The Many Movies of Alfred Hitchcock
History of Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock has produced, directed, acted, and written some of the best movies of all times. From Psycho to Vertigo, The Birds to Topaz, I think just about everyone has seen a movie or two that Mr. Hitchcock had a hand in. Hitchcock made classic movies that you just don't see anymore. Twisting plotlines, fearless heroes, and, of course, the way he always made himself present in his movies, daring you to find him, like a Where's Waldo of yesteryear. Throughout the next couple of (however long it takes me) I will be discussing Alfred Hitchcock movies, in detail. The plots (with some spoilers possibly, so please don't read if you haven't seen it and don't want it ruined.) My opinions, other people's opinions, and I might even tell you where he's located in the movie if you ask really nice! So be on the lookout. I will try my best to list the movies in chronological order.
However, here I will discuss the man himself. Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was born on August 13th, 1899 in London, England. He died April 29th, 1980 in Bel AIr, California, due to renal failure. His first ever job was for the Henley Telegraph and Cable company. During this time was when he started to get interest in movies, reading journals, and visiting the cinema. Hitchcock learned that Lasky was to be opening a studio in London, and secured a job there as title designer. For the next two years, all of the movies' titles were designed by him.
In 1923, "Hitch", as he was commonly called, got his first chance at directing. The current director of Always Tell Your Wife fell ill, and Hitchcock completed it. Studio chiefs were very impressed with his work, and gave him another shot at directing for Number 13. Unfortunately, before it was completed, the studio discontinued its British operations.
Alfred Hitchcock went on to be hired by Michael Balcon as an assistant director for the company that was later called Gainsborough Pictures. While not actually hired for any other jobs, Hitchcock actually did much more in the company. He was also a writer, title designer, and art director. After a few movies with the company, Hitchcock got his chance to direct a British/German co-production called The Pleasure Garden.
In 1926, Hitchcock made his first noteworthy film entitled The Lodger. During this same year he married Alma Reville, a woman he had met earlier on during the directing of Always Tell Your Wife. On July 7th of 1928 Alma and Alfred had a baby girl, Patricia.
It actually wasn't until his movie Saboteur that film companies added his name to the titles of the movies such as Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho or Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy. During the making of Frenzy in 1972, Hitch's wife suffered a stroke making her unable to walk.
On March 7, 1979, Hitchcock was awarded the AFI Life Achievement Award where he made this famous quote: "I beg permission to mention by name only four people who have given me the most affection, appreciation, and encouragement, and constant collaboration. The first of the four is a film editor, the second is a scriptwriter, the third is the mother of my daughter Pat, and the fourth is as fine a cook as ever performed miracles in a domestic kitchen. And their names are Alma Reville."
Hitchcock retired soon after the completion of Family Plot in 1976. He started to write a screenplay along with Ernest Lehman entitled The Short Night, but due to his failing health, the film was never completed. David Freeman completed the script, and published it after Hitchcock's death.
In late 1979, Hitchcock was knighted, making him Sir Alfred Hitchcock. His death was on April 29th, 1980 at 9:17AM. He died peacefully in his sleep. His service was attended by 600 people, among them were Mel Brooks, Louis Jourdan, Karl Malden, Tippi Hedren, Janet Leigh, and Francois Truffaut. His wife, Alma, passed away almost two years later on July 6th, 1982.
Alfred Hitchcock had many trademarks in his films, which are quite noticeable if you watch closely.
- Has a cameo in most of his films
- Liked to insert shots of women's hairstyles, frequently close-ups
- Bathrooms are most always a plot device, and he loved using BM, short for Bowel Movement
- "Wrong man" or "mistaken identity" were commonly used themes
- He preferred blondes to star in his movies
- He was always formally dressed
- In order to create suspense, many different camera angles were used, in the shower scene in Psycho, is the perfect example of this
- Driving sequences were always shot a particular way, from the driver's point of view, so that the suspense and danger were more richly felt
- The silhouette was drawn by him while still living in England for a Christmas card, and was later used for "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" and "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour."
- In many of his films, he would use more shadows than necessary to create suspense and tension.
There is also lots of trivia about Alfred Hitchcock you may or may not know, some of which I have written here.
- According to many people who knew him personally, it is said that while his wife, Alma, was pregnant, he couldn't stand to look at her.
- He once dressed up in drag for a party he threw, the video footage has never been found
- According to the man himself, he was required to stand at the foot of his mother's bed each day, and tell her what happened.
- He was born only one day before his wife
- He was a close friend of Albert Broccoli, the well-known producer of the James Bond 007 franchise. His movie North by Northwest was the influence for the helicopter scene in From Russia with Love.
- He appears on a 32 cent postage stamp published in 1998
- Hitchcock had a morbid fear of police ever since childhood, when he was sent to the police station with a letter from his father. The desk sergeant read the letter, locked Alfred in a cell for 10 minutes, and told him "This is what happens to people who do bad things."
- Hitchcock also had a phobia of eggs
- In the New Year's Honour's list of 1980 (only a few months before his death), he was named an Honorary (as he was a U.S. citizen) Knight Commander of the British Empire.
- He later began making his "Where's Waldo" like appearances at the beginning of his movies, so as not to divert attention away from the plot.
- Hitchcock first made a Hollywood appearance in 1940, but was turned down by everyone, because none of them thought he could make a "Hollywood" picture. He was finally offered a seven-year contract with David Selznick. His first picture was supposed to be about Titanic, but Selznick couldn't find a boat to sink. Instead, Hitchcock directed the film "Rebecca"
- When finishing a cup of tea on set, he would commonly throw the cup and saucer over his shoulder and let it land (or break.) wherever.
- He delivered the shortest speech in Oscar history with a simple "Thank you."
- In the fall of 2000, his daughter Patricia went on to mention that two of Hitchcock's dirty pleasures were Smokey and the Bandit, and Benji.
- His 'MacGuffins' were objects or devices which drove the plot and were of great interest to the film's characters, but which to the audience were otherwise inconsequential and could be forgotten once they had served their purpose.
- When he won his Lifetime Achievement award in 1979, he joked with friends that he must be about to die soon. He died a year later.
- Was voted the Greatest Director of All Time by Entertainment Weekly. When listing the top 100 Greatest Films of All Time, Hitchcock was on the list an amazing four times. His movies were Psycho, Vertigo, North by Northwest, and Notorious.
- Often said that "Shadow of a Doubt" was his favorite film to direct.
- His fear of police was cited as the reason he never learned how to drive. It was also cited as the reason for the "innocent man" themes in some of his plotlines.
- He was a practical joker, though more cruel than funny. He would find out people's phobias such as mice or spiders, and then send them a box full of them.
- Legendary for gently tweaking his sponsors during the run of his TV show.
- Is the "voice" of the Jaws ride at Universal Studios
- Though he was Oscar-nominated 5 times as Best Director, DGA-nominated 6 times as Best Director, and received 3 nominations from Cannes, he has never won in any of these competitive categories, a fact that surprises fans and film critics to this day.
- He made cameo appearances in all of his movies beginning with "Rebecca" in 1940, aside from four movies, which he did not. Lifeboat, he was in a newspaper advertisement. Dial M for Murder, he was in a class reunion photograph. Rope, is a neon version of his famous caricature outside on a billboard in a night scene. and Family Plot, his "appearance" is as a silhouette on the other side of a frosted glass door.
I hope that you find Alfred Hitchcock as fascinating as I do, and continue to read more of my hubs. I will be posting quite soon.