Born: August 13th, 1899 in Leystone, London, England
Died: 29 April 1980 (aged 80) in Bel Air, California
Occupation: film director/film producer
Active Years: 1921 – 1976
1 Spouse/1 Child
I don’t know a single person in my life who has never seen at least one Alfred Hitchcock movie. I know of over 50 of his movies that I want to see. Not just because he’s popular and has many classic “must-see” movies in his library, but because, in my humble opinion, he’s the best director who ever lived. He did things with camera angles and cinematography that even the fanciest of cameras and the best directors of today could never do. Many have tried but none can get it just right. It can be argued that no green screen or CGI graphics today could do better than Hitchcock. He didn’t just break the mold of filming, he invented molds!
Take Rope for example, starring James Steward and Farley Granger, among many other stars. In this movie he did something no one had ever done. He had a stage built specifically for what he had in mind. He wanted to do continuous filming without taking any cuts or having to film a scene over again. It’s similar to watching a Broadway show but in a movie theater. Back in the 40’s and 50’s however, one roll of film could only shoot up to 10 minutes before a new roll would have to be put in. Watch the movie to see how he got around it, and if you happen to get the special edition copy, watch the extras to learn the controversy behind the script and how the set had to be manipulated simultaneously while filming. Something that was never done before, until Hitchcock stepped onto the scene.
One thing about almost all of his movies that I love looking for is how or where he makes his cameo appearance. Some movies you can see it’s him outright but others, like Rope, you’d have to know the history of the movie to know where he is. Although, his size and distinctive face, make it hard NOT to notice him when he’s on camera.
There is so much that can be said about any number of Hitchcock films. Watch them alone or with a group of friends. He’ll keep you guessing and he’ll inspire even the writer in all of us to get to work on something just as good. He knew how to work with people. He was able to get the best and worst out of anyone who was willing to put their career in his hands. His characters all had a depth that he was able to reveal best when there were no lines at all. Just by the angle of the camera on the actors face and you’d know what kind of person they were. Watch James Stewart in Rear Window or Vertigo and see what I mean. Or The Birds, a movie with very little dialogue but speaks volumes when it comes to content and acting ability. The only thing better than watching an Alfred Hitchcock film is the occasional added bonus of TCM’s Robert Osbourne giving you some history and fun facts before and after the movie. Or pick up any book about his movies. My personal favorite and go to guide is:
(movies I’ve seen will be marked in BOLD)
Which Hitchcock movies have you seen? Which was your favorite? Why? Which have you always wanted to see but haven’t yet?