Hitchcockian Influence On Films

Hitchcock profile & logo
Hitchcock profile & logo | Source

I love Alfred Hitchcock, the director, the producer...and the ham. In my opinion he was and is still one of the geniuses that came out of England and landed in Hollywood. A share gem.

I find his psychological makeup even more fascinating. So, i am a big fan of the subtlety in which he spins his yarns. He ridicules 'logic', reported saying, "There's nothing more stupid than logic".

I tell people all the time, 'if you want to learn anything about the human psyche and it's subtleties', they need to watch Hitchcock.

He seemed to have captured it so well and with such satisfaction that when one is watching his films and his TV shows you don't feel deprived.

Compared to mystery films nowadays his simplistic angles are a testament to days gone by and the intricacies of the human mind.

Being a mystery buff, i love details!

It's the details that make a film by Alfred Hitchcock worth watching. For instance his cameos in his own film, fascinating stuff. Have you ever spotted him?

He is noted to have pioneered techniques in suspense and psychological thrillers.

Hitchcock's camera angles for instance were created for movement, to mimic the person's gaze or view, engaging the viewer to participate in a form of voyeurism.

Hitchcock was the master of twist endings, strong sexual innuendos, psychoanalysis themes, and MacGuffians.

He intentionally took the audience for a ride, thrilling them as he weaved his story.

A MacGuffian is a decoy used in a mystery.

* MacGuffian, is not specifically important to the plot, but is used as a plot device in which the protagonist is in pursuit of something, but it's importance is never clearly defined or explained.

Career highlights

  • British cinema
  • silent movies
  • early talkies
  • over 50 feature films
  • over 60 years in the business
  • cultural icon
  • received 5 Academy Award nominations but never took one home until 1968, when he received the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award

Hollywood persona

  • Recognizable logo, his profile
  • liked to control
  • Star quotes about him, 'dull;, 'manipulative', depends on who you listen to
  • Leading ladies, usually icy blondes Tippi Hedern, Grace Kelly, Janet Leigh, Ingrid Bergman, Kim Novak to name a few
  • Leading men, Cary Grant, Claude Rains, James Stewart, Anthony Perkins, Sean Connery to name a few
  • liked to pull practical jokes

Background

  • Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, KBE, was born in England, August 13th, 1899
  • Birthplace Leytonstone, a part of Essex, now a part of London
  • He grew up as a Roman Catholic
  • Named after an uncle, his father's brother
  • Education, sent to religious schools
  • A lonely child because of obesity
  • father was a green grocer
  • youngest of three children and second son
  • Studied to be an engineer
  • Worked as a draftsman and advertising designer at a cable company
  • Dabbled in writing short articles while working as a draftsman at Henley's, for The Henley Telegraph
  • took up photography becoming a title card designer for silent movies
  • as a title card designer he worked for the London branch of Paramount pictures,
  • 1920, full time position with Islington Studios
  • Gainsborough pictures
  • five years to begin directing

Theatre experience, Recognizable film classics

  • North by Northwest
  • Suspicion
  • To catch a thief
  • Rope
  • Spellbound
  • Vertigo
  • Rear Window
  • Psycho
  • The Birds
  • Notorious

Other facts

  • Always had a weight problem
  • Limited military experience
  • Deep fear of police, stemming from an incident when he was five
  • Emigration to the US in 1939, becoming a Us citizen in 1955, 16 years later.
  • Marriage, wife, Alma - well known editor, met his wife at, already in the film business
  • Child, had only one child, Patricia, he used in films
  • Philosophy, idea behind film and movie motivation usually psychological, fascinated with psychoanalysis
  • Hatred of TV commercials
  • Blond obsession, female stars usually light haired
  • Directing ideas, always reminds one of the theatre, of course he started in silent films were most things were theatrically based and staged
  • Cameo ideas, was a ham, in most of his films there is a shot of him in the background, if you aren't quick enough you can miss him.
  • Silhouette brand, logo, Hitchcock uses his silhouette to heighten his awareness, it can usually be seen at the beginning of any one of his TV shows

* Knight Commander of the most Excellent Order of the British Empire. This is a title bestowed on him because of his body of work in the movie industry, by the Queen of England, even though he was no longer a royal subject or British citizen.

Accolades

Britain's Daily Telegraph, "Unquestionably the greatest filmmaker to emerge from these islands, Hitchcock did more than any director to shape modern cinema, which would be utterly different without him. His flair was for narrative, cruelly withholding crucial information (from his characters and from us) and engaging the emotions of the audience like no one else." This said in a 2007 after being first in a film critic's poll.

Movie Maker magazine

Hitchcockian

This is a general loose term used by and in the media business to explain a genre that people attach to Hitchcock's way of telling a story and directing for a film.

Hitchcock is a master story teller, but he uses film to get his point across.

Hitchcock is amazing because he could spin advertising to his advantage. Truth is the man was way ahead of his time when it came to commercialism and exploitation.

He experimented with fascinating subject. Kept his actors in the dark until it was time to shoot a scene. Allowed some versatility within the context of the actor's need to be expansive and expressive.

Hitchcockian themes

  • domineering mother
  • an innocent man accused
  • single setting to increase tension
  • double agents, characters that switch sides
  • average people thrown into dangerous situations
  • famous landmarks
  • mistaken identity
  • cool blondes

There are more but these are the most prominent to me.

Many of the things we enjoy in movies today can be attributed to Sir Alfred Hitchcock's meticulous control and obvious pleasure in creating a stimulation through which he controlled the audience and the players.

Tidbits

Hitchcock didn't like watching his own movies, once done

  • didn't like audience reactions
  • found them scary, himself


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