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Two of my favorite film directors of all time are Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980) and Yasujiro Ozu (1903-1963) who are of the same generation and born just a few years apart from each other on opposite sides of the planet. What I find so fascinating about both directors is how they take locations and destinations in their films and make them actual characters. Hitchcock was a master at this in all of his films and especially with Vertigo and its location San Francisco, To Catch a Thief and the French Riviera and perhaps the most dramatic in North by Northwest where Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint take us on a journey from New York to Chicago to Mt. Rushmore. Below is a special movie trailer from YouTube with Alfred Hitchcock himself as the "travel agent" trying to promote his special "vacation" - it is a classic and in true Hitchcock style. Enjoy the movie!

I grew up in Southern California where the movie business is just like any another business. I fondly remember my Uncle Buddy giving me tickets to the Academy Awards like they were just ordinary tickets to a concert. Celebrity in Southern California was just another personality trait. You either had it or your didn't. I think this is when I first became fascinated by the idea of "cult of personality" which I later studied at U.C. Berkeley during my undergraduate years and is the driving force behind my future book Jackie & The Taj. I have studied film extensively over the years and find it to be a powerful window on the world. 

In elementary school I produced, directed and acted in two films Dracula and the Rolling Bones Comedy Hour. Making films was just something that we did to express ourselves. Years later I learned that my Grandfather Clifton Lessing was also an amateur filmmaker, so the art of film has been in our blood. It is for this reason that I am excited about January 2011 when I launch my own series of films on Japan - TOKUTALK LIVE

Stay tuned as I will also show clips from my Dracula and Rolling Bones Comedy Hour and rare footage from my grandfather when he was traveling in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan in the early 1960s. 


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