The following biography
Buy This at Allposters.com
Sir Alfred Joseph
Hitchcock, KBE (August 13, 1899 – April 29, 1980) was a highly influential
director and producer who pioneered many techniques in the suspense and thriller
genres. He directed more than fifty feature films in a career spanning six
decades, from the silent film era, through the invention of talkies, to the
colour era. Hitchcock was among the most consistently successful and publicly
recognizable directors in the world during his lifetime, and remains one of the
best known and most popular directors of all time, famous for his expert and
largely unrivaled control of pace and suspense throughout his movies.
Entertainment Weekly went so far as to give him the title of the greaAlfred
Hitchcock film director ever.
Hitchcock was born and raised in London, England.
While he began his directing career in London, he worked primarily in the United
States beginning in 1939 and applied for U.S. citizenship in 1956. Hitchcock and
his family lived in a mountaintop estate high above Scotts Valley, California,
from 1940 to 1972. He died of renal failure in 1980.
Hitchcock's films draw
heavily on both fear and fantasy, and are known for their droll humour. They
often portray innocent people caught up in circumstances beyond their control or
understanding. This often involves a transference of guilt in which the
"innocent" character's failings are transferred to another character, and
magnified. Another common theme is the basic incompatibility of men and women;
Hitchcock's films often take a cynical view of traditional romance.[citation
Rebecca was the only one
of his films to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, although four others
were nominated. Hitchcock never won the Academy Award for Best Director. He was
awarded the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award for lifetime achievement in 1967,
but never personally received an Academy Award of Merit.
Until the later part of
his career, Hitchcock was far more popular with film audiences than with film
critics, especially the elite British and American critics. In the late 1950s
the French New Wave critics, especially Éric Rohmer, Claude Chabrol, and
François Truffaut, were among the first to see and promote his films as artistic
works. Hitchcock was one of the first directors to whom they applied their
auteur theory, which stresses the artistic authority of the director in the
and vision have influenced a great number of filmmakers, producers, and actors.
His influence helped start a trend for film directors to control artistic
aspects of their movies without answering to the movie's producer.
Born: August 13, 1899
Died: April 29, 1980
Bel Air, Los Angeles, USA
Occupation: Film director
Spouse: Alma Reville
Alfred Hitchcock was born
on August 13, 1899, in Leytonstone, Essex (now London), the second son and
youngest of the three children of William Hitchcock, a greengrocer, and his
wife, Emma Jane Hitchcock (née Whelan). His family was mostly Roman Catholic.
Hitchcock was sent to Catholic boarding schools in London. He often described
his childhood as being very lonely and sheltered, which was undoubtedly
compounded by his weight issues.
Hitchcock claimed that on
one occasion early in his life, after he had acted childishly, his father sent
him to the local police station carrying a note. When he presented the police
officer on duty with the note, he was locked in a cell for a few moments, long
enough to be petrified. This was a favorite anecdote of his, and the incident is
often cited in connection with the theme of distrust of police which runs
through many of his films. His mother would often make him address her while
standing at the foot of her bed, especially if he behaved badly, forcing him to
stand there for hours. This would be recalled by the character Norman Bates in
At 14, Hitchcock lost his
father and left the Jesuit-run St Ignatius' College in Stamford Hill, his school
at the time, to study at the School for Engineering and Navigation. After
graduating, he became a draftsman and advertising designer with a cable company.
About that time,
Hitchcock became intrigued by photography and started working in film in London.
In 1920, he obtained a full-time job at Islington Studios under its American
owners, Famous Players-Lasky, and their British successors, Gainsborough
Pictures, designing the titles for silent movies.
Pre-war British career
In 1925, Michael Balcon
of Gainsborough Pictures gave him a chance to direct his first film, The
Pleasure Garden made at Ufa studios in Germany. The commercial failure of this
film threatened to derail his promising career. In 1926, however, Hitchcock made
his debut in the thriller genre. The resulting film, The Lodger: A Story of the
London Fog was a major commercial and critical success. Like many of his earlier
works, it was influenced by Expressionist techniques he had witnessed firsthand
in Germany. This is the first truly "Hitchcockian" film, incorporating such
themes as the "wrong man".
Following the success of
The Lodger, Hitchcock began his first efforts to promote himself in the media,
and hired a publicist to cement his growing reputation as one of the British
film industry's rising stars. In 1926, he was to marry his assistant director
Alma Reville. Their daughter Patricia was born in 1928. Alma was Hitchcock's
closest collaborator. She wrote some of his screenplays and (though often
uncredited) worked with him on every one of his films.
In 1929, he began work on
his tenth film Blackmail. While the film was in production, the studio decided
to make it one of Britain's first sound pictures. With the climax of the film
taking place on the dome of the British Museum, Blackmail began the Hitchcock
tradition of using famous landmarks as a backdrop for suspense sequences.
In 1933, Hitchcock was
once again working for Michael Balcon at Gaumont-British Picture Corporation.
His first film for the company, The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), was a success
and his second, The 39 Steps (1935), is often considered one of the best films
from his early period. It was also one of the first to introduce the concept of
the "MacGuffin", a plot device around which a whole story would revolve. In The
39 Steps, the MacGuffin is a stolen set of blueprints.
His next major success
was in 1938, The Lady Vanishes, a clever and fast-paced film about the search
for a kindly old Englishwoman (Dame May Whitty), who disappears while on board a
train in the fictional country of Vandrika (a thinly-veiled version of Nazi
By the end of the 1930s,
Hitchcock was at the top of his game artistically, and in a position to name his
own terms when David O. Selznick managed to entice the Hitchcocks to Hollywood.
humour and the suspense that became his trademark continued in his American
work. However, working arrangements with his new producer were less than
optimal. Selznick suffered from perennial money problems and Hitchcock was often
unhappy with the amount of creative control demanded by Selznick over his films.
Consequently, Selznick ended up "loaning" Hitchcock to the larger studios more
often than producing Hitchcock's films himself.
With the prestigious
Selznick picture Rebecca in 1940, Hitchcock made his first American movie,
although it was set in England and based on a novel by English author Dame
Daphne du Maurier. This Gothic melodrama explores the fears of a naïve young
bride who enters a great English country home and must grapple with the problems
of a distant husband, a predatory housekeeper, and the legacy of her husband's
late wife, the beautiful, mysterious Rebecca. The film has also subsequently
been noted for the lesbian undercurrents in Judith Anderson's performance. It
won the Academy Award for Best Picture of 1940. However, the statuette went to
Selznick as the film's producer, and the film did not win the Best Director
award. There were additional problems between Selznick and Hitchcock; Selznick,
as he usually did, imposed very restrictive rules upon Hitchcock, hindering his
creative control. Hitchcock was forced to shoot the film as Selznick wanted,
immediately creating friction within their relationship. At the same time,
Selznick complained about Hitchcock's "goddam jigsaw cutting," which meant that
the producer did not have nearly the leeway to create his own film as he liked,
but had to follow Hitchcock's vision of the finished product.
American film, the European-set thriller Foreign Correspondent, was also
nominated for Best Picture that year.
Hitchcock's work during
the 1940s was diverse, ranging from the romantic comedy Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941)
and the courtroom drama The Paradine Case (1947) to the dark and disturbing
Shadow of a Doubt (1943).
Saboteur (1942) was the
first of two films that Hitchcock made for Universal, a studio where he would
work in his later years. Dealing with the threat of sabotage, without labeling
the actual nation for whom the saboteurs worked (probably Nazi Germany),
Hitchcock was forced to utilize Universal contract players Robert Cummings and
Priscilla Lane, both known for their work in comedies and light dramas, and made
the most of the situation. Breaking with Hollywood tradition, Hitchcock did
extensive location filming, especially in New York City, and memorably depicted
a confrontation between a suspected saboteur (Cummings) and a real saboteur
(Norman Lloyd) atop the Statue of Liberty.
Shadow of a Doubt, his
personal favourite and the second of the Universal films, was about young
Charlotte "Charlie" Newton (Teresa Wright) who suspects her beloved uncle
Charlie Spencer (Joseph Cotten) of murder. In its use of overlapping characters,
dialogue, and closeups it has provided a generation of film theorists with
psychoanalytic potential, including Jacques Lacan and Slavoj Žižek. The film
also harkens to one of Cotten's better known films, Citizen Kane. Hitchcock
again filmed extensively on location, this time in the Northern California town
of Santa Rosa.
Spellbound explored the
then fashionable subject of psychoanalysis and featured a dream sequence which
was designed by Salvador Dalí. The actual dream sequence in the film was
considerably cut from the original scene planned to run for some minutes, but
proved too disturbing for the finished film.
Notorious (1946) marked
Hitchcock's first film as a producer as well as director. As Selznick failed to
see the subject's potential, he allowed Hitchcock to make the film for RKO. From
this point on, Hitchcock would produce his own films, giving him a far greater
degree of freedom to pursue the projects that interested him. Starring Hitchcock
regulars Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant and featuring a plot about Nazis,
uranium, and South America, Notorious was a huge box office success and has
remained one of Hitchcock's most acclaimed films. Its inventive use of suspense
and props briefly led to Hitchcock's being under surveillance by the CIA due to
his use of uranium as a plot device.
Hitchcock's first colour
film, Rope appeared in 1948. Here Hitchcock experimented with marshalling
suspense in a confined environment, as he had done earlier with Lifeboat. He
also experimented with exceptionally long takes — up to ten minutes (see Themes
and devices). Featuring James Stewart in the leading role, Rope was the first of
an eventual four films Stewart would make for Hitchcock. Based on the Leopold
and Loeb case of the 1920s, Rope is also among several films with homosexual
subtext to emerge from the Hays Office–controlled Hollywood studio era.
Under Capricorn (1949),
set in nineteenth-century Australia, also used this short-lived technique, but
to a more limited extent. He again used Technicolor in this production, then
returned to black and white films for several years. For these two films
Hitchcock formed a production company with Sidney Bernstein, called
Transatlantic Pictures, which folded after these two unsuccessful pictures.
years and decline
With Strangers on a Train
(1951), based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith, Hitchcock combined many of the
best elements from his preceding British and American films. Two men casually
meet and speculate on removing people who are causing them difficulty. One of
the men, though, takes this banter entirely seriously. With Farley Granger
reprising some elements of his role from Rope, Strangers continued the
director's interest in the narrative possibilities of homosexual blackmail and
murder. This was Hitchcock's first production for Warner Brothers, which had
distributed Rope and Under Capricorn.
MCA head Lew Wasserman,
whose client list included James Stewart, Janet Leigh, and other actors who
would appear in Hitchcock's films, had a significent impact in packaging and
marketing Hitchcock's films beginning in the 1950s. With Wasserman's help,
Hitchcock received tremendous creative freedom from the studios, as well as
substantive financial rewards as a result of Paramount's profit-sharing
Three very popular films
starring Grace Kelly followed. Dial M for Murder (1954) was adapted from the
popular stage play by Frederick Knott. This was originally another experimental
film, with Hitchcock using the technique of 3D cinematography, although the film
was not released in this format at first; it did receive screenings in the early
1980s in 3D form. The film also marked a return to Technicolor productions for
Hitchcock. Rear Window starred James Stewart again, as well as Thelma Ritter and
Raymond Burr. Here, the wheelchair-bound Stewart observes the movements of his
neighbours across the courtyard and becomes convinced one of them has murdered
his wife. Like Lifeboat and Rope, the movie was photographed almost entirely
within the confines of a small space: Stewart's tiny studio apartment
overlooking the massive courtyard set. To Catch a Thief, set in the French
Riviera, starred Kelly and Cary Grant.
1956 saw the release of
two films by Hitchcock: The Wrong Man, based on a real-life case of mistaken
identity, his only film to star Henry Fonda, and a remake of his own 1934 film
The Man Who Knew Too Much, this time with James Stewart and Doris Day, who sang
the theme song, "Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Qué Será, Será)" (which became a big
hit for Day).
1958's Vertigo again
starred Stewart, this time with Kim Novak and Barbara Bel Geddes. The film was a
commercial failure, but has come to be viewed by many as one of Hitchcock's
Vertigo with three more successful pictures. All are also recognised as among
his very best films: North by Northwest (1959), Psycho (1960), and The Birds
(1963). The latter two were particularly notable for their unconventional
soundtracks, both by Bernard Herrmann: the screeching strings in the murder
scene in Psycho pushed the limits of the time, and The Birds dispensed
completely with conventional instruments, using an electronically produced
soundtrack. These were his last great films, after which his career slowly wound
down (although some critics such as Robin Wood and Donald Spoto contend Marnie,
from 1964, is first-class Hitchcock). In 1972, Hitchcock returned to London to
film Frenzy, his last major success. For the first time, Hitchcock allowed
nudity and profane language, which had before been taboo, in one of his films.
Failing health slowed
down his output over the last two decades of his life.
Family Plot (1976) was
his last film. It related the escapades of "Madam" Blanche Tyler played by
Barbara Harris, a fraudulent spiritualist, and her taxi driver lover Bruce Dern
making a living from her phony powers. William Devane, Karen Black and Katherine
Near the end of his life,
Hitchcock worked on the script for a project spy thriller, The Short Night,
which was never filmed. The script was published in book form after Hitchcock's
Hitchcock was created a
Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in the
1980 New Years Honours. He died just four months later, on April 29, before he
had the opportunity to be formally invested by the Queen. Despite the brief
period between his knighthood and death, he was nevertheless entitled to be
known as Sir Alfred Hitchcock and to use the postnominal letters "KBE", because
he remained a British subject when he adopted American citizenship in 1956.
Alfred Hitchcock died
from renal failure in his Bel-Air, Los Angeles home, aged 80, and was survived
by his wife Alma Reville, and their daughter, Patricia Hitchcock O'Connell. A
funeral service was held at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Beverly Hills. His
body was cremated and the ashes scattered.
Hitchcock preferred the
use of suspense over surprise in his films. In surprise, the director assaults
the viewer with frightening things. In suspense, the director tells or shows
things to the audience which the characters in the film do not know, and then
artfully builds tension around what will happen when the characters finally
learn the truth.
Audience as Voyeur
Further blurring the
moral distinction between the innocent and the guilty, occasionally making this
indictment inescapably clear to viewers one and all, Hitchcock also makes
voyeurs of his "respectable" audience. In Rear Window (1954), after L. B.
Jeffries (played by James Stewart) has been staring across the courtyard at him
for most of the film, Lars Thorwald (played by Raymond Burr) confronts Jeffries
by saying, "What do you want of me?" Burr might as well have been addressing the
audience. In fact, shortly before asking this, Thorwald turns to face the camera
directly for the first time — at this point, audiences often gasp.
One of Hitchcock's
favourite devices for driving the plots of his stories and creating suspense was
what he called the "MacGuffin." The Oxford English Dictionary, however, credits
Hitchcock's friend, the Scottish screenwriter Angus McPhail, as being the true
inventor of the term. Hitchcock defined this term in an interview to François
Truffaut, in 1966. Hitchcock would use this plot device extensively. Many of his
suspense films revolve around this device: a detail which, by inciting curiosity
and desire, drives the plot and motivates the actions of characters within the
story, but whose specific identity and nature is unimportant to the spectator of
the film. In Vertigo, for instance, "Carlotta Valdes" is a MacGuffin; she never
appears and the details of her death are unimportant to the viewer, but the
story about her ghost's haunting of Madeleine Elster is the spur for Scottie's
investigation of her, and hence the film's entire plot. In Notorious the uranium
that the main characters must recover before it reaches Nazi hands serves as a
similarly arbitrary motivation: any dangerous object would suffice. And state
secrets of various kinds serve as MacGuffins in several of the spy films,
especially his earlier British films The Man Who Knew Too Much, The 39 Steps,
and The Lady Vanishes. In Psycho, an obvious MacGuffin at the beginning of the
film (a package containing $40,000 in stolen money) is actually a red herring.
Signature Appearances in his Films
Most of Hitchcock's films
contain cameo appearances by Hitchcock himself: the director would be seen for a
brief moment boarding a bus, crossing in front of a building, standing in an
apartment across the courtyard, or appearing in a photograph. This playful
gesture became one of Hitchcock's signatures. As a recurring theme he would
carry a musical instrument — especially memorable was the large double bass case
that he wrestles onto the train at the beginning of Strangers on a Train.
In his earliest
appearances he would fill in as an obscure extra, standing in a crowd or walking
through a scene in a long camera shot. But he became more prominent in his later
appearances, as when he turns to see Jane Wyman's disguise when she passes him
on the street in Stage Fright, and in stark silhouette in his final film Family
Plot. (See a list of Hitchcock cameo appearances.)
Recurring Items and Themes
Hitchcock includes the
consumption of brandy in nearly every sound film. "I'll get you some brandy.
Drink this down. Just like medicine ..." says James Stewart's character to Kim
Novak, in Vertigo. In a real-life incident, Hitchcock dared Montgomery Clift at
a dinner party around the filming of I Confess (1953) to swallow a carafe of
brandy, which caused the actor to pass out almost immediately. This near
obsession with brandy remains unexplained. In Torn Curtain and Topaz, brandy is
defined more closely as cognac.
inexplicable feature of any Hitchcock film is the inclusion of a staircase. Of
course, stairways inspire many suspenseful moments, most notably the final
sequence in Notorious and the detective's demise in the Bates' mansion in
Psycho. However, a completely nonfunctional staircase adorns the apartment of
the James Stewart character in Rear Window, as if Hitchcock feels compelled to
its inclusion by some unspoken superstition. This, too, could be Hitchcock under
the influence of German Expressionism, the films of which often featured heavily
stylized and menacing staircases (cf. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari). In fact,
early director Leopold Jessner is often credited with creating the first
dramatic, filmic staircases in his 1921 film Hintertreppe.
A recurring theme in
Hitchcock's movies is mistaken identity. Audiences see this theme in almost all
of Hitchcock's movies. A prime example can be found in North By Northwest, when
Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) is mistaken for George Kaplan, a non-existent
government agent made up by the FBI.
In many of Hitchcock's
movies, an ordinary person is thrust into an extraordinary situation. In The Man
Who Knew Too Much (1956) Dr. Ben McKenna is an ordinary man from Indianapolis
who is on a vacation in Morocco and he winds up with his son getting kidnapped.
This entangling of an ordinary protagonist in peril and guilt is also evident in
Strangers on a Train, I Confess, Rear Window, To Catch a Thief, The Wrong Man,
Vertigo, North By Northwest, Psycho, The Birds and others.
Hitchcock loved the
number 7. He often placed numbers that added up to 7 in his movies.
Another recurring theme
in Hitchcock's films is that of the bumbling authorities. In almost every single
film, the police have little to no impact, often mistaking important clues or
letting the villain go. This reportedly stems from an incident when Hitchcock
was a young man, when as part of a tour to a police station he was locked in a
Hitchcock often dealt
with matters that he felt were sexually perverse or kinky, and many of his films
aimed to subvert the restrictive Hollywood Production Code that prohibited any
mention of homosexuality.
Hitchcock seemed to
delight in the technical challenges of filmmaking. In Lifeboat, Hitchcock sets
the entire action of the movie in a small boat, yet manages to keep the
cinematography from monotonous repetition. His trademark cameo appearance was a
dilemma, given the claustrophobic setting; so Hitchcock appeared on camera in a
fictitious newspaper ad for a weight loss product.
In Spellbound two
unprecedented point-of-view shots were achieved by constructing a large wooden
hand (which would appear to belong to the character whose point of view the
camera took) and outsized props for it to hold: a bucket-sized glass of milk and
a large wooden gun. For added novelty and impact, the climactic gunshot was
hand-coloured red on some copies of the black-and-white print of the film.
Rope (1948) was another
technical challenge: a film that appears to have been shot entirely in a single
take. The film was actually shot in eight takes of approximately 10 minutes
each, which was the amount of film that would fit in a single camera reel; the
transitions between reels were hidden by having a dark object fill the entire
screen for a moment. Hitchcock used those points to hide the cut, and began the
next take with the camera in the same place.
His 1958 film Vertigo
contains a camera trick that has been imitated and re-used so many times by
filmmakers, it has become known as the Hitchcock zoom.
Although famous for
inventive camera angles, Hitchcock generally avoided points of view that were
physically impossible from a human perspective. For example, he would never
place the camera looking out from inside a refrigerator. This helps to draw
audience members into the film's action. (A notable exception is the pacing of
the mysterious lodger being viewed through the floor from beneath in The Lodger
(1927), giving the audience a visual to what the family is imagining in response
to the sound of footsteps - which otherwise wouldn't come across as strongly in
a silent film.)
character and its effects on his films
sometimes feature male characters struggling in their relationships with their
mothers. In North by Northwest (1959), Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant's character)
is an innocent man ridiculed by his mother for insisting that shadowy, murderous
men are after him (in this case, they are). In The Birds (1963), the Rod Taylor
character, an innocent man, finds his world under attack by vicious birds, and
struggles to free himself of a clinging mother (Jessica Tandy). The killer in
Frenzy (1972) has a loathing of women but idolizes his mother. The villain Bruno
in Strangers on a Train hates his father, but has an incredibly close
relationship with his mother (played by Marion Lorne). Sebastian (Claude Rains)
in Notorious has a clearly conflictual relationship with his mother, who is
(correctly) suspicious of his new bride Alicia Huberman (Ingrid Bergman). And,
of course, Norman Bates' troubles with his mother in Psycho are infamous.
Hitchcock heroines tend
to be lovely, cool blondes who seem proper at first but, when aroused by passion
or danger, respond in a more sensual, animal, or even criminal way. As noted,
the famous victims in The Lodger are all blondes. In The 39 Steps, Hitchcock's
glamorous blonde star, Madeleine Carroll, is put in handcuffs. In Marnie (1964),
glamorous blonde Tippi Hedren is a kleptomaniac. In To Catch a Thief (1955),
glamorous blonde Grace Kelly offers to help someone she believes is a cat
burglar. In Rear Window, Lisa risks her life by breaking into Lars Thorwald's
apartment. And, most notoriously, in Psycho, Janet Leigh's character steals
$40,000 and gets murdered by a reclusive lunatic. Hitchcock's last blonde
heroine was - years after Dany Robin and her "daughter" Claude Jade in Topaz -
Barbara Harris as a phony psychic turned amateur sleuth in his final film,
1976's Family Plot. It is interesting to note that in the same film, the diamond
smuggler played by Karen Black could also fit that role, as she wears a long
blonde wig in various scenes and is becoming increasingly uncomfortable about
her line of work.
Hitchcock saw that
reliance on actors and actresses was a holdover from the theater tradition. He
was a pioneer in using camera movement, camera set ups and montage to explore
the outer reaches of cinematic art.
Most critics and
Hitchcock scholars, including Donald Spoto and Roger Ebert, agree that Vertigo
represents the director's most personal and revealing film, dealing with the
obsessions of a man who crafts a woman into the woman he desires. Vertigo
explores more frankly and at greater length his interest in the relation between
sex and death than any other film in his filmography.
Hitchcock often said that
his personal favourite was Shadow of a Doubt.
style of working
Hitchcock once commented,
"The writer and I plan out the entire script down to the smallest detail, and
when we're finished all that's left to do is to shoot the film. Actually, it's
only when one enters the studio that one enters the area of compromise. Really,
the novelist has the best casting since he doesn't have to cope with the actors
and all the rest."
storyboard each movie down to the finest detail. He was reported to have never
even bothered looking through the viewfinder, since he didn't need to do so,
though in publicity photos he was shown doing so. He also used this as an excuse
to never have to change his films from his initial vision. If a studio asked him
to change a film, he would claim that it was already shot in a single way, and
that there were no alternate takes to consider. However, respected film critic
Bill Krohn in his book Hitchcock At Work has questioned the popular notion of
Hitchcock's reliance on storyboards. In his book, Krohn after researching script
revisions of Hitchcock's most popular works, concludes that Hitchcock's reliance
on storyboards has been over-exaggerated and argues that Hitchcock only
storyboarded a few sequences and not each and every scene as most think. He
however admits that this myth was largely perpetuated by Hitchcock himself.
Similarly much of
Hitchcock's hatred of actors has been exaggerated. Hitchcock simply did not
tolerate the method approach as he believed that actors should only concentrate
on their performances and leave work on script and character to the directors
and screenwriters. In a Sight and Sound interview, he stated that, ' the method
actor is OK in the theatre because he has a free space to move about. But when
it comes to cutting the face and what he sees and so forth, there must be some
discipline' (see ). During the making of Lifeboat, Walter Slezak, who played
the German character, stated that Hitchcock knew the mechanics of acting better
than anyone he knew. Several critics have observed that despite his reputation
as a man who disliked actors, several actors who worked with him gave fine,
often brilliant performances and these performances contribute to the film's
sometimes less than pleasant relationship with actors, there was a persistent
rumor that he had said that actors were cattle. Hitchcock later denied this,
typically tongue-in-cheek, clarifying that he had only said that actors should
be treated like cattle. Carole Lombard, tweaking Hitchcock and drumming up a
little publicity, brought some cows along with her when she reported to the set
of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. For Hitchcock, the actors, like the props, were part of
the film's setting.
The first book devoted to
the director is simply named Hitchcock. It is a document of a one-week interview
by François Truffaut in 1967. (ISBN 0-671-60429-5)
The Academy of Motion
Picture Arts and Sciences awarded Hitchcock the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial
Award, in 1967. However, despite six earlier nominations, he never won an Oscar
in a contest Hitchcocked category. His Oscar nominations were:
for Best Director:
Rebecca (1940), Lifeboat (1944), Spellbound (1945), Rear Window (1954), and
as producer, for Best
Picture: Suspicion (1941).
Rebecca, which Hitchcock
directed, won the 1940 Best Picture Oscar for its producer David O. Selznick. In
addition to Rebecca and Suspicion, two other films Hitchcock directed, Foreign
Correspondent and Spellbound, were nominated for Best Picture.
Hitchcock was knighted in
Television and books
Along with Walt Disney,
Hitchcock was one of the first persons to fully envision just how popular the
medium of television would become. From 1955 to 1965, Hitchcock was the host and
producer of a long-running television series entitled Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
While his films had made Hitchcock's name strongly associated with suspense, the
TV series made Hitchcock a celebrity himself. His irony-tinged voice, image, and
mannerisms became instantly recognizable and were often the subject of parody.
He directed a few episodes of the TV series himself and he upset a number of
movie production companies when he insisted on using his TV production crew to
produce his motion picture Psycho. In the late 1980s, a new version of Alfred
Hitchcock Presents was produced for television, making use of Hitchcock's
Alfred Hitchcock is also
immortalised in print and appeared as himself in the very popular juvenile
detective series, Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators. The long-running
detective series was clever and well written, with characters much younger than
the Hardy Boys. In ghost-written introductions, "Alfred Hitchcock" formally
introduced each case at the beginning of the book, often giving them new cases
to solve. At the end of each book, Alfred Hitchcock would discuss the specifics
of the case with Jupiter Jones, Bob Andrews and Peter Crenshaw and every so
often the three boys would give Alfred Hitchcock mementos of their case.
When Alfred Hitchcock
died, his chores as the boys' mentor/friend would be done by a fictional
character: a retired detective named Hector Sebastian. Due to the popularity of
the series, Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators scored several reprints
and out of respect, the latter reprints were changed to just
The Three Investigators. Over the years, more than one name has been used to
replace Alfred Hitchcock's character, especially for the earlier books when his
role was emphasised.
At the height of
Hitchcock's success, he was also asked to introduce a set of books with his name
attached. The series was a collection of short stories by popular short story
writers, primarily focused on suspense and thrillers. These titles included
Alfred Hitchcock's Monster Museum, Alfred Hithcock's Supernatural Tales of
Terror and Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbinders in Suspense, Alfred
Hitchcock's Witch's Brew, Alfred Hitchcock's Ghostly Gallery, Alfred Hitchcock
Presents Stories to be Read with the Door Locked, and Alfred Hitchcock's Haunted
Houseful. Hitchcock himself was not actually involved in the reading, reviewing,
editing or selection of the short stories; in fact, even his introductions were
ghost-written. The entire extent of his involvement with the project was to lend
his name and collect a check.
Some notable writers
whose works were used in the collection include Shirley Jackson (Strangers in
Town, The Lottery), T.H. White (The Once and Future King), Robert Bloch, H. G.
Wells (The War of the Worlds), Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle,
Mark Twain and the creator of The Three Investigators, Robert Arthur.
Year Title Production
Company Other notes
1922 No. 13 Wardour & F.
unfinished; believed lost
1923 Always Tell Your
Wife Seymour Hicks Productions uncredited
1925 The Pleasure Garden
1926 The Mountain Eagle
AG (Emelka) lost
1927 The Lodger
1927 The Ring British
1928 Easy Virtue
1928 The Farmer's Wife
British International Pictures
1928 Champagne British
1929 The Manxman British
Year Title Production
Company Other notes
1929 Blackmail British
International Pictures The first British talkie.
1930 Juno and the Paycock
British International Pictures
1930 Murder! British
1930 Elstree Calling
British International Pictures
1931 The Skin Game
British International Pictures
1931 Mary Süd-Film AG
1932 Number Seventeen
British International Pictures
1932 Rich and Strange
British International Pictures
1933 Waltzes from Vienna
Gaumont British Picture Corporation
1934 The Man Who Knew Too
Much Gaumont British Picture Corporation
1935 The 39 Steps Gaumont
British Picture Corporation
1936 Secret Agent Gaumont
British Picture Corporation
1936 Sabotage Gaumont
British Picture Corporation
1937 Young and Innocent
Gaumont British Picture Corporation
1938 The Lady Vanishes
1939 Jamaica Inn
Mayflower Pictures Corporation Ltd.
Year Title Production
Company Other notes
1940 Rebecca Selznick
International Pictures Won Academy Award for Best Picture.
Correspondent Walter Wanger Productions Inc./
1941 Mr. & Mrs. Smith RKO
1941 Suspicion RKO Radio
1942 Saboteur Universal
Frank Lloyd Productions
1943 Shadow of a Doubt
1944 Lifeboat 20th
1944 Aventure Malgache
Ministry of Information French language propaganda short.
1944 Bon Voyage Ministry
of Information French language propaganda short.
1945 Spellbound Selznick
1946 Notorious RKO Radio
1947 The Paradine Case
1948 Rope Warner Bros.
1949 Under Capricorn
Warner Bros. Pictures/
1950 Stage Fright Warner
1951 Strangers on a Train
Warner Bros. Pictures
1953 I Confess Warner
1954 Dial M for Murder
Warner Bros. Pictures
1954 Rear Window
1955 To Catch a Thief
1955 The Trouble with
Harry Paramount Pictures/
Alfred J. Hitchcock
1956 The Man Who Knew Too
Much Paramount Pictures/
1956 The Wrong Man Warner
1958 Vertigo Paramount
Alfred J. Hitchcock
1959 North by Northwest
1960 Psycho Shamley
1963 The Birds Universal
Alfred J. Hitchcock
1964 Marnie Universal
1966 Torn Curtain
1969 Topaz Universal
1972 Frenzy Universal
1976 Family Plot
Presents: "Revenge" (1955)
Presents: "Breakdown" (1955)
Presents: "The Case of Mr. Pelham" (1955)
Presents: "Back for Christmas" (1956)
Presents: "Wet Saturday" (1956)
Presents: "Mr. Blanchard's Secret" (1956)
Presents: "One More Mile to Go" (1957)
Suspicion: "Four O'Clock"
Presents: "The Perfect Crime" (1957)
Presents: "Lamb to the Slaughter" (1958)
Presents: "Dip in the Pool" (1958)
Presents: "Poison" (1958)
Presents: "Banquo's Chair" (1959)
Presents: "Arthur" (1959)
Presents: "The Crystal Trench" (1959)
Ford Startime: "Incident
at a Corner" (1960)
Presents: "Mrs. Bixby and the Colonel's Coat" (1960)
Presents: "The Horseplayer" (1961)
Presents: "Bang! You're Dead" (1961)
The Alfred Hitchcock
Hour: "I Saw the Whole Thing" (1962)
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Hitchcock_filmography"
Fear of Eggs (Ovophobia)
Alfred Hitchcock had an
extreme fear of eggs (also known as ovophobia), he said: I’m frightened of eggs,
worse than frightened, they revolt me. That white round thing without any holes
… have you ever seen anything more revolting than an egg yolk breaking and
spilling its yellow liquid? Blood is jolly, red. But egg yolk is yellow,
revolting. I’ve never tasted it. Fear of eggs
of the police
Hitchcock also had a
serious fear of the police, which reportedly was the reason he never learned to
drive. His reasoning was that if one never drove, then one would never have an
opportunity to be pulled over by the police and issued a ticket. 
Leo G. Carroll
Jessie Royce Landis
Auiler, Dan: Hitchcock's
notebooks: an authorized and illustrated look inside the creative mind of Alfred
Hitchcock. New York, Avon Books, 1999. Much useful background to the films.
Barr, Charles: English
Hitchcock. Cameron & Hollis, 1999. Best in-print book on the early films of the
Conrad, Peter: The
Hitchcock Murders. Faber and Faber, 2000. A highly personal and idiosyncratic
discussion of Hitchcock's oeuvre.
DeRosa, Steven: Writing
with Hitchcock. Faber and Faber, 2001. An examination of the collaboration
between Hitchcock and screenwriter John Michael Hayes, his most frequent writing
collaborator in Hollywood. Their films include Rear Window and The Man Who Knew
Poague, Leland (ed.): A Hitchcock Reader. Iowa State University Press, 1986. A
wide-ranging collection of scholarly essays on Hitchcock.
Hitchcock on Hitchcock. Faber and Faber, 1995. Articles, lectures, etc. by
Hitchcock himself. Basic reading on the director and his films.
Gottlieb, Sidney: Alfred
Hitchcock: Interviews. University Press of Mississippi, 2003. A collection of
Alfred Hitchcock. Longman, 2005. A good undergraduate-level text.
Krohn, Bill: Hitchcock at
Work. Phaidon, 2000. Translated from the award-winning French edition. The
nitty-gritty of Hitchcock's filmmaking from scripting to post-production.
Leitch, Thomas: The
Encyclopedia of Alfred Hitchcock. Checkmark Books, 2002. An excellent
single-volume encyclopedia of all things Hitchcock.
Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light. Regan Books, 2003. A
comprehensive biography of the director.
Modleski, Tania: The
Women Who Knew Too Much: Hitchcock And Feminist Theory. Routledge, 2005 (2nd
edition). A collection of critical essays on Hitchcock and his films, argues
that Hitchcock's portrayal of women was an ambivalent one, not misogynist nor
sympathetic (as widely thought). An important text to consider, given the
abundance of female heroes and victims in his films.
Mogg, Ken. The Alfred
Hitchcock Story. Titan, 1999. This original UK edition has significantly more
text and is superior to the cut US edition. New material on all the films.
Rebello, Stephen: Alfred
Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho. St. Martin's, 1990. Intimately researched
and detailed history of the making of Psycho, praised as one of the best books
on moviemaking ever.
Spoto, Donald: The Art of
Alfred Hitchcock. Anchor Books, 1992. The first detailed critical survey of
Hitchcock's work by an American.
Spoto, Donald: The Dark
Side of Genius. Ballantine Books, 1983. A biography of Hitchcock, featuring a
controversial exploration of Hitchcock's psychology.
Taylor, Alan: Jacobean
Visions: Webster, Hitchcock and the Google Culture, Peter Lang, Spring 2007
Hitchcock. Simon and Schuster, 1985. A series of interviews of Hitchcock by the
influential French director. This is an important source, but some have
criticised Truffaut for taking an uncritical stance.
Vest, James: Hitchcock
and France: The Forging of an Auteur. Praeger Publishers, 2003. A specialized
study of Alfred Hitchcock's interest in French culture and the manner by which
French critics, such as Truffaut, came to regard Hitchcock in such high esteem.
Wood, Robin: Hitchcock's
Films Revisited. Columbia University Press, 2002 (2nd edition). Another
collection of critical essays, now revisited by the author in this 2nd edition
to supplement and annotate the highly lauded entries from before with the
additional insight and changes that time and personal experience has brought him
(including his own coming-out as a gay man).
* * * *
above biography has been copied in part or in whole
from an article on
"The Free Encyclopedia." It has been modified under
the GNU Free Document License Section 5 in the
following manner: (1) All links within the article
have been removed, including text links such as
"[#]"; (2) The "[Edit]" text and link have been
removed [if you would like to update the article,
you may do so from the original page]; (3) the table
of Contents links and text have been removed; and
(4) all of the sections of the original article have
not been copied. All of the above text is available
under the terms of the
GNU Free Document License.
URL of Original Article:
Date Article Copied:
will try to replace this article with an original
biography in the near future, but we hope this will
be of help to our visitors in the mean time.