With Martin Scorsese on the mind following the triumphant Cannes premiere of Killers of the Flower Moon, I’ve been looking to catch up on the last few unseen films from the master, which led to the uncovering of a delightful, expertly crafted homage to the Master of Suspense. Shortly after the Oscar-winning success of The Departed in 2007, the story goes like this: Scorsese came across remnants of The Key to Reserva, an unproduced script written by Alfred Hitchcock. He set out to direct his version of it in the precise style of the late director. However, there is a twist.
The script wasn’t real. The whole endeavor, which feels like an elaborate film school exercise, was actually a campaign paid for by the champagne company Freixenet. Shot by Harris Savides, with assistance from Ellen Kuras, and edited by Thelma Schoonmaker, the film stars Simon Baker along with a pre-A Serious Man Michael Stuhlbarg and Christopher Denham, who would go on to star in the director’s then-forthcoming projects, Hugo and Shutter Island, respectively. Scripted by Ted Griffin, one can see Scorsese clearly having a blast while also delivering an important message about film preservation.
Featuring an incredibly accurate Saul Bass-esque title sequence, the concert hall setting will be familiar to anyone who has seen The 39 Steps or The Man Who Knew Too Much, but the homage doesn’t stop there. From lighting to specific camera movements, Scorsese nails the rhythms of a Hitchcock thriller perfectly, down to a cheeky meta final moment pulling in more references best left unspoiled.
For more Scorsese on Hitchcock, watch below.