget that you’re watching a murder mystery. An early scene depicts a man and woman jovially making plans to meet for muffins and tea while standing over the dead body. Although comedy and Hitchcock aren’t usually mentioned in the same breath, this film could certainly be called a comedy, albeit dark comedy.
What better to accompany a perfect fall film than a quintessential autumn dinner. Some variation on pork and apples is one of my favorite cool weather meals. This one features a spice-crusted pork tenderloin, baked apples, and French style green beans with onions.
Spice-Crusted Pork Tenderloin
1 Tbs. whole fennel seeds
1/2 tsp. ground corriander
1 Tbs. chili powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 whole pork tenderloin (about 1 – 1 1/2 lbs.)
Combine all spices and then pour out onto a large plate or carving board. Roll the tenderloin in the spice mixture until it is evenly coated on all sides (don’t worry if you have some of the spice mixture left over). Grease a small roasting pan or casserole dish. Roast at 375 for about 35 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
5 medium green apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1 Tbs. flour
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbs. butter, cut into 4 cubes
Grease a pie or casserole dish. Toss apples with the next four ingredients then spread evenly in the dish. Place the chunks of butter on top of the apples. Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes – or until tender but not mushy.
**The green beans are simply sautéed in olive oil with thinly sliced onions, salt, and pepper.