Hitchcock - "Master of Suspense"

Alfred Hitchcock

Wickimedia
Wickimedia

Troubled Childhood

Alfred Hitchcock, the "Master of Suspense,” was probably one of the most interesting and talented men that has ever produced movies. He was born August 13, 1899, and died April 29, 1980 in Bel-Air; CA. Alfred grew up with strict Catholic parents. He was a lonely child and sheltered due to his obesity.

His harsh treatment as a child was reflected in many of his films. He revealed his father sent him to the police station once as a child with a note asking the police to lock him up for 10 minutes as a punishment for bad behavior. His mother’s punishment was to make him stand at the foot of her bed for several hours, which was reflected in a scene of Pyscho. His father died when Alfred was 15 years old.

Alfred Hitchcock attended college at St. Ignatius College, England, where he studied engineering. During his first job as a draftsman, he began writing and submitting short stories that had twisted themes and endings. By 1920, he had entered the film industry. His first film in England was “Blackmail”, which is noted as the first British “talkie.”

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Alfred Hitchcock's Moviemaking Master Class: Learning about Film from the Master of Suspense
Alfred Hitchcock's Moviemaking Master Class: Learning about Film from the Master of Suspense

Alfred Hitchcock is one of the most revered filmmakers of the 20th century. Not only was he the “Master of Suspense,” he was also an innovator of storyboarding, directing, framing, editing, and marketing.

 

London to Hollywood

In 1938, Hitchcock moved to Hollywood, and directed “Rebecca” in 1940. I watched this film on TV a couple of days ago for the first time in years, and as the movies progresses evil lurks below the surface and keeps you intrigued. The film won an Academy Award.

Some of his other well-known films nclude:

  • North by Northwest
  • Frenzy
  • Rear Window
  • Vertigo
  • Psycho
  • Dial M for Murder
  • Marnie
  • The Birds
  • The Man Who Knew Too Much
  • To Catch a Thief
  • Strangers on a Train

Many of Alfred Hitchcock’s plots worked as enticing themes that functioned as a way to understand his complicated psychological characters. He made numerous cameo appearances in his films, did several interviews, and appeared at the start of each TV show from his “Alfred Hitchcock Presents.” This TV series ran from 1962 to 1965. I remember our family watching his shows and enjoying his odd plots

House Where Hitchcock Wrote "The Birds"

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Hitchcock Wrote "The Birds"

Althought Hitchcock seldom wrote the films he directed, he did write "The Birds' in Pound Ridge, Westchester County, New York. Interestingly enough, this is the same house Bram Stroker wrote the script for "Dracula."

Hitchcock had always been fascinated with birds, but the movie did not really give us an explanation as to why the birds attacked. To get the birds to fly down to the actors, they had to smear ground meat and anchovies on their hands.

"The Birds" Alfred Hitchcock

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Rewards for a Lifetime of Work

Alfred Hitchcock became a U.S. citizen in 1955. He was awarded the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award in 1979, after directing over 50 feature films.

He won numerous other awards: 1961 - Best Director for Psycho and 1955 – Best Director for Rear Window. He was also nominated for six Academy Awards, four Emmy Awards, won eight Golden Laurel Awards, two Golden Globes and more than 50 other awards. He also won the Walk of Fame in 1960, for Motion Picture and Television.

Cast of Marnie

Tippi Kedron and Sean Connery Photobucket
Tippi Kedron and Sean Connery Photobucket

Tippi Hedren - Ruined Career

Tippi Hedren is well known for her role in “The Birds” and “Marnie.” Hedren was a model until Hitchcock discovered her, and she entered into a six year contract to act in his movies. He apparently was obsessed with this blonde and tried to control every move she made, down to what color lipstick she wore.

She did not want an affair with him, so she quit playing his games. She refused all of his orders. He told her he would ruin her career, and he succeeded. He kept her under contract for six years, paying her $600 per week, and she was not allowed to work for anyone else. At that point he would not let her work in his movies either. Ultimately, he did ruin her carreer as she missed the years that counted in becoming a great film star. A director in today’s world would not get by with the shenanigans of Hitchcock.

Alfred Hitchcock - Rebecca

Alma Reville Hitchcock

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Alma Reville – Hitchcock’s Wife

He lived his life with his wife for more than 50 years, Alma Reville, who was his closest collaborator. She was born Nottinghamshire, England in 1899, and married Hitchcock in 1926. They had a daughter, Patricia Hitchcock, born in 1928. Alma became Hitchcock’s closest confidant, script editor and most trusted ally. There were rumors concerning Hitchcock’s love of blondes and infidelity, but Alma stayed by his side throughout their marriage.

“Hitchcock,” a movie made in 2012 portrays his life with Alma Reville, who is played by Helen Mirren. Anthony Hopkins played Hitchcock. In the movie Alma is portrayed as Hitchcock’s creative partner, but they also show strife in the marriage and jealousy, which many people refute. The movie is considered clever and very creative, but not particularly accurate.

Patricia Alma Hitchcock

Patricia was born in England on July 7, 1928, and was an only chlld. After completing high school in Los Angeles, she attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. She appeared on-stage in London. She also had small roles in a few of her father's films, and she appeared in several of his TV shows. She has done numerous documentaries as well. She never achieved the level of fame that her father enjoyed.

She is happily married to Joe O'Connell and they have three daughters.

North by Northwest trailer (Alfred Hitchcock)

Summary

Alfred Hitchcock was surely affected by his painful childhood, but he used this experience to make some of the most intriguing films, with a great twist for the endings. He was a remarkable director and deserved the numerous awards and praise. He lived a long life with his wife. Regardless of his poor behavior at times, there marriage was solid.

© 2013 Pamela Oglesby

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Comments 53 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

He was a cinematic genius. Enough said.

Well done Pamela. I enjoyed learning more about him.

bill


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Billy, He truly was and I enjoyed the research. Thanks for the comments.


carol7777 profile image

carol7777 3 years ago from Arizona

I loved his movies and TV show reruns. However ruining someone's career does not make him a hero..But brilliant he was. You did a super job onthis. Voting up and sharing.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Carol, I love his movies also, but you are right about him not being a hero. He was however a very talented and creative director. I really appreciate your comments and thanks for the share.


MG Singh profile image

MG Singh 3 years ago from Singapore

Excellent post, but a trifle too long. I wonder why posts on Hub pages are so long. Sometimes brevity is the essence of writing. Read O Henry.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

MG Singh, Each to their own taste. The amount of information of any given topic may vary in length. I love O' Henry, but not all great authors write exactly like him. I am glad you enjoyed the information however.


janshares profile image

janshares 3 years ago from Washington, DC

Hi Pamela99. Thanks for this hub. I am an avid Hitchcock fan. I actually studied Hitchcock films in college. He is my all-time favorite director. I watched "Rebecca" a few days ago as well, great to see that work again. I also saw the HBO film "The Girl" and the motion picture "Hitchcock" you refer to in your hub. Stunning and revealing films. Very nice bio you have here, I enjoyed it. Voted up and interesting.


carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 3 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

It seems like the old Paul Gauguin precept that greatness is the result of suffering might be very true here. Great post, Pamela !!!!

PS.... Oh, and for Mr Singh's benefit, brevity might also be the sign of someone with nothing to say.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

jJan, I would love to see "Hitchcock" and "The Girl" as well as I am also a big fan. Thank you so much for your commetns.

Chris, I tend to agree with you on brevity. I also have to agree on suffering as sometimes the changes in a person are not what one would expect. Thank you for your comments.


kashmir56 profile image

kashmir56 3 years ago from Massachusetts

Awesome read my friend and a great well written and researched article. I loved all his movies, he was the best .


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

kashmir, I think a lot of us are fans of his movies. Thanks for your comments.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

Wow, Pamela, how fascinating! What an interesting and thorough hub here. Our family watched his shows growing up too. He surely was the master of suspense! I love suspense movies, so I really loved his movies.

I had no clue of his harsh childhood, but glad he used his sufferings as an outlet in his endeavors which, of course, proved very successful!

Wow, that was some kind of obsession there he had. Feel sad for the actress. His mean side surfaced there, as I guess his form of punishment, as his parents punished him but in a different manner.

It seems he chose the perfect wife for him no doubt, as it truly appears their marriage was very solid.

Voted up ++++ and sharing

God bless, Faith Reaper


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York

Great hub Pamela. Hitchcock has been a favorite of mine since childhood (okay I was a little twisted), I loved everything he did. I guess that was my segue into Stephen King.

I watched his TV shows, probably every one of them. I had heard hints about Tippi Hedren but things weren't confirmed publicly till long after it happened. Sometimes a man of genius is a little left of right!

Funny thing is I was thinking of writing about Hitchcock myself, but you beat me to it and did a fine job at that.

Voted up, useful, and interesting.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Faith, I love suspense movies also and have always been a fan of his. It does seem like he chose the right wife and his childhood certainly seemed to affect his work and personal life. Thank you so much for your comments and the share.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Mary, I think most of us are a little twisted. They use to be able to hide things better than they can know. It is a shame that Tippi didn't have the career she deserved. If I hadn't watched Rebecca a couple of days ago I might not have thought about writing about him, but that movie did it. I appreciate your comments.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York

I just had to come back and add; I thought Hitchcock appeared in every one of his films but when I looked it up he only appeared in 39 of his 52 films. Just saying.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

I thought the same thing but did not look it up. I remember watching for him on his TV shows. Thanks.


epbooks profile image

epbooks 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

Very interesting. I never took the time to look up his bio, so this was entertaining. Unbelievable how he ruined Tippi Hedren's career. Great hub!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

epbooks, I learned a lot about him with my research, yet I have seen everyone of his movies. I am glad you enjoyed the hub. Thanks for your comments.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

I still think of psycho when i'm in the shower. He was a great director. I have seen all of his movies. It was interesting to learn of his personal life. Thank you..Well done Pam....


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Ruby, Psycho was really scary and I try not to think of that movie. I like most of the others a bit more than that one. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub, and I appreciate your commemts.


midget38 profile image

midget38 3 years ago from Singapore

I love the man and his movies! Thought provoking, suspenseful entertainment. Thanks for sharing, Pam


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida

Hi, Pamela. This is a fascinating article about a very creative film director. Hitchcock himself would probably be pleased. My favorite Hitchcock films are 'North by Northwest,' To Catch a Thief,' and 'The Birds.' Thanks for your interesting research.


Mike Robbers profile image

Mike Robbers 3 years ago from London

One of the greatest directors ever. Thanks for sharing such an interesting and informative hub, Pamela!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Midget.I think you described his movies perfectly. I appreciate your comments.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

drbj, He sure made a lot of great movies, full of suspense. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and I appreciate your commetns.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Mike, Yes, he was. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. I appreciate your comments.


Vellur profile image

Vellur 3 years ago from Dubai

A great write up about Alfred Hitchcock. He was a great director. Voted up, interesting and informative.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Vellur, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and sure was a great director. I appreciate your commetns.


easylearningweb profile image

easylearningweb 3 years ago

Hi Pamela,

I just recently watched Vertigo for the first time. Although slow moving, it kept my attention and was interesting to watch, especially Jimmy Steward. I also saw Hitchcock in recent past. Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren did an excellent job...I would recommend this movie!

Voted up! :-)


Thief12 profile image

Thief12 3 years ago from Puerto Rico

I still have a long way to go as far as watching his films, but what I've seen, I've loved. The only one I didn't like that much was Suspicion.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

easylearn, I would like to see Hitchcock. I don't remember much about Vertigo,as I saw it so long ago. I know I really liked North by Northwest and Marney. Thanks for your comments.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Thief, I don't remembe anything about Suspicion, but generally love his movies. Thanks for your comments.


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 3 years ago from sunny Florida

Awesome. I am a huge fan of his. I have watched and rewatched so many of the films you listed as well as the tv shows that he gave us as well.

I have to see the Hitchcock movie even though it may not be so accurate as you mentioned.

Great hub. Voted up++++ and shared

Angels are winging their way to you this afternoon ps


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa

Very interesting article about Alfred Hitchcock. He was certainly a strange man and a master writer of suspense. I am still not over Psycho! I remember that I was hardly able to breathe during that movie. Really, only a brilliant mind can create that kind of suspense, and of course, extraordinary imagination. I wonder, if he was not a writer and director of suspense, with the opportunity to get rid of all his inner anger in a positive, artistic way, who would he have been? Excellent hub, Pamela!


rose-the planner profile image

rose-the planner 3 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

I absolutely love Alfred Hitchcock movies. It is too bad that his personal life had some demons but I think that is what made his work so amazing. I saw the movie about him with Helen Mirren and the one portrayed by Tippi Hedron and I thought it was pretty shocking. I kind of wished I hadn't watched them and remained oblivious to what he was really like, lol. Great article! Thank you for sharing. (Voted Up) -Rose


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Patricia, I want to see that movie also. Other people have told me it is good. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub, and I appreciate your comments. Love the angels and some will be back for you. God Bless.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Martie, That was the most scary one for me also and I have not watched it twice. Others I have seen a few times. I think his background and talent combined to make a remarkable man for suspense shows and movies. Thanks for your comments.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Rose, I agree, it was his work that gave him the fame, even if he did have some personal demons. I would rather not know about that side of him either. I'm glad you enjoyed the article and I appreciate your comments.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 3 years ago from malang-indonesia

A beautiful tribute of Alfred Hitchcock. I am fans of him as well. I really enjoy reading this hub and something I didn't know about him, I got it from this hub. Good job, Pamela. My vote always for you. Take care!

Prasetio


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Prasetio, I am glad you stopped by and enjoyed the hub. I appreciate your comments my friend.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

I love getting info on people like this. It is great info to look into the psychic of great talents such as Hitchcock. Very interesting! Thank you.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Jackie, I think it is interesting to try to see what makes a man like this tick. He is such a great director and you can certainly tell his chldhood had a somewhat chilling effect on his personality, but he was a master of suspence. Thank you so much for your comments.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal

I have not watched much of Hitchcock's films but I love his works. Vertigo and Psycho are some of my all time favorite movies.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Vinaya, I have seen almost all of them and they sure are suspenseful. I appreciate your comments.


marwan asmar profile image

marwan asmar 3 years ago from Amman, Jordan

I wish I did see his movies, thanks for the reminder of him. What I saw, in my young days I am afraid where all suspense.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

marwan, Thank you for your cvomments.


Ruby H Rose profile image

Ruby H Rose 2 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

As a kid his movies kinda freaked me outs, so I was afraid to watch them. Now that I have grown up, (haha) I totally love his stuff and learning more about him, and I have thanks to this great hub about him. I did not know he did the first British talkie. I try to watch his films that come on cable almost every night. I love his twist endings.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 2 years ago from United States Author

Ruby, I did watch too many horror movies either because I had nightmares, somehow his movies always intrigued me. Thank you so much for your comments.


CraftytotheCore profile image

CraftytotheCore 2 years ago

I recently watched the movie about the making of Psycho. It revealed a lot about Hitchcock. This is an amazing Hub. I didn't know about his childhood. That's puts everything in to perspective. Wow! I just had a conversation with someone yesterday. She saw Psycho in the movie theaters. She said it scared her so badly that she could never see another horror movie. She said the scream in the movie stayed with her all of these years!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 2 years ago from United States Author

Crafty, That was one of his most scary movies. He was such an interesting man. Thanks for your comments.


cam8510 profile image

cam8510 2 years ago from Columbus, Georgia until the end of November 2016.

I love Hitchcock films and the whole genre of horror. And I enjoyed your article ad well. I visited the town where The Birds was filmed. What a bizarre and frightening film. Thanks for bringing back good memories.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 2 years ago from United States Author

Cam, I thought that was one of his most scary films also. I loved his work also. Thanks so much for your comments.

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