it is generally suspected there must also be evil."
-- Lord Byron
-- Lord Byron
Mystery is on the menu for the next course in our countdown to the American Film Institute's 10 Top 10, which means our top chef will be the master of the genre, Alfred Hitchcock. Nine of Hitch's greatest suspense thrillers are nominated, and all but Spellbound and Suspicion have appeared on previous AFI lists (mostly in 100 Thrills, naturally): Dial M for Murder, The Man Who Knew Too Much, North by Northwest, Rear Window, Rebecca, To Catch a Thief and Vertigo, which could very well top this list considering its top ten placement in the last 100 Movies ranking.
Giving Hitchcock some strong competition is Chinatown, which tops the fifty nominees (see the comments section below for the full list) with five previous AFI listings. Joining Vertigo right behind it with four mentions each are In the Heat of the Night and The Maltese Falcon, the most likely to usurp the top spot from Hitch. Also fairing well on prior lists is The Third Man, with three listings (along with Rear Window and North by Northwest). Rounding out the list of previous AFI honorees are two-timer Blue Velvet, plus The Big Sleep, The Fugitive, Gaslight, Laura, The Postman Always Rings Twice, A Shot in the Dark, The Thin Man (the oldest film among the nominees) and The Usual Suspects, which may fare better here then in the gangster category, where it is also nominated.
Among the movies vying for a first time on the AFI short list is the questionable "mystery" The Big Lebowski, plus two AFI Award winners, Memento and Mulhulland Drive. Other contenders include And Then There Were None, Charade, The Conversation, Gosford Park, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Kiss Me Deadly, L.A. Confidential, Murder on the Orient Express, Sleuth and, the newest of the nominees, The Bourne Identity.
The mystery of which ten films will be chosen as the best of the genre will be solved June 17, when CBS airs the three hour television event, AFI's 10 Top 10.