Alfred Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock

Overview
Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, KBE
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

 (13 August 1899 – 29 April 1980) was a British film director and producer. He pioneered many techniques in the suspense
Suspense
Suspense is a feeling of uncertainty and anxiety about the outcome of certain actions, most often referring to an audience's perceptions in a dramatic work. Suspense is not exclusive to fiction, though. Suspense may operate in any situation where there is a lead-up to a big event or dramatic...

 and psychological thriller
Psychological thriller
Psychological thriller is a specific sub-genre of the broad ranged thriller with heavy focus on characters. However, it often incorporates elements from the mystery and drama genre, along with the typical traits of the thriller genre...

 genres. After a successful career in British cinema
Cinema of the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom has had a major influence on modern cinema. The first moving pictures developed on celluloid film were made in Hyde Park, London in 1889 by William Friese Greene, a British inventor, who patented the process in 1890. It is generally regarded that the British film industry...

 in both silent film
Silent film
A silent film is a film with no synchronized recorded sound, especially with no spoken dialogue. In silent films for entertainment the dialogue is transmitted through muted gestures, pantomime and title cards...

s and early talkies
Sound film
A sound film is a motion picture with synchronized sound, or sound technologically coupled to image, as opposed to a silent film. The first known public exhibition of projected sound films took place in Paris in 1900, but decades would pass before sound motion pictures were made commercially...

, Hitchcock moved to Hollywood
Cinema of the United States
The cinema of the United States, also known as Hollywood, has had a profound effect on cinema across the world since the early 20th century. Its history is sometimes separated into four main periods: the silent film era, classical Hollywood cinema, New Hollywood, and the contemporary period...

. In 1956 he became an American citizen, whilst remaining a British subject.

Over a career spanning more than half a century, Hitchcock fashioned for himself a distinctive and recognisable directorial style.
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Unanswered Questions
Quotations

Never turn your back on a friend.

Alfred Hitchcock Presents|Alfred Hitchcock Presents

I am a typed director. If I made Cinderella|Cinderella, the audience would immediately be looking for a body in the coach.

Newsweek (11 June 1956)

Television has done much for psychiatry by spreading information about it, as well as contributing to the need for it.

Alfred Hitchcock Presents|Alfred Hitchcock Presents. 1960

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.

News summaries (31 December 1963)

One of television’s great contributions is that it brought murder back into the home, where it belongs.

National Observer (15 August 1966)

Seeing a murder on television can … help work off one’s antagonisms. And if you haven’t any antagonisms, the commercials will give you some.

National Observer (15 August 1966)

Dialogue should simply be a sound among other sounds, just something that comes out of the mouths of people whose eyes tell the story in visual terms.

As quoted in Hitchcock (1967) by Francois Truffaut

Give them pleasure — the same pleasure they have when they wake up from a nightmare.

on audiences, Asbury Park NJ Press, 13 Aug. 1974
Encyclopedia
Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, KBE
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

 (13 August 1899 – 29 April 1980) was a British film director and producer. He pioneered many techniques in the suspense
Suspense
Suspense is a feeling of uncertainty and anxiety about the outcome of certain actions, most often referring to an audience's perceptions in a dramatic work. Suspense is not exclusive to fiction, though. Suspense may operate in any situation where there is a lead-up to a big event or dramatic...

 and psychological thriller
Psychological thriller
Psychological thriller is a specific sub-genre of the broad ranged thriller with heavy focus on characters. However, it often incorporates elements from the mystery and drama genre, along with the typical traits of the thriller genre...

 genres. After a successful career in British cinema
Cinema of the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom has had a major influence on modern cinema. The first moving pictures developed on celluloid film were made in Hyde Park, London in 1889 by William Friese Greene, a British inventor, who patented the process in 1890. It is generally regarded that the British film industry...

 in both silent film
Silent film
A silent film is a film with no synchronized recorded sound, especially with no spoken dialogue. In silent films for entertainment the dialogue is transmitted through muted gestures, pantomime and title cards...

s and early talkies
Sound film
A sound film is a motion picture with synchronized sound, or sound technologically coupled to image, as opposed to a silent film. The first known public exhibition of projected sound films took place in Paris in 1900, but decades would pass before sound motion pictures were made commercially...

, Hitchcock moved to Hollywood
Cinema of the United States
The cinema of the United States, also known as Hollywood, has had a profound effect on cinema across the world since the early 20th century. Its history is sometimes separated into four main periods: the silent film era, classical Hollywood cinema, New Hollywood, and the contemporary period...

. In 1956 he became an American citizen, whilst remaining a British subject.

Over a career spanning more than half a century, Hitchcock fashioned for himself a distinctive and recognisable directorial style. He pioneered the use of a camera made to move in a way that mimics a person's gaze, forcing viewers to engage in a form of voyeurism
Voyeurism
In clinical psychology, voyeurism is the sexual interest in or practice of spying on people engaged in intimate behaviors, such as undressing, sexual activity, or other activity usually considered to be of a private nature....

. He framed shots to maximise anxiety, fear, or empathy, and used innovative film editing
Film editing
Film editing is part of the creative post-production process of filmmaking. It involves the selection and combining of shots into sequences, and ultimately creating a finished motion picture. It is an art of storytelling...

. His stories frequently feature fugitives on the run from the law alongside "icy blonde" female characters. Many of Hitchcock's films have twist endings and thrilling plots featuring depictions of violence, murder, and crime, although many of the mysteries function as decoys or "MacGuffin
MacGuffin
A MacGuffin is "a plot element that catches the viewers' attention or drives the plot of a work of fiction". The defining aspect of a MacGuffin is that the major players in the story are willing to do and sacrifice almost anything to obtain it, regardless of what the MacGuffin actually is...

s" meant only to serve thematic elements in the film and the extremely complex psychological examinations of the characters. Hitchcock's films also borrow many themes from psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis is a psychological theory developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud. Psychoanalysis has expanded, been criticized and developed in different directions, mostly by some of Freud's former students, such as Alfred Adler and Carl Gustav...

 and feature strong sexual undertones. Through his cameo appearances in his own films, interviews, film trailers, and the television program Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Alfred Hitchcock Presents is an American television anthology series hosted by Alfred Hitchcock. The series featured dramas, thrillers, and mysteries. By the premiere of the show on October 2, 1955, Hitchcock had been directing films for over three decades...

, he became a cultural icon
Cultural icon
A cultural icon can be a symbol, logo, picture, name, face, person, building or other image that is readily recognized and generally represents an object or concept with great cultural significance to a wide cultural group...

.

Hitchcock directed more than fifty feature films in a career spanning six decades. Often regarded as the greatest British filmmaker, he came first in a 2007 poll of film critics in Britain's Daily Telegraph, which said: "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." The magazine MovieMaker has described him as the most influential filmmaker of all-time, and he is widely regarded as one of cinema's most significant artists.

Hitchcock's life


Hitchcock was born on 13 August 1899 in Leytonstone, London, England, the second son and youngest of three children of William Hitchcock (1862–1914), a greengrocer
Greengrocer
A greengrocer or fruiterer is a retail trader in fruit and vegetables; that is, in green groceries. Greengrocer is primarily a British and Australian term, and greengrocers' shops were once common in suburbs, towns and villages...

 and poulterer, and Emma Jane Hitchcock (née Whelan; 1863–1942). He was named after his father's brother, Alfred. Hitchcock was raised Catholic and was sent to Salesian College (London)
Salesian College (London)
-History:Salesian College was a Roman Catholic, Voluntary Aided school for boys aged 11 to 16. It was founded in 1895 in Battersea, London by the religious order of the Salesians of Don Bosco, who arrived in Battersea in 1887 as part of Don Bosco's dream to establish a Salesian presence in Great...

 and the Jesuit
Society of Jesus
The Society of Jesus is a Catholic male religious order that follows the teachings of the Catholic Church. The members are called Jesuits, and are also known colloquially as "God's Army" and as "The Company," these being references to founder Ignatius of Loyola's military background and a...

 Classic school St Ignatius' College
St Ignatius' College
St Ignatius' College is a Catholic secondary school for boys, aged 11–18, located in Enfield, Middlesex. Formerly a grammar school, only accepting boys who had passed their Eleven plus exam, its educational philosophy was originally based upon the Jesuit precept of Ignatius of Loyola:Its current...

 in Stamford Hill
Stamford Hill
Stamford Hill is a place in the north of the London Borough of Hackney, England, near the border with Haringey. It is home to Europe's largest Hasidic Jewish and Adeni Jewish community.Stamford Hill is NNE of Charing Cross.-History:...

, London. His mother and paternal grandmother were of Irish extraction. He often described his childhood as being very lonely and sheltered, a situation compounded by his obesity.

Hitchcock said he was sent by his father to the local police station with a note asking the officer to lock him away for ten minutes as punishment for behaving badly. This idea of being harshly treated or wrongfully accused is frequently reflected in Hitchcock's films. Hitchcock's 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. These experiences would later be used for the portrayal of the character of Norman Bates
Norman Bates
Norman Bates is a fictional character created by writer Robert Bloch as the central character in his novel Psycho, and portrayed by Anthony Perkins as the main antagonist of the 1960 film of the same name directed by Alfred Hitchcock...

 in his movie Psycho
Psycho (1960 film)
Psycho is a 1960 American suspense/psychological horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins. The film is based on the screenplay by Joseph Stefano, who adapted it from the 1959 novel of the same name by Robert Bloch...

.

Hitchcock's father died when he was 14. In the same year, Hitchcock left St. Ignatius to study at the London County Council School of Engineering and Navigation in Poplar, London
Poplar, London
Poplar is a historic, mainly residential area of the East End of London in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. It is about east of Charing Cross. Historically a hamlet in the parish of Stepney, Middlesex, in 1817 Poplar became a civil parish. In 1855 the Poplar District of the Metropolis was...

. After graduating, he became a draftsman
Technical drawing
Technical drawing, also known as drafting or draughting, is the act and discipline of composing plans that visually communicate how something functions or has to be constructed.Drafting is the language of industry....

 and advertising designer with a cable company called Henley's.

It was while working at Henley's that he first started to dabble creatively. Upon the formation of the company's in-house publication The Henley Telegraph in 1919, Hitchcock started to submit short articles, eventually becoming one of its most prolific contributors. His first piece was Gas (1919), published in the very first issue, in which a young woman imagines that she is being assaulted one night in Paris – only for the twist to reveal that it was all just a hallucination in the dentist's chair, induced by the anaesthetic. His second piece was The Woman's Part (1919), which involves the conflicted emotions a husband feels as he watches his wife, an actress, perform onstage. Sordid (1920) surrounds an attempt to buy a sword from an antiques dealer, with another twist ending. The short story And There Was No Rainbow (1920) was Hitchcock's first brush with possibly censurable material. A young man goes out looking for a brothel, only to stumble into the house of his best friend's girl. What's Who? (1920), while being very funny, was also a precursor to the famous Abbott and Costello "Who's on First?" routine. The History of Pea Eating (1920) was a satirical disquisition on the various attempts mankind has made over the centuries to eat peas successfully. His final piece, Fedora (1921), was his shortest and most enigmatic contribution. It also gave a strikingly accurate description of his future wife, Alma (whom he had not met yet).

During this period, Hitchcock became intrigued by photography and started working in film production in London, working as a title-card designer for the London branch of what would become Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures Corporation is an American film production and distribution company, located at 5555 Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. Founded in 1912 and currently owned by media conglomerate Viacom, it is America's oldest existing film studio; it is also the last major film studio still...

. In 1920, he received a full-time position at Islington Studios
Hoxton
Hoxton is an area in the London Borough of Hackney, immediately north of the financial district of the City of London. The area of Hoxton is bordered by Regent's Canal on the north side, Wharf Road and City Road on the west, Old Street on the south, and Kingsland Road on the east.Hoxton is also a...

 with its American owner, Famous Players-Lasky
Famous Players-Lasky
Famous Players-Lasky Corporation was an American motion picture and distribution company created on July 19, 1916 from the merger of Adolph Zukor's Famous Players Film Company -- originally formed by Zukor as Famous Players in Famous Plays -- and Jesse L...

 and their British successor, Gainsborough Pictures
Gainsborough Pictures
Gainsborough Pictures was a British film studio based on the south bank of the Regent's Canal, in Poole Street, Hoxton in the former Metropolitan Borough of Shoreditch, London. Gainsborough Studios were active between 1924 and 1951. Built as a power station for the Great Northern & City Railway it...

, designing the titles for silent movies. His rise from title designer to film director took five years.

Inter-war British career


Hitchcock's last collaboration with Graham Cutts
Graham Cutts
Graham Cutts was a British film director who was one of the leading British directors in the 1920s. His fellow director A. V. Bramble believed that Gainsborough Pictures had been built on the back of his work. His daughter was actress Patricia Cutts...

 led him to Germany in 1924. The film Die Prinzessin und der Geiger (UK title The Blackguard, 1925), directed by Cutts and co-written by Hitchcock, was produced in the Babelsberg Studios
Babelsberg Studios
The Studio Babelsberg, located in Potsdam-Babelsberg, Germany, is the oldest large-scale film studio in the world. Founded in 1912, it covers an area of about . Hundreds of films, including Fritz Lang's Metropolis and Josef von Sternberg's The Blue Angel were filmed there...

 in Potsdam near Berlin. Hitchcock also observed part of the making of F. W. Murnau's film Der letzte Mann (1924). He was very impressed with Murnau's work and later used many techniques for the set design in his own productions. In his book-length interview with François Truffaut
François Truffaut
François Roland Truffaut was an influential film critic and filmmaker and one of the founders of the French New Wave. In a film career lasting over a quarter of a century, he remains an icon of the French film industry. He was also a screenwriter, producer, and actor working on over twenty-five...

, Hitchcock/Truffaut (Simon and Schuster, 1967), Hitchcock also said he was influenced by Fritz Lang
Fritz Lang
Friedrich Christian Anton "Fritz" Lang was an Austrian-American filmmaker, screenwriter, and occasional film producer and actor. One of the best known émigrés from Germany's school of Expressionism, he was dubbed the "Master of Darkness" by the British Film Institute...

's film Destiny (1921).

Hitchcock's first few films faced a string of bad luck. His first directing project came in 1922 with the aptly titled Number 13
Number 13 (film)
In 1922 Alfred Hitchcock obtained his first shot at directing for Gainsborough Pictures with the film Number 13 .The film was to star Clare Greet and Ernest Thesiger as husband and wife...

. However, the production was cancelled due to financial problems and the few scenes that were finished at that point were apparently lost. In 1925, Michael Balcon
Michael Balcon
Sir Michael Elias Balcon was an English film producer, known for his work with Ealing Studios.-Background:...

 of Gainsborough Pictures gave Hitchcock another opportunity for a directing credit with The Pleasure Garden made at UFA Studios
Universum Film AG
Universum Film AG, better known as UFA or Ufa, is a film company that was the principal film studio in Germany, home of the German film industry during the Weimar Republic and through World War II, and a major force in world cinema from 1917 to 1945...

 in Germany; unfortunately, the film was a commercial flop. Next, Hitchcock directed a drama called The Mountain Eagle
The Mountain Eagle
The Mountain Eagle is a British silent film, and Alfred Hitchcock's second as director following The Pleasure Garden.-Plot:The film is set in Kentucky. J. P. Pettigrew's wife died giving birth to his son Edward who was born a cripple. Pettigrew hates John Fulton who also loved Pettigrew's wife...

(possibly released under the title Fear o' God in the United States). This film was also eventually lost. In 1926, Hitchcock's luck changed with his first thriller, The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog
The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog
The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog is a silent film directed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1926 and released on 14 February 1927 in London and on 10 June 1928 in New York City. The film, based on a story by Marie Belloc Lowndes and a play Who Is He? co-written by Belloc Lowndes, concerns the hunt for a...

. The film, released in January 1927, was a major commercial and critical success in the United Kingdom. As with many of his earlier works, this film was influenced by Expressionist
German Expressionism
German Expressionism refers to a number of related creative movements beginning in Germany before the First World War that reached a peak in Berlin, during the 1920s...

 techniques Hitchcock had witnessed first-hand in Germany. Some commentators regard this piece as the first truly "Hitchcockian" film, incorporating such themes as the "wrong man".

Following the success of The Lodger, Hitchcock hired a publicist to help enhance his growing reputation. On 2 December 1926, Hitchcock married his assistant director, Alma Reville
Alma Reville
Alma Reville, Lady Hitchcock was an English assistant director, screenwriter and editor. She was the second daughter of Edward and Lucy Reville....

 at the Brompton Oratory
Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
The Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, popularly known as Brompton Oratory, is a Roman Catholic church in South Kensington, London...

 in South Kensington
South Kensington
South Kensington is a district in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London. It is a built-up area located 2.4 miles west south-west of Charing Cross....

. Their only child, daughter Patricia
Patricia Hitchcock
Patricia "Pat" Hitchcock O'Connell is a British-born American actress and producer.-Early life and career:Born in London as the only child of film director Alfred Hitchcock and film editor Alma Reville, the family moved to Los Angeles, California, in 1939, as her father would quickly make his mark...

, was born on 7 July 1928. Alma was to become Hitchcock's closest collaborator. Alma's contribution to his films (some of which were credited on screen) had always been privately acknowledged by Hitchcock, as she was keen to avoid public attention.

In 1929, Hitchcock began work on his tenth film Blackmail
Blackmail (1929 film)
Blackmail is a 1929 British thriller drama film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Anny Ondra, John Longden, and Cyril Ritchard, and featuring Donald Calthrop, Sara Allgood and Charles Paton. The film is based on the play Blackmail by Charles Bennett, as adapted by Hitchcock, with dialogue by...

. While the film was still in production, the studio, British International Pictures (BIP), decided to convert it to sound. As an early 'talkie', the film is frequently cited by film historians as a landmark film, and is often considered to be the first British
Cinema of the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom has had a major influence on modern cinema. The first moving pictures developed on celluloid film were made in Hyde Park, London in 1889 by William Friese Greene, a British inventor, who patented the process in 1890. It is generally regarded that the British film industry...

 sound feature film. With the climax of the film taking place on the dome of the British Museum
British Museum
The British Museum is a museum of human history and culture in London. Its collections, which number more than seven million objects, are amongst the largest and most comprehensive in the world and originate from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its...

, Blackmail began the Hitchcock tradition of using famous landmarks as a backdrop for suspense sequences. It also features one of his longest cameo appearances, which shows him being bothered by a small boy as he reads a book on the London Underground
London Underground
The London Underground is a rapid transit system serving a large part of Greater London and some parts of Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Essex in England...

. In the PBS
Public Broadcasting Service
The Public Broadcasting Service is an American non-profit public broadcasting television network with 354 member TV stations in the United States which hold collective ownership. Its headquarters is in Arlington, Virginia....

 series The Men Who Made The Movies, Hitchcock explained how he used early sound recording as a special element of the film, emphasising the word "knife" in a conversation with the woman suspected of murder. During this period, Hitchcock directed segments for a BIP musical film
Musical film
The musical film is a film genre in which songs sung by the characters are interwoven into the narrative, sometimes accompanied by dancing. The songs usually advance the plot or develop the film's characters, though in some cases they serve merely as breaks in the storyline, often as elaborate...

 revue
Revue
A revue is a type of multi-act popular theatrical entertainment that combines music, dance and sketches. The revue has its roots in 19th century American popular entertainment and melodrama but grew into a substantial cultural presence of its own during its golden years from 1916 to 1932...

 Elstree Calling
Elstree Calling
Elstree Calling is a film directed by Andre Charlot, Jack Hulbert, Paul Murray, and Alfred Hitchcock at Elstree Studios. The film, referred to as "A Cine-Radio Revue" in its original publicity, is a lavish musical film revue and was Britain's answer to the Hollywood revues which had been produced...

(1930) and directed a short film featuring two Film Weekly scholarship winners, An Elastic Affair
An Elastic Affair
An Elastic Affair was a 10-minute short comedy film directed by Alfred Hitchcock which features the two winners — Cyril Butcher as "the Boy" and Aileen Despard as "the Girl" — of a film acting scholarship sponsored by British film magazine Film Weekly.The film was shown on 19 January 1930 at a...

(1930). Another BIP musical revue, Harmony Heaven (1929), reportedly had minor input from Hitchcock, but his name does not appear in the credits.

In 1933, Hitchcock was once again working for Michael Balcon at Gaumont-British Picture Corporation
Gaumont British
Gaumont-British Picture Corporation was the British arm of the French film company Gaumont. The company became independent of its French parent in 1922, when Isidore Ostrer acquired control of Gaumont-British....

. His first film for the company, The Man Who Knew Too Much
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934 film)
The Man Who Knew Too Much is a British suspense film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, featuring Peter Lorre, and released by Gaumont British. It was one of the most successful and critically acclaimed films of Hitchcock's British period....

(1934), was a success and his second, The 39 Steps
The 39 Steps (1935 film)
The 39 Steps is a British thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, loosely based on the adventure novel The Thirty-nine Steps by John Buchan. The film stars Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll....

(1935), is often considered one of the best films from his early period. This film was also one of the first to introduce the concept of the "MacGuffin
MacGuffin
A MacGuffin is "a plot element that catches the viewers' attention or drives the plot of a work of fiction". The defining aspect of a MacGuffin is that the major players in the story are willing to do and sacrifice almost anything to obtain it, regardless of what the MacGuffin actually is...

", a plot device around which a whole story seems to revolve, but ultimately has nothing to do with the true meaning or ending of the story. In The 39 Steps, the Macguffin is a stolen set of design plans. Hitchcock told French director François Truffaut
François Truffaut
François Roland Truffaut was an influential film critic and filmmaker and one of the founders of the French New Wave. In a film career lasting over a quarter of a century, he remains an icon of the French film industry. He was also a screenwriter, producer, and actor working on over twenty-five...

:

There are two men sitting in a train going to Scotland and one man says to the other, "Excuse me, sir, but what is that strange parcel you have on the luggage rack above you?", "Oh", says the other, "that's a Macguffin.", "Well", says the first man, "what's a Macguffin?", The other answers, "It's an apparatus for trapping lions in the Scottish Highlands.", "But", says the first man, "there are no lions in the Scottish Highlands.", "Well", says the other, "then that's no Macguffin."


Hitchcock's next major success was his 1938 film The Lady Vanishes
The Lady Vanishes (1938 film)
The Lady Vanishes is a 1938 British thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and adapted by Sidney Gilliat and Frank Launder from the 1936 novel The Wheel Spins by Ethel Lina White...

, a fast-paced film about the search for a kindly old Englishwoman Miss Froy (Dame May Whitty), who disappears while on board a train in the fictional country of Bandrika.

By 1938, Hitchcock had become known for his alleged observation, "Actors are cattle". He once said that he first made this remark as early as the late 1920s, in connection to stage actors who were snobbish about motion pictures. However, Michael Redgrave
Michael Redgrave
Sir Michael Scudamore Redgrave, CBE was an English stage and film actor, director, manager and author.-Youth and education:...

 said that Hitchcock had made the statement during the filming of The Lady Vanishes. The phrase would haunt Hitchcock for years to come and would result in an incident during the filming of his 1941 production of Mr. & Mrs. Smith
Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941 film)
Mr. & Mrs. Smith is a 1941 screwball comedy film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, written by Norman Krasna, and starring Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery...

, where Carole Lombard
Carole Lombard
Carole Lombard was an American actress. She was particularly noted for her comedic roles in the screwball comedies of the 1930s...

 brought some heifers onto the set with name tags of Lombard, Robert Montgomery
Robert Montgomery (actor)
Robert Montgomery was an American actor and director.- Early life :Montgomery was born Henry Montgomery, Jr. in Beacon, New York, then known as "Fishkill Landing", the son of Mary Weed and Henry Montgomery, Sr. His early childhood was one of privilege, since his father was president of the New...

, and Gene Raymond
Gene Raymond
Gene Raymond was an American film, television, and stage actor of the 1930s and 1940s. In addition to acting, Raymond was also a composer, writer, director, producer, and decorated military pilot.-Stage and movie career:...

, the stars of the film, to surprise the director. Hitchcock said he was misquoted: "I said 'Actors should be treated like cattle'."

At the end of the 1930s, David O. Selznick
David O. Selznick
David O. Selznick was an American film producer. He is best known for having produced Gone with the Wind and Rebecca , both of which earned him an Oscar for Best Picture.-Early years:...

 signed Hitchcock to a seven-year contract beginning in March 1939, when the Hitchcocks moved to the United States.

Hollywood


The suspense and the gallows humour that had become Hitchcock's trademark in film continued to appear in his productions. The working arrangements with Selznick were less than optimal. Selznick suffered from perennial money problems, and Hitchcock was often displeased with Selznick's creative control over his films. In a later interview, Hitchcock summarised the working relationship thus:

[Selznick] was the Big Producer. [...] Producer was king, The most flattering thing Mr. Selznick ever said about me—and it shows you the amount of control—he said I was the "only director" he'd "trust with a film".


Selznick loaned Hitchcock to the larger studios more often than producing Hitchcock's films himself. In addition, Selznick, as well as fellow independent producer Samuel Goldwyn
Samuel Goldwyn
Samuel Goldwyn was an American film producer, and founding contributor executive of several motion picture studios.-Biography:...

, made only a few films each year, so Selznick did not always have projects for Hitchcock to direct. Goldwyn had also negotiated with Hitchcock on a possible contract, only to be outbid by Selznick. Hitchcock was quickly impressed with the superior resources of the American studios compared to the financial restrictions he had frequently encountered in England.

Hitchcock's fondness for his homeland resulted in numerous American films set in, or filmed in, the United Kingdom, including his penultimate film, Frenzy
Frenzy
Frenzy is a 1972 British thriller film produced and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and is the penultimate feature film of his extensive career. The film is based upon the novel Goodbye Piccadilly, Farewell Leicester Square by Arthur La Bern, and was adapted for the screen by Anthony Shaffer. La Bern...

.

With the prestigious Selznick picture Rebecca in 1940, Hitchcock made his first American movie, set in England and based on a novel by English author Daphne du Maurier
Daphne du Maurier
Dame Daphne du Maurier, Lady Browning DBE was a British author and playwright.Many of her works have been adapted into films, including the novels Rebecca and Jamaica Inn and the short stories "The Birds" and "Don't Look Now". The first three were directed by Alfred Hitchcock.Her elder sister was...

. The film starred Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier, OM was an English actor, director, and producer. He was one of the most famous and revered actors of the 20th century. He married three times, to fellow actors Jill Esmond, Vivien Leigh, and Joan Plowright...

 and Joan Fontaine
Joan Fontaine
Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland , known professionally as Joan Fontaine, is a British American actress. She and her elder sister Olivia de Havilland are two of the last surviving leading ladies from Hollywood of the 1930s....

. This Gothic melodrama
Melodrama
The term melodrama refers to a dramatic work that exaggerates plot and characters in order to appeal to the emotions. It may also refer to the genre which includes such works, or to language, behavior, or events which resemble them...

 explores the fears of a naïve young bride who enters a great English country home and must adapt to the extreme formality and coldness she finds there. The film won the Academy Award
Academy Awards
An Academy Award, also known as an Oscar, is an accolade bestowed by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors, and writers...

 for Best Picture
Academy Award for Best Picture
The Academy Award for Best Picture is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to artists working in the motion picture industry. The Best Picture category is the only category in which every member of the Academy is eligible not only...

 of 1940. The statuette was given to Selznick, as the film's producer. The film did not win the Best Director award for Hitchcock.

There were additional problems between Selznick and Hitchcock. Selznick was known to impose very restrictive rules upon Hitchcock, forcing him to shoot the film as Selznick wanted. At the same time, Selznick complained about Hitchcock's "goddamn 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. Rebecca was the fourth longest of Hitchcock's films, at 130 minutes, exceeded only by The Paradine Case
The Paradine Case
The Paradine Case is a 1947 American courtroom drama film, set in England, directed by Alfred Hitchcock and produced by David O. Selznick. The screenplay was written by Selznick and an uncredited Ben Hecht, from an adaptation by Alma Reville and James Bridie of the novel by Robert Smythe Hichens...

(132 minutes), North by Northwest
North by Northwest
North by Northwest is a 1959 American thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint and James Mason, and featuring Leo G. Carroll and Martin Landau...

(136 minutes), and Topaz
Topaz (1969 film)
Topaz is a 1969 suspense film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It is a Cold War and spy story, adapted from the book of the same name by Leon Uris and closely based on the 1962 Sapphire Affair involving French SDECE spy Philippe Thyraud de Vosjoli who "ha[d] played a considerable part in helping...

(142 minutes).

Hitchcock's second American film, the European-set thriller Foreign Correspondent
Foreign Correspondent (film)
Foreign Correspondent is a 1940 American spy thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock which tells the story of an American reporter who tries to expose enemy spies in Britain, a series of events involving a continent-wide conspiracy that eventually leads to the events of a fictionalized World War...

(1940), based on Vincent Sheean
Vincent Sheean
Vincent Sheean , born James Vincent Sheean, American journalist and novelist, most famous for Personal History...

's Personal History and produced by Walter Wanger
Walter Wanger
Walter Wanger was an American film producer. An intellectual and a socially conscious movie executive who produced provocative message movies and glittering romantic melodramas, Wanger's career began at Paramount Pictures in the 1920s and led him to work at virtually every major studio as either a...

, was nominated for Best Picture that year. The movie was filmed in the first year of World War II and was apparently inspired by the rapidly changing events in Europe, as fictionally covered by an American newspaper reporter portrayed by Joel McCrea
Joel McCrea
Joel Albert McCrea was an American actor whose career spanned 50 years and appearances in over 90 films.-Early life:...

. The film mixed actual footage of European scenes and scenes filmed on a Hollywood back lot. In compliance with Hollywood's Production Code censorship, the film avoided direct references to Germany and Germans.

1940s films



Hitchcock's films during the 1940s were diverse, ranging from the romantic comedy Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941) to the courtroom drama The Paradine Case (1947), to the dark and disturbing film noir
Film noir
Film noir is a cinematic term used primarily to describe stylish Hollywood crime dramas, particularly those that emphasize cynical attitudes and sexual motivations. Hollywood's classic film noir period is generally regarded as extending from the early 1940s to the late 1950s...

 Shadow of a Doubt
Shadow of a Doubt
Shadow of a Doubt is a 1943 American thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and starring Teresa Wright and Joseph Cotten. Written by Thornton Wilder, Sally Benson, and Alma Reville, the film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Story for Gordon McDonell...

(1943).

In September 1940, the Hitchcocks purchased the 200 acre (0.809372 km²) Cornwall Ranch, located near Scotts Valley in the Santa Cruz Mountains
Santa Cruz Mountains
The Santa Cruz Mountains, part of the Pacific Coast Ranges, are a mountain range in central California, United States. They form a ridge along the San Francisco Peninsula, south of San Francisco, separating the Pacific Ocean from San Francisco Bay and the Santa Clara Valley, and continuing south,...

. The ranch became the primary residence of the Hitchcocks for the rest of their lives, although they kept their Bel Air home. Suspicion
Suspicion (film)
Suspicion is a romantic psychological thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and starring Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine as a married couple. It also stars Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Nigel Bruce, Dame May Whitty, Isabel Jeans, Heather Angel, and Leo G...

(1941) marked Hitchcock's first film as a producer as well as director. Hitchcock used the north coast of Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, California
Santa Cruz is the county seat and largest city of Santa Cruz County, California in the US. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, Santa Cruz had a total population of 59,946...

, California for the English coastline sequence. This film was to be actor Cary Grant
Cary Grant
Archibald Alexander Leach , better known by his stage name Cary Grant, was an English actor who later took U.S. citizenship...

's first time working with Hitchcock, and it was one of the few times that Grant would be cast in a sinister role. Joan Fontaine won Best Actress Oscar and the New York Film Critics Circle Award for her "outstanding performance in Suspicion". "Grant plays an irresponsible husband whose actions raise suspicion and anxiety in his wife (Fontaine)". In what critics regard as a classic scene, Hitchcock uses a light bulb to illuminate what might be a fatal glass of milk that Grant is bringing to his wife. In the book the movie is based on (Before the Fact
Before the Fact
Before the Fact is a novel by Anthony Berkeley writing under the pen name "Francis Iles".Iles' novel is experimental in that it is not a whodunit: It does not take long to determine the identity of the villain and his motives...

by Francis Iles), the Grant character is a killer, but Hitchcock and the studio felt Grant's image would be tarnished by that ending. Though a homicide would have suited him better, as he stated to François Truffaut, Hitchcock settled for an ambiguous finale.

Saboteur
Saboteur (film)
Saboteur is a 1942 Universal film directed by Alfred Hitchcock with a screenplay written by Peter Viertel, Joan Harrison, and Dorothy Parker. The movie stars Priscilla Lane, Robert Cummings, and Norman Lloyd...

(1942) was the first of two films that Hitchcock made for Universal
Universal Studios
Universal Pictures , a subsidiary of NBCUniversal, is one of the six major movie studios....

, a studio where he would continue his career during his later years. Hitchcock was forced to use Universal contract players Robert Cummings
Robert Cummings
Charles Clarence Robert Orville Cummings , mostly known professionally as Robert Cummings but sometimes as Bob Cummings, was an American film and television actor....

 and Priscilla Lane, both known for their work in comedies and light dramas. Breaking with Hollywood conventions of the time, Hitchcock did extensive location filming, especially in New York City, and depicted a confrontation between a suspected saboteur (Cummings) and a real saboteur (Norman Lloyd
Norman Lloyd
Norman Lloyd is an American actor, producer, and director with a career in entertainment spanning more than seven decades. Lloyd, who currently resides in Los Angeles, has appeared in over sixty films and television shows....

) atop the Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, designed by Frédéric Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886...

. That year he also directed Have You Heard?, a photographic dramatization of the dangers of rumors during wartime
Loose lips sink ships
Loose lips sink ships is an American English idiom meaning "beware of unguarded talk".The phrase originated on propaganda posters during World War II...

, for Life magazine.

Shadow of a Doubt
Shadow of a Doubt
Shadow of a Doubt is a 1943 American thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and starring Teresa Wright and Joseph Cotten. Written by Thornton Wilder, Sally Benson, and Alma Reville, the film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Story for Gordon McDonell...

(1943), Hitchcock's personal favourite of all his films and the second of the early Universal films, was about young Charlotte "Charlie" Newton (Teresa Wright
Teresa Wright
Teresa Wright was an American actress. She received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1942 for her performance in Mrs. Miniver. That same year, she received an Academy Award for Best Actress nomination for her performance in Pride of the Yankees opposite Gary Cooper...

), who suspects her beloved uncle Charlie Oakley (Joseph Cotten
Joseph Cotten
Joseph Cheshire Cotten was an American actor of stage and film. Cotten achieved prominence on Broadway, starring in the original productions of The Philadelphia Story and Sabrina Fair...

) of being a serial murderer. Critics have said that in its use of overlapping characters, dialogue, and closeups it has provided a generation of film theorists with psychoanalytic potential, including Jacques Lacan
Jacques Lacan
Jacques Marie Émile Lacan was a French psychoanalyst and psychiatrist who made prominent contributions to psychoanalysis and philosophy, and has been called "the most controversial psycho-analyst since Freud". Giving yearly seminars in Paris from 1953 to 1981, Lacan influenced France's...

 and Slavoj Žižek
Slavoj Žižek
Slavoj Žižek is a Slovenian philosopher, critical theorist working in the traditions of Hegelianism, Marxism and Lacanian psychoanalysis. He has made contributions to political theory, film theory, and theoretical psychoanalysis....

. Hitchcock again filmed extensively on location, this time in the Northern California city of Santa Rosa
Santa Rosa, California
Santa Rosa is the county seat of Sonoma County, California, United States. The 2010 census reported a population of 167,815. Santa Rosa is the largest city in California's Wine Country and fifth largest city in the San Francisco Bay Area, after San Jose, San Francisco, Oakland, and Fremont and 26th...

, California, during the summer of 1942. The director showcased his own personal fascination with crime and criminals when he had two of his characters discuss various ways of killing people, to the obvious annoyance of Charlotte.

Working at 20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation — also known as 20th Century Fox, or simply 20th or Fox — is one of the six major American film studios...

, Hitchcock adapted a script of John Steinbeck
John Steinbeck
John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr. was an American writer. He is widely known for the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden and the novella Of Mice and Men...

's that chronicled the experiences of the survivors of a German U-boat attack in the film Lifeboat
Lifeboat (film)
Lifeboat is an American war film directed by Alfred Hitchcock from a story written by John Steinbeck. The film stars Tallulah Bankhead, William Bendix, Walter Slezak, Mary Anderson, John Hodiak, Henry Hull, Heather Angel, Hume Cronyn and Canada Lee, and is set entirely on a lifeboat.The film is...

(1944). The action sequences were shot on the small boat. The locale also posed problems for Hitchcock's traditional cameo appearance. That was solved by having Hitchcock's image appear in a newspaper that William Bendix
William Bendix
William Bendix was an American film, radio, and television actor, best remembered in movies for the title role in the movie The Babe Ruth Story and for portraying clumsily earnest aircraft plant worker Chester A. Riley in radio and television's The Life of Riley...

 is reading in the boat, showing the director in a before-and-after advertisement for "Reduco-Obesity Slayer". While at Fox, Hitchcock seriously considered directing the film version of A.J. Cronin's novel about a Catholic priest in China, The Keys of the Kingdom
The Keys of the Kingdom (film)
The Keys of the Kingdom is a 1944 American film based on the 1941 novel, The Keys of the Kingdom, by A. J. Cronin. The movie was adapted by Nunnally Johnson, directed by John M. Stahl and produced by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. It stars Gregory Peck, Thomas Mitchell, Vincent Price, Rose Stradner, Edmund...

, but the plans for this fell through. John M. Stahl
John M. Stahl
John Malcolm Stahl was an American film director and producer.Born in New York City, New York, he began working in the city's growing motion picture industry at a young age and directed his first silent film short in 1914. In the early 1920s Stahl signed on with Louis B...

 ended up directing the 1944 film, which was produced by Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Joseph Leo Mankiewicz was an American film director, screenwriter, and producer. Mankiewicz had a long Hollywood career and is best known as the writer-director of All About Eve , which was nominated for 14 Academy Awards and won six. He was brother to screenwriter and drama critic Herman J...

 and starred Gregory Peck
Gregory Peck
Eldred Gregory Peck was an American actor.One of 20th Century Fox's most popular film stars from the 1940s to the 1960s, Peck continued to play important roles well into the 1980s. His notable performances include that of Atticus Finch in the 1962 film To Kill a Mockingbird, for which he won an...

, among other luminaries.

Returning to England for an extended visit in late 1943 and early 1944, Hitchcock made two short films for the Ministry of Information, Bon Voyage
Bon Voyage (1944 film)
Bon Voyage is a short French language propaganda film made by Alfred Hitchcock for the British Ministry of Information.-Plot:The film depicts the escape of a downed Royal Air Force pilot through German-occupied territory...

and Aventure Malgache
Aventure Malgache
Aventure malgache is a short British propaganda film in French directed by Alfred Hitchcock for the British Ministry of Information. The title means Malagasy Adventure in English....

. Made for the Free French, these were the only films Hitchcock made in the French language, and "feature typical Hitchcockian touches". In the 1990s, the two films were shown by Turner Classic Movies
Turner Classic Movies
Turner Classic Movies is a movie-oriented cable television channel, owned by the Turner Broadcasting System subsidiary of Time Warner, featuring commercial-free classic movies, mostly from the Turner Entertainment and MGM, United Artists, RKO and Warner Bros. film libraries...

 and released on home video.

In 1945, Hitchcock served as "treatment advisor" (in effect, a film editor) for a Holocaust
The Holocaust
The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...

 documentary produced by the British Army. The film, which recorded the liberation of Nazi concentration camps
Nazi concentration camps
Nazi Germany maintained concentration camps throughout the territories it controlled. The first Nazi concentration camps set up in Germany were greatly expanded after the Reichstag fire of 1933, and were intended to hold political prisoners and opponents of the regime...

, remained unreleased until 1985, when it was completed by PBS Frontline and distributed under the title Memory of the Camps.

Hitchcock worked for Selznick again when he directed Spellbound
Spellbound (1945 film)
Spellbound is a psychological mystery thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1945. It tells the story of the new head of a mental asylum who turns out not to be what he claims. The film stars Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck, Michael Chekhov and Leo G. Carroll. It is an adaptation by Angus...

(1945), which explored psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis is a psychological theory developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud. Psychoanalysis has expanded, been criticized and developed in different directions, mostly by some of Freud's former students, such as Alfred Adler and Carl Gustav...

 and featured a dream sequence designed by Salvador Dalí
Salvador Dalí
Salvador Domènec Felip Jacint Dalí i Domènech, Marquis de Púbol , commonly known as Salvador Dalí , was a prominent Spanish Catalan surrealist painter born in Figueres,Spain....

. Gregory Peck
Gregory Peck
Eldred Gregory Peck was an American actor.One of 20th Century Fox's most popular film stars from the 1940s to the 1960s, Peck continued to play important roles well into the 1980s. His notable performances include that of Atticus Finch in the 1962 film To Kill a Mockingbird, for which he won an...

 plays amnesiac Dr. Anthony Edwardes under the treatment of analyst Dr. Peterson (Ingrid Bergman
Ingrid Bergman
Ingrid Bergman was a Swedish actress who starred in a variety of European and American films. She won three Academy Awards, two Emmy Awards, and the Tony Award for Best Actress. She is ranked as the fourth greatest female star of American cinema of all time by the American Film Institute...

), who falls in love with him while trying to unlock his repressed past. The dream sequence as it actually appears in the film is considerably shorter than was originally envisioned, which was to be several minutes long, because it proved to be too disturbing for the audience. Some of the original musical score by Miklós Rózsa
Miklós Rózsa
Miklós Rózsa was a Hungarian-born composer trained in Germany , and active in France , England , and the United States , with extensive sojourns in Italy from 1953...

 (which makes use of the theremin
Theremin
The theremin , originally known as the aetherphone/etherophone, thereminophone or termenvox/thereminvox is an early electronic musical instrument controlled without discernible physical contact from the player. It is named after its Russian inventor, Professor Léon Theremin, who patented the device...

) was later adapted by the composer into a concert piano concerto.

Notorious (1946) followed Spellbound
Spellbound (1945 film)
Spellbound is a psychological mystery thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1945. It tells the story of the new head of a mental asylum who turns out not to be what he claims. The film stars Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck, Michael Chekhov and Leo G. Carroll. It is an adaptation by Angus...

. According to Hitchcock, in his book-length interview with François Truffaut, Selznick sold the director, the two stars (Grant and Bergman) and the screenplay (by Ben Hecht) to RKO Radio Pictures as a "package" for $500,000 due to cost overruns on Selznick's Duel in the Sun (1946). Notorious starred Hitchcock regulars Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant, and features a plot about Nazis, uranium
Uranium
Uranium is a silvery-white metallic chemical element in the actinide series of the periodic table, with atomic number 92. It is assigned the chemical symbol U. A uranium atom has 92 protons and 92 electrons, of which 6 are valence electrons...

, and South America. It was a huge box office success and has remained one of Hitchcock's most acclaimed films. His use of uranium as a plot device led to Hitchcock's being briefly under FBI surveillance. McGilligan writes that Hitchcock consulted Dr. Robert Millikan
Robert Millikan
Robert A. Millikan was an American experimental physicist, and Nobel laureate in physics for his measurement of the charge on the electron and for his work on the photoelectric effect. He served as president of Caltech from 1921 to 1945...

 of Caltech about the development of an atomic bomb. Selznick complained that the notion was "science fiction", only to be confronted by the news stories of the detonation of two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
During the final stages of World War II in 1945, the United States conducted two atomic bombings against the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, the first on August 6, 1945, and the second on August 9, 1945. These two events are the only use of nuclear weapons in war to date.For six months...

 in Japan in August 1945.

After completing his final film for Selznick, The Paradine Case
The Paradine Case
The Paradine Case is a 1947 American courtroom drama film, set in England, directed by Alfred Hitchcock and produced by David O. Selznick. The screenplay was written by Selznick and an uncredited Ben Hecht, from an adaptation by Alma Reville and James Bridie of the novel by Robert Smythe Hichens...

(a courtroom drama that critics found lost momentum because it apparently ran too long and exhausted its resource of ideas), Hitchcock filmed his first colour film, Rope
Rope (film)
Rope is a 1948 American thriller film based on the play Rope by Patrick Hamilton and adapted by Hume Cronyn and Arthur Laurents, directed by Alfred Hitchcock and produced by Sidney Bernstein and Hitchcock as the first of their Transatlantic Pictures productions...

, which appeared in 1948. Here Hitchcock experimented with marshaling suspense in a confined environment, as he had done earlier with Lifeboat
Lifeboat (film)
Lifeboat is an American war film directed by Alfred Hitchcock from a story written by John Steinbeck. The film stars Tallulah Bankhead, William Bendix, Walter Slezak, Mary Anderson, John Hodiak, Henry Hull, Heather Angel, Hume Cronyn and Canada Lee, and is set entirely on a lifeboat.The film is...

(1943). He also experimented with exceptionally long takes—up to ten minutes long. Featuring James Stewart
James Stewart
James Stewart was a Hollywood movie actor and USAF brigadier general.James Stewart may also refer to:-Noblemen:*James Stewart, 5th High Steward of Scotland*James Stewart, the Black Knight of Lorn James Stewart (1908–1997) was a Hollywood movie actor and USAF brigadier general.James Stewart...

 in the leading role, Rope was the first of four films Stewart would make for Hitchcock. It was based on the Leopold and Loeb
Leopold and Loeb
Nathan Freudenthal Leopold, Jr. and Richard Albert Loeb , more commonly known as "Leopold and Loeb", were two wealthy University of Michigan alumni and University of Chicago students who murdered 14-year-old Robert "Bobby" Franks in 1924 and were sentenced to life imprisonment.The duo were...

 case of the 1920s. Somehow Hitchcock's cameraman managed to move the bulky, heavy Technicolor
Technicolor
Technicolor is a color motion picture process invented in 1916 and improved over several decades.It was the second major process, after Britain's Kinemacolor, and the most widely used color process in Hollywood from 1922 to 1952...

 camera quickly around the set as it followed the continuous action of the long takes.

Under Capricorn
Under Capricorn
Under Capricorn is an Alfred Hitchcock historical feature film.-Production:The film is based on the novel Under Capricorn by Helen Simpson, with screenplay by James Bridie, and adaptation by Hume Cronyn. The movie was co-produced by Hitchcock and Sidney Bernstein for their short-lived production...

(1949), set in nineteenth-century Australia, also used the short-lived technique of long takes, but to a more limited extent. He again used Technicolor in this production, then returned to black-and-white films for several years. For Rope and Under Capricorn, Hitchcock formed a production company with Sidney Bernstein called Transatlantic Pictures
Transatlantic Pictures
Transatlantic Pictures was founded by Alfred Hitchcock and longtime associate Sidney Bernstein at the end of World War II in preparation for the end of Hitchcock's contract with David O. Selznick in 1947...

, which became inactive after these two unsuccessful pictures. Hitchcock continued to produce his own films for the rest of his life.

1950s: Peak years


In 1950, Hitchcock filmed Stage Fright
Stage Fright (film)
Stage Fright is a 1950 British crime film directed and produced by Alfred Hitchcock starring Jane Wyman, Marlene Dietrich, Michael Wilding and Richard Todd...

on location in the UK. For the first time, Hitchcock matched one of Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., also known as Warner Bros. Pictures or simply Warner Bros. , is an American producer of film and television entertainment.One of the major film studios, it is a subsidiary of Time Warner, with its headquarters in Burbank,...

' biggest stars, Jane Wyman
Jane Wyman
Jane Wyman was an American singer, dancer, and character actress of film and television. She began her film career in the 1930s, and was a prolific performer for two decades...

, with the sultry German actress Marlene Dietrich
Marlene Dietrich
Marlene Dietrich was a German-American actress and singer.Dietrich remained popular throughout her long career by continually re-inventing herself, professionally and characteristically. In the Berlin of the 1920s, she acted on the stage and in silent films...

. Hitchcock used a number of prominent British actors, including Michael Wilding
Michael Wilding (actor)
-Early life:Born in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, England, Wilding was a successful commercial artist when he joined the art department of a London film studio in 1933. He soon embarked on an acting career.-Career:...

, Richard Todd
Richard Todd
Richard Todd OBE was an Irish-born British stage and film actor and soldier.-Early life:Richard Todd was born as Richard Andrew Palethorpe-Todd in Dublin, Ireland. His father, Andrew William Palethorpe Todd, was an Irish physician and an international Irish rugby player who gained three caps for...

, and Alastair Sim
Alastair Sim
Alastair George Bell Sim, CBE was a Scottish character actor who appeared in a string of classic British films. He is best remembered in the role of Ebenezer Scrooge in the 1951 film Scrooge, and for his portrayal of Miss Fritton, the headmistress in two St. Trinian's films...

. This was Hitchcock's first production for Warner Bros., which had distributed Rope and Under Capricorn, because Transatlantic Pictures was experiencing financial difficulties.

With the film Strangers on a Train
Strangers on a Train (film)
Strangers on a Train is an American psychological thriller film produced and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and based on the 1950 novel of the same name by Patricia Highsmith. It was shot in the autumn of 1950 and released by Warner Bros. on June 30, 1951. The film stars Farley Granger, Ruth Roman,...

(1951), based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith
Patricia Highsmith
Patricia Highsmith was an American novelist and short-story writer most widely known for her psychological thrillers, which led to more than two dozen film adaptations. Her first novel, Strangers on a Train, has been adapted for stage and screen numerous times, notably by Alfred Hitchcock in 1951...

, Hitchcock combined many elements from his preceding films. Hitchcock approached Dashiell Hammett
Dashiell Hammett
Samuel Dashiell Hammett was an American author of hard-boiled detective novels and short stories, and political activist. Among the enduring characters he created are Sam Spade , Nick and Nora Charles , and the Continental Op .In addition to the significant influence his novels and stories had on...

 to write the dialogue but Raymond Chandler
Raymond Chandler
Raymond Thornton Chandler was an American novelist and screenwriter.In 1932, at age forty-five, Raymond Chandler decided to become a detective fiction writer after losing his job as an oil company executive during the Depression. His first short story, "Blackmailers Don't Shoot", was published in...

 took over, then left over disagreements with the director. Two men casually meet and speculate on removing people who are causing them difficulty. One of the men takes this banter entirely seriously. With Farley Granger
Farley Granger
Farley Earle Granger was an American actor. In a career spanning several decades, he was perhaps best known for his two collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock, Rope in 1948 and Strangers on a Train in 1951.-Early life:...

 reprising some elements of his role from Rope, Strangers continued the director's interest in the narrative possibilities of blackmail and murder. Robert Walker, previously known for "boy-next-door" roles, plays the villain.

MCA
Music Corporation of America
MCA, Inc. was an American talent agency. Initially starting in the music business, they would next become a dominant force in the film business, and later expanded into the television business...

 head Lew Wasserman
Lew Wasserman
Lewis Robert "Lew" Wasserman was an American talent agent and studio executive, sometimes credited with creating and later taking apart the studio system in a career spanning more than six decades...

, whose client list included James Stewart
James Stewart
James Stewart was a Hollywood movie actor and USAF brigadier general.James Stewart may also refer to:-Noblemen:*James Stewart, 5th High Steward of Scotland*James Stewart, the Black Knight of Lorn James Stewart (1908–1997) was a Hollywood movie actor and USAF brigadier general.James Stewart...

, Janet Leigh
Janet Leigh
Janet Leigh , born Jeanette Helen Morrison, was an American actress. She was the wife of actor Tony Curtis from June 1951 to September 1962 and the mother of Kelly Curtis and Jamie Lee Curtis....

 and other actors who would appear in Hitchcock's films, had a significant impact in packaging and marketing Hitchcock's films beginning in the 1950s.

Three very popular films starring Grace Kelly
Grace Kelly
Grace Patricia Kelly was an American actress who, in April 1956, married Rainier III, Prince of Monaco, to become Princess consort of Monaco, styled as Her Serene Highness The Princess of Monaco, and commonly referred to as Princess Grace.After embarking on an acting career in 1950, at the age of...

 followed. Dial M for Murder
Dial M for Murder
Dial M for Murder is a 1954 American thriller film adapted from a successful stage play by Frederick Knott, directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, and Robert Cummings. The movie was released by the Warner Bros...

(1954) was adapted from the popular stage play by Frederick Knott
Frederick Knott
Frederick Major Paull Knott was an English playwright, best known for writing the London-based stage thriller Dial M for Murder, which was later filmed in Hollywood by Alfred Hitchcock....

. Ray Milland
Ray Milland
Ray Milland was a Welsh actor and director. His screen career ran from 1929 to 1985, and he is best remembered for his Academy Award–winning portrayal of an alcoholic writer in The Lost Weekend , a sophisticated leading man opposite a corrupt John Wayne in Reap the Wild Wind , the murder-plotting...

 plays the scheming villain, an ex-tennis pro who tries to murder his unfaithful wife Grace Kelly
Grace Kelly
Grace Patricia Kelly was an American actress who, in April 1956, married Rainier III, Prince of Monaco, to become Princess consort of Monaco, styled as Her Serene Highness The Princess of Monaco, and commonly referred to as Princess Grace.After embarking on an acting career in 1950, at the age of...

 for her money. When she kills the hired assassin in self-defense, Milland manipulates the evidence to pin the death on his wife. Her lover, Mark Halliday (Robert Cummings
Robert Cummings
Charles Clarence Robert Orville Cummings , mostly known professionally as Robert Cummings but sometimes as Bob Cummings, was an American film and television actor....

), and Police Inspector Hubbard (John Williams
John Williams (actor)
John Williams was an English stage, film and television actor. He is remembered for his role as chief inspector Hubbard in Alfred Hitchcock's Dial M For Murder, and as portraying the second "Mr...

), work urgently to save her from execution. Hitchcock experimented with 3D
3-D film
A 3-D film or S3D film is a motion picture that enhances the illusion of depth perception...

 cinematography, although the film was not released in this format at first. However, it was shown in 3D in the early 1980s. The film marked a return to Technicolor productions for Hitchcock.

Hitchcock then moved to Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures Corporation is an American film production and distribution company, located at 5555 Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. Founded in 1912 and currently owned by media conglomerate Viacom, it is America's oldest existing film studio; it is also the last major film studio still...

 and filmed Rear Window
Rear Window
Rear Window is a 1954 American suspense film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, written by John Michael Hayes and based on Cornell Woolrich's 1942 short story "It Had to Be Murder"...

(1954), starring James Stewart and Kelly again, as well as Thelma Ritter
Thelma Ritter
Thelma Ritter was an American supporting and character actress from the 1940s until her death in 1969.-Early life:...

 and Raymond Burr
Raymond Burr
Raymond William Stacey Burr was a Canadian actor, primarily known for his title roles in the television dramas Perry Mason and Ironside. His early acting career included roles on Broadway, radio, television and in film, usually as the villain...

. Stewart's character, a photographer based on Robert Capa
Robert Capa
Robert Capa was a Hungarian combat photographer and photojournalist who covered five different wars: the Spanish Civil War, the Second Sino-Japanese War, World War II across Europe, the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and the First Indochina War...

, must temporarily use a wheelchair; out of boredom he begins observing his neighbours across the courtyard, and becomes convinced one of them (Raymond Burr) has murdered his wife. Stewart tries to sway both his glamorous model-girlfriend (Kelly), which screenwriter John Michael Hayes
John Michael Hayes
John Michael Hayes was an American screenwriter, who scripted several of Alfred Hitchcock's films in the 1950s, and subject of the book "" by Steven DeRosa.-Early life:...

 based on his own wife, and his policeman buddy (Wendell Corey
Wendell Corey
Wendell Reid Corey was an American actor and politician.He was born in Dracut, Massachusetts, the son of Milton Rothwell Corey and Julia Etta McKenney . His father was a Congregationalist clergyman...

) to his theory, and eventually succeeds. 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. Hitchcock used closeups of Stewart's face to show his character's reactions to all he sees, "from the comic voyeurism directed at his neighbours to his helpless terror watching Kelly and Burr in the villain's apartment".

The third Kelly film, To Catch a Thief
To Catch a Thief (film)
To Catch a Thief is a 1955 romantic thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, Jessie Royce Landis and John Williams. The movie is set on the French Riviera, and was based on the 1952 novel of the same name by David Dodge...

(1955), set in the French Riviera, paired Kelly with Cary Grant again. Grant plays retired thief John Robie, who becomes the prime suspect for a spate of robberies in the Riviera. An American heiress played by Kelly surmises his true identity, attempts to seduce him. "Despite the obvious age disparity between Grant and Kelly and a lightweight plot, the witty script (loaded with double-entendres) and the good-natured acting proved a commercial success." It was Hitchcock's last film with Kelly. She married Prince Rainier of Monaco
Monaco
Monaco , officially the Principality of Monaco , is a sovereign city state on the French Riviera. It is bordered on three sides by its neighbour, France, and its centre is about from Italy. Its area is with a population of 35,986 as of 2011 and is the most densely populated country in the...

 in 1956, and the residents of her new land were against her making any more films.

Hitchcock successfully remade his own 1934 film The Man Who Knew Too Much
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956 film)
The Man Who Knew Too Much is a suspense film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring James Stewart and Doris Day. The film is a remake in widescreen VistaVision and Technicolor of Hitchcock's 1934 film of the same name....

in 1956, this time starring Stewart and Doris Day
Doris Day
Doris Day is an American actress, singer and, since her retirement from show business, an animal rights activist. With an entertainment career that spanned through almost 50 years, Day started her career as a big band singer in 1939, but only began to be noticed after her first hit recording,...

, who sang the theme song, "Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)" (which won the Oscar for "Best Original Song" and became a big hit for Day). They play a couple whose son is kidnapped to prevent them from interfering with an assassination.
The Wrong Man
The Wrong Man
The Wrong Man is a 1956 film by Alfred Hitchcock which stars Henry Fonda and Vera Miles. The film is based on a true story of an innocent man charged for a crime he did not commit...

(1957), Hitchcock's final film for Warner Brothers, was a low-key black-and-white production based on a real-life case of mistaken identity reported in Life Magazine in 1953. This was the only film of Hitchcock's to star Henry Fonda
Henry Fonda
Henry Jaynes Fonda was an American film and stage actor.Fonda made his mark early as a Broadway actor. He also appeared in 1938 in plays performed in White Plains, New York, with Joan Tompkins...

. Fonda plays a Stork Club musician mistaken for a liquor store thief who is arrested and tried for robbery while his wife (newcomer Vera Miles
Vera Miles
Vera Miles is an American film actress who gained popularity for starring in films such as The Searchers, The Wrong Man, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Psycho and Psycho II.-Early life:...

) emotionally collapses under the strain. Hitchcock told Truffaut that his lifelong fear of the police attracted him to the subject and was embedded in many scenes.

Vertigo
Vertigo (film)
Vertigo is a 1958 psychological thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring James Stewart, Kim Novak, and Barbara Bel Geddes. The screenplay was written by Alec Coppel and Samuel A...

(1958) again starred Stewart, this time with Kim Novak
Kim Novak
Kim Novak is an American film and television actress. She began her career with her roles in Pushover and Phffft! but achieved greater prominence in the 1955 film Picnic...

 and Barbara Bel Geddes
Barbara Bel Geddes
Barbara Bel Geddes was an American actress, artist and children's author. She is best known for her role in the television drama series Dallas as matriarch Eleanor "Miss Ellie" Ewing. Bel Geddes also starred in the original Broadway production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in the role of Maggie...

. Stewart plays "Scottie", a former police investigator suffering from acrophobia
Acrophobia
Acrophobia is an extreme or irrational fear of heights. It belongs to a category of specific phobias, called space and motion discomfort that share both similar etiology and options for treatment.Most people experience a degree of natural fear when exposed to heights, especially if there is little...

, who develops an obsession with a woman he is shadowing (Novak). Scottie's obsession leads to tragedy, and this time Hitchcock does not opt for a happy ending. Though the film is widely considered a classic today, Vertigo met with negative reviews and poor box office receipts upon its release, and marked the last collaboration between Stewart and Hitchcock. The film is ranked second (behind Citizen Kane
Citizen Kane
Citizen Kane is a 1941 American drama film, directed by and starring Orson Welles. Many critics consider it the greatest American film of all time, especially for its innovative cinematography, music and narrative structure. Citizen Kane was Welles' first feature film...

) in the 2002 Sight & Sound decade poll. It was premiered in the San Sebastián International Film Festival
San Sebastián International Film Festival
The San Sebastián International Film Festival is an annual FIAPF A category film festival held in the Spanish city of San Sebastián .-History:The festival was founded in 1953...

, where Hitchcock won a Silver Seashell.

Late 1950s, 1960s and 1970s


By this time, Hitchcock had filmed in many areas of the United States. He followed Vertigo with three more successful films. Two are also recognised as arguably his best movies: North by Northwest
North by Northwest
North by Northwest is a 1959 American thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint and James Mason, and featuring Leo G. Carroll and Martin Landau...

(1959) and Psycho
Psycho (1960 film)
Psycho is a 1960 American suspense/psychological horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins. The film is based on the screenplay by Joseph Stefano, who adapted it from the 1959 novel of the same name by Robert Bloch...

(1960). The third film was The Birds
The Birds (film)
The Birds is a 1963 horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock based on the 1952 short story "The Birds" by Daphne du Maurier. It depicts Bodega Bay, California which is, suddenly and for unexplained reasons, the subject of a series of widespread and violent bird attacks over the course of a few...

(1963).

In North by Northwest, Cary Grant portrays Roger Thornhill, a Madison Avenue advertising executive who is mistaken for a government secret agent. He is hotly pursued by enemy agents across America, apparently one of them being Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint
Eva Marie Saint
Eva Marie Saint is an American actress who has starred in films, on Broadway, and on television in a career spanning seven decades. She won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the drama film On the Waterfront , and later starred in the thriller film North by...

).

Psycho is almost certainly Hitchcock's most well known film. Produced on a highly constrained budget of $800,000, it was shot in black-and-white on a spare set. The unprecedented violence of the shower scene, the early demise of the heroine, the innocent lives extinguished by a disturbed murderer were all hallmarks of Hitchcock, copied in many subsequent horror films. After completing Psycho, Hitchcock moved to Universal, where he made the remainder of his films.

The Birds, inspired by a Daphne Du Maurier
Daphne du Maurier
Dame Daphne du Maurier, Lady Browning DBE was a British author and playwright.Many of her works have been adapted into films, including the novels Rebecca and Jamaica Inn and the short stories "The Birds" and "Don't Look Now". The first three were directed by Alfred Hitchcock.Her elder sister was...

 short story and by an actual news story about a mysterious infestation of birds in California, was Hitchcock's 49th film. He signed up Tippi Hedren
Tippi Hedren
Nathalie Kay "Tippi" Hedren is an American actress and former fashion model with a career spanning six decades. She is primarily known for her roles in two Alfred Hitchcock films, The Birds and Marnie, and her extensive efforts in animal rescue at Shambala Preserve, an wildlife habitat which she...

 as his latest blonde heroine opposite Rod Taylor. (On 13 April 2011, at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington, NY, Hedren stated in an interview with Turner Classic Movies' Ben Mankiewicz, prior to a screening of The Birds, that because she refused Hitchcock’s sexual advances, Hitchcock effectively stunted her career.) The scenes of the birds attacking included hundreds of shots mixing actual and animated sequences. The cause of the birds' attack is left unanswered, "perhaps highlighting the mystery of forces unknown".

The latter two films were particularly notable for their unconventional soundtracks, both orchestrated by Bernard Herrmann
Bernard Herrmann
Bernard Herrmann was an American composer noted for his work in motion pictures.An Academy Award-winner , Herrmann is particularly known for his collaborations with director Alfred Hitchcock, most famously Psycho, North by Northwest, The Man Who Knew Too Much, and Vertigo...

: the screeching strings played in the murder scene in Psycho exceeded the limits of the time, and The Birds dispensed completely with conventional instruments, instead using an electronically produced soundtrack and an unaccompanied song by school children (just prior to the infamous attack at the historic Bodega Bay School). These films are considered his last great films, after which his output deteriorated. (although some critics, such as Robin Wood and Donald Spoto
Donald Spoto
Donald Spoto is an American celebrity biographer, Catholic theologian, and former monk. He is best known for his best-selling biographies of film and theatre celebrities such as Alfred Hitchcock, Laurence Olivier, Tennessee Williams, Ingrid Bergman, James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly,...

, contend that Marnie
Marnie (film)
Marnie is a 1964 psychological thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock and based on the novel of the same name by Winston Graham. The film stars Tippi Hedren and Sean Connery. The original film score was composed by Bernard Herrmann.-Plot:...

, from 1964, is first-class Hitchcock, and some have argued that Frenzy is unfairly overlooked).

Failing health took its toll on Hitchcock, reducing his output during the last two decades of his career. Hitchcock filmed two spy thrillers. The first, Torn Curtain
Torn Curtain
Torn Curtain is a 1966 American political thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Paul Newman and Julie Andrews.-Plot:On a cruise ship en route to Copenhagen, Michael Armstrong , an esteemed American physicist and rocket scientist, is to attend a scientific conference...

(1966), with Paul Newman
Paul Newman
Paul Leonard Newman was an American actor, film director, entrepreneur, humanitarian, professional racing driver and auto racing enthusiast...

 and Julie Andrews
Julie Andrews
Dame Julia Elizabeth Andrews, DBE is an English film and stage actress, singer, and author. She is the recipient of Golden Globe, Emmy, Grammy, BAFTA, People's Choice Award, Theatre World Award, Screen Actors Guild and Academy Award honors...

, was a Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 thriller. Torn Curtain displays the bitter end of the twelve-year collaboration between Hitchcock and composer Bernard Herrmann. Herrmann was fired when Hitchcock was unsatisfied with his score. In 1969, Topaz
Topaz (1969 film)
Topaz is a 1969 suspense film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It is a Cold War and spy story, adapted from the book of the same name by Leon Uris and closely based on the 1962 Sapphire Affair involving French SDECE spy Philippe Thyraud de Vosjoli who "ha[d] played a considerable part in helping...

, another Cold War-themed film (based on a Leon Uris
Leon Uris
Leon Marcus Uris was an American novelist, known for his historical fiction and the deep research that went into his novels. His two bestselling books were Exodus, published in 1958, and Trinity, in 1976.-Life:...

 novel), was released. Both received mixed reviews from critics but are nonetheless recognised as espionage thrillers.

In 1972, Hitchcock returned to London to film Frenzy, his last major triumph. After two only moderately successful espionage films, the plot marks a return to the murder thriller genre that he made so many films out of earlier in his career. The basic story recycles his early film The Lodger. Richard Blaney (Jon Finch
Jon Finch
Jon Finch is an English actor noted for many Shakespearean roles. Perhaps his most notable role was the title role in Roman Polanski's 1971 film adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth. His other famous role was as a down-and-out ex-RAF pilot wrongly accused of murder in Alfred Hitchcock's...

), a volatile barkeeper with a history of explosive anger, becomes the prime suspect for the "Necktie Murders," which are actually committed by his friend Bob Rusk (Barry Foster
Barry Foster (actor)
Barry Foster was a British actor who appeared in numerous film roles and is known for his leading role as a Dutch detective in the ITV drama series, Van der Valk, which spanned five series over 20 years from 1972....

). This time, Hitchcock makes the victim and villain twins, rather than opposites, as in Strangers on a Train. Only one of them, however, has crossed the line to murder. For the first time, Hitchcock allowed nudity and profane language, which had before been taboo, in one of his films. He also shows rare sympathy for the chief inspector and his comic domestic life. Biographers have noted that Hitchcock had always pushed the limits of film censorship, often managing to fool Joseph Breen
Joseph Breen
Joseph Breen is an American soap opera actor.He played contract parts on both Guiding Light and Loving before being offered his most front-burner role to date: that of Lisa’s long-lost son, Scott Eldridge, on As the World Turns...

, the longtime head of Hollywood's Production Code
Production Code
The Motion Picture Production Code was the set of industry moral censorship guidelines that governed the production of the vast majority of United States motion pictures released by major studios from 1930 to 1968. It is also popularly known as the Hays Code, after Hollywood's chief censor of the...

. Many times Hitchcock slipped in subtle hints of improprieties forbidden by censorship until the mid-1960s. Yet Patrick McGilligan wrote that Breen and others often realised that Hitchcock was inserting such things and were actually amused as well as alarmed by Hitchcock's "inescapable inferences". Beginning with Torn Curtain, Hitchcock was finally able to blatantly include plot elements previously forbidden in American films and this continued for the remainder of his film career.

Family Plot
Family Plot
Family Plot is a 1976 American dark comedy/thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, his fifty-third and final film. It stars Barbara Harris, Bruce Dern, William Devane, and Karen Black....

(1976) was Hitchcock's last film. It related the escapades of "Madam" Blanche Tyler played by Barbara Harris
Barbara Harris (actress)
Barbara Harris is an American actress who was a Broadway stage star and later became a film actress. She appeared in such films as A Thousand Clowns, Plaza Suite, Nashville, Family Plot, Freaky Friday, Peggy Sue Got Married, and Grosse Pointe Blank...

, a fraudulent spiritualist, and her taxi driver lover Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern
Bruce MacLeish Dern is an American film actor. He also appeared as a guest star in numerous television shows. He frequently takes roles as a character actor, often playing unstable and villainous characters...

 making a living from her phoney powers. William Devane
William Devane
William Joseph Devane is an American film, television and theater actor.-Life and career:Devane was born in Albany, New York in 1937 or 1939 , the son of Joseph Devane, who was Franklin D. Roosevelt's chauffeur when he was Governor of New York...

, Karen Black
Karen Black
Karen Black is an American actress, screenwriter, singer, and songwriter. She is noted for appearing in such films as Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, The Great Gatsby, Rhinoceros, The Day of the Locust, Nashville, Airport 1975, and Alfred Hitchcock's final film, Family Plot...

 and Cathleen Nesbitt
Cathleen Nesbitt
Cathleen Mary Nesbitt, CBE was an English stage and film actress.-Biography:Born in Cheshire, England in 1888, of Welsh and Irish descent, Nesbitt was educated in Lisieux, France, and at the Queen's University of Belfast and the Sorbonne...

 co-starred. It was the only Hitchcock film scored by John Williams
John Williams
John Towner Williams is an American composer, conductor, and pianist. In a career spanning almost six decades, he has composed some of the most recognizable film scores in the history of motion pictures, including the Star Wars saga, Jaws, Superman, the Indiana Jones films, E.T...

.

Last film work and death


Near the end of his life, Hitchcock had worked on the script for a projected spy thriller, The Short Night
The Short Night
The Short Night was a film planned by Alfred Hitchcock. The project was originally announced in the late 1960s at the time of Topaz and Hitchcock scouted locations in Finland...

, collaborating with screenwriters James Costigan
James Costigan
James Costigan was an American television actor and Emmy Award-winning television screenwriter. His writing credited included the Eleanor and Franklin and Love Among the Ruins television movies....

 and Ernest Lehman
Ernest Lehman
Ernest Lehman was an American screenwriter. He received 6 Academy Award nominations during his screenwriting career...

. Despite some preliminary work, the story was never filmed. This was due primarily to Hitchcock's own failing health and his concerns over the health of his wife, Alma, who had suffered a stroke. The script was eventually published posthumously, in a book on Hitchcock's last years.

Hitchcock died peacefully in his sleep on 29 April 1980, 9:17 am, due to renal failure
Renal failure
Renal failure or kidney failure describes a medical condition in which the kidneys fail to adequately filter toxins and waste products from the blood...

 in his Bel Air, Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

, California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 home at the age of 80, survived by his wife and their daughter. His funeral service was held at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Beverly Hills. Hitchcock's body was cremated and his ashes were scattered over the Pacific Ocean.

Themes, plot devices and motifs


Hitchcock returned several times to cinematic devices such as suspense
Suspense
Suspense is a feeling of uncertainty and anxiety about the outcome of certain actions, most often referring to an audience's perceptions in a dramatic work. Suspense is not exclusive to fiction, though. Suspense may operate in any situation where there is a lead-up to a big event or dramatic...

, the audience as voyeur, and his well-known "MacGuffin
MacGuffin
A MacGuffin is "a plot element that catches the viewers' attention or drives the plot of a work of fiction". The defining aspect of a MacGuffin is that the major players in the story are willing to do and sacrifice almost anything to obtain it, regardless of what the MacGuffin actually is...

," an apparently minor detail serving as a pivot upon which the narrative turns.

Technical innovations


Hitchcock seemed to delight in the technical challenges of film making. In the film Lifeboat
Lifeboat (film)
Lifeboat is an American war film directed by Alfred Hitchcock from a story written by John Steinbeck. The film stars Tallulah Bankhead, William Bendix, Walter Slezak, Mary Anderson, John Hodiak, Henry Hull, Heather Angel, Hume Cronyn and Canada Lee, and is set entirely on a lifeboat.The film is...

, Hitchcock stages 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 limitations of the setting; so Hitchcock appears in a fictitious magazine for a weight loss product). Similarly, the entire action in Rear Window
Rear Window
Rear Window is a 1954 American suspense film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, written by John Michael Hayes and based on Cornell Woolrich's 1942 short story "It Had to Be Murder"...

either takes place in or is seen from a single apartment. In Spellbound
Spellbound (1945 film)
Spellbound is a psychological mystery thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1945. It tells the story of the new head of a mental asylum who turns out not to be what he claims. The film stars Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck, Michael Chekhov and Leo G. Carroll. It is an adaptation by Angus...

, 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 out-sized 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
Rope (film)
Rope is a 1948 American thriller film based on the play Rope by Patrick Hamilton and adapted by Hume Cronyn and Arthur Laurents, directed by Alfred Hitchcock and produced by Sidney Bernstein and Hitchcock as the first of their Transatlantic Pictures productions...

(1948) was another technical challenge: a film that appears to have been shot entirely in a single take. The film was actually shot in 10 takes ranging from four and a half to 10 minutes each; a 10 minute length of film being the maximum a camera's film magazine could hold. Some 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.

Hitchcock's 1958 film Vertigo contains a camera technique developed by Irmin Roberts that has been imitated and re-used many times by filmmakers, wherein the image appears to "stretch". This is achieved by moving the camera in the opposite direction of the camera's zoom. It has become known by many nicknames, including Dolly zoom
Dolly zoom
The dolly zoom is an unsettling in-camera effect that appears to undermine normal visual perception. It is part of many cinematic techniques used in filmmaking and television production....

, "Zolly," "Hitchcock Zoom," and "Vertigo Effect."

Signature appearances in his films


Hitchcock appeared briefly in many of his own films. For example, he is seen struggling to get a double bass
Double bass
The double bass, also called the string bass, upright bass, standup bass or contrabass, is the largest and lowest-pitched bowed string instrument in the modern symphony orchestra, with strings usually tuned to E1, A1, D2 and G2...

 onto a train, or walking dogs in the background.

Psychology of characters


Hitchcock's films sometimes feature characters struggling in their relationships with their mothers. In North by Northwest
North by Northwest
North by Northwest is a 1959 American thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint and James Mason, and featuring Leo G. Carroll and Martin Landau...

(1959), Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant
Cary Grant
Archibald Alexander Leach , better known by his stage name Cary Grant, was an English actor who later took U.S. citizenship...

's character) is an innocent man ridiculed by his mother for insisting that shadowy, murderous men are after him. In The Birds
The Birds (film)
The Birds is a 1963 horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock based on the 1952 short story "The Birds" by Daphne du Maurier. It depicts Bodega Bay, California which is, suddenly and for unexplained reasons, the subject of a series of widespread and violent bird attacks over the course of a few...

(1963), the Rod Taylor
Rod Taylor (actor)
Rodney Sturt "Rod" Taylor is an Australian-American actor of film and television.-Early life:Born on 11 January 1930 in Lidcombe, a suburb of Sydney, Taylor was the only child of William Sturt Taylor, a steel construction contractor and commercial artist, and the former Mona Thompson, a writer of...

 character, an innocent man, finds his world under attack by vicious birds, and struggles to free himself of a clinging mother (Jessica Tandy
Jessica Tandy
Jessie Alice "Jessica" Tandy was an English-American stage and film actress.She first appeared on the London stage in 1926 at the age of 16, playing, among others, Katherine opposite Laurence Olivier's Henry V, and Cordelia opposite John Gielgud's King Lear. She also worked in British films...

). The killer in Frenzy
Frenzy
Frenzy is a 1972 British thriller film produced and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and is the penultimate feature film of his extensive career. The film is based upon the novel Goodbye Piccadilly, Farewell Leicester Square by Arthur La Bern, and was adapted for the screen by Anthony Shaffer. La Bern...

(1972) has a loathing of women but idolises 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
Marion Lorne
Marion Lorne MacDougall was an American actress. After a career in theatre in New York and London, Lorne made her first film in 1951, and for the remainder of her life, played small roles in films and television...

). Sebastian (Claude Rains
Claude Rains
Claude Rains was an English stage and film actor whose career spanned 66 years. He was known for many roles in Hollywood films, among them the title role in The Invisible Man , a corrupt senator in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington , Mr...

) in Notorious has a clearly conflictual relationship with his mother, who is (correctly) suspicious of his new bride Alicia Huberman (Ingrid Bergman
Ingrid Bergman
Ingrid Bergman was a Swedish actress who starred in a variety of European and American films. She won three Academy Awards, two Emmy Awards, and the Tony Award for Best Actress. She is ranked as the fourth greatest female star of American cinema of all time by the American Film Institute...

). Norman Bates has troubles with his mother in Psycho
Psycho (1960 film)
Psycho is a 1960 American suspense/psychological horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins. The film is based on the screenplay by Joseph Stefano, who adapted it from the 1959 novel of the same name by Robert Bloch...

.

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. The famous victims in The Lodger are all blondes. In The 39 Steps
The 39 Steps (1935 film)
The 39 Steps is a British thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, loosely based on the adventure novel The Thirty-nine Steps by John Buchan. The film stars Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll....

, Hitchcock's glamorous blonde star, Madeleine Carroll
Madeleine Carroll
Edith Madeleine Carroll was an English actress, popular in the 1930s and 1940s.-Early life:Carroll was born at 32 Herbert Street in West Bromwich, England. She graduated from the University of Birmingham, England with a B.A. degree...

, is put in handcuffs. In Marnie
Marnie (film)
Marnie is a 1964 psychological thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock and based on the novel of the same name by Winston Graham. The film stars Tippi Hedren and Sean Connery. The original film score was composed by Bernard Herrmann.-Plot:...

(1964), the title character (played by Tippi Hedren
Tippi Hedren
Nathalie Kay "Tippi" Hedren is an American actress and former fashion model with a career spanning six decades. She is primarily known for her roles in two Alfred Hitchcock films, The Birds and Marnie, and her extensive efforts in animal rescue at Shambala Preserve, an wildlife habitat which she...

) is a thief. In To Catch a Thief
To Catch a Thief (film)
To Catch a Thief is a 1955 romantic thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, Jessie Royce Landis and John Williams. The movie is set on the French Riviera, and was based on the 1952 novel of the same name by David Dodge...

(1955), Francie (Grace Kelly
Grace Kelly
Grace Patricia Kelly was an American actress who, in April 1956, married Rainier III, Prince of Monaco, to become Princess consort of Monaco, styled as Her Serene Highness The Princess of Monaco, and commonly referred to as Princess Grace.After embarking on an acting career in 1950, at the age of...

) offers to help a man she believes is a burglar. In Rear Window
Rear Window
Rear Window is a 1954 American suspense film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, written by John Michael Hayes and based on Cornell Woolrich's 1942 short story "It Had to Be Murder"...

, Lisa (Grace Kelly again) risks her life by breaking into Lars Thorwald's apartment. The best known example is in Psycho
Psycho (1960 film)
Psycho is a 1960 American suspense/psychological horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins. The film is based on the screenplay by Joseph Stefano, who adapted it from the 1959 novel of the same name by Robert Bloch...

where Janet Leigh
Janet Leigh
Janet Leigh , born Jeanette Helen Morrison, was an American actress. She was the wife of actor Tony Curtis from June 1951 to September 1962 and the mother of Kelly Curtis and Jamie Lee Curtis....

's unfortunate character steals $40,000 and is murdered by a reclusive psychopath. Hitchcock's last blonde heroine was—years after Dany Robin
Dany Robin
Dany Robin was a French actress of the 1950s and the early 1960s who was married to fellow actor Georges Marchal.She performed with Peter Sellers in The Waltz of the Toreadors and co-starred opposite Kirk Douglas in the 1953 romantic drama Act of Love.Robin co-starred with Connie Francis, Paula...

 and her "daughter" Claude Jade
Claude Jade
Claude Marcelle Jorré, better known as Claude Jade , was a French actress, known for starring as Christine in François Truffaut's three films Stolen Kisses , Bed and Board and Love on the Run . Jade acted in theatre, film and television...

 in TopazBarbara Harris
Barbara Harris (actress)
Barbara Harris is an American actress who was a Broadway stage star and later became a film actress. She appeared in such films as A Thousand Clowns, Plaza Suite, Nashville, Family Plot, Freaky Friday, Peggy Sue Got Married, and Grosse Pointe Blank...

 as a phony psychic turned amateur sleuth in his final film, 1976's Family Plot
Family Plot
Family Plot is a 1976 American dark comedy/thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, his fifty-third and final film. It stars Barbara Harris, Bruce Dern, William Devane, and Karen Black....

. In the same film, the diamond smuggler played by Karen Black
Karen Black
Karen Black is an American actress, screenwriter, singer, and songwriter. She is noted for appearing in such films as Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, The Great Gatsby, Rhinoceros, The Day of the Locust, Nashville, Airport 1975, and Alfred Hitchcock's final film, Family Plot...

 could also fit that role, as she wears a long blonde wig in various scenes and becomes increasingly uncomfortable about her line of work.

Some critics and Hitchcock scholars, including Donald Spoto and Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert
Roger Joseph Ebert is an American film critic and screenwriter. He is the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.Ebert is known for his film review column and for the television programs Sneak Previews, At the Movies with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, and Siskel and Ebert and The...

, agree that Vertigo
Vertigo (film)
Vertigo is a 1958 psychological thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring James Stewart, Kim Novak, and Barbara Bel Geddes. The screenplay was written by Alec Coppel and Samuel A...

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 favourite film (of his own work) was Shadow of a Doubt
Shadow of a Doubt
Shadow of a Doubt is a 1943 American thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and starring Teresa Wright and Joseph Cotten. Written by Thornton Wilder, Sally Benson, and Alma Reville, the film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Story for Gordon McDonell...

.

Writing


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." In an interview with Roger Ebert in 1969, Hitchcock elaborated further:
In Writing with Hitchcock, a book-length study of Hitchcock's working method with his writers, author Steven DeRosa noted that "Although he rarely did any actual 'writing', especially on his Hollywood productions, Hitchcock supervised and guided his writers through every draft, insisting on a strict attention to detail and a preference for telling the story through visual rather than verbal means. While this exasperated some writers, others admitted the director inspired them to do their very best work. Hitchcock often emphasised that he took no screen credit for the writing of his films. However, over time the work of many of his writers has been attributed solely to Hitchcock’s creative genius, a misconception he rarely went out of his way to correct. Notwithstanding his technical brilliance as a director, Hitchcock relied on his writers a great deal."

Storyboards and production


Hitchcock's films were strongly believed to have been extensively storyboarded to the finest detail by the majority of commentators over the years. He was reported to have never even bothered looking through the viewfinder
Viewfinder
In photography, a viewfinder is what the photographer looks through to compose, and in many cases to focus, the picture. Most viewfinders are separate, and suffer parallax, while the single-lens reflex camera lets the viewfinder use the main optical system. Viewfinders are used in many cameras of...

, since he did not 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, this view of Hitchcock as a director who relied more on pre-production than on the actual production itself has been challenged by the book Hitchcock At Work, written by Bill Krohn, the American correspondent of Cahiers du cinéma
Cahiers du cinéma
Cahiers du Cinéma is an influential French film magazine founded in 1951 by André Bazin, Jacques Doniol-Valcroze and Joseph-Marie Lo Duca. It developed from the earlier magazine Revue du Cinéma involving members of two Paris film clubs — Objectif 49 and...

. Krohn, after investigating several script revisions, notes to other production personnel written by or to Hitchcock alongside inspection of storyboards, and other production material, has observed that Hitchcock's work often deviated from how the screenplay was written or how the film was originally envisioned. He noted that the myth of storyboards in relation to Hitchcock, often regurgitated by generations of commentators on his movies was to a great degree perpetuated by Hitchcock himself or the publicity arm of the studios. A great example would be the celebrated crop spraying sequence of North by Northwest which was not storyboarded at all. After the scene was filmed, the publicity department asked Hitchcock to make storyboards to promote the film and Hitchcock in turn hired an artist to match the scenes in detail.

Even when storyboards were made, scenes that were shot differed from it significantly. Krohn's extensive analysis of the production of Hitchcock classics like Notorious reveals that Hitchcock was flexible enough to change a film's conception during its production. Another example Krohn notes is the American remake of The Man Who Knew Too Much, whose shooting schedule commenced without a finished script and moreover went over schedule, something that, as Krohn notes, was not an uncommon occurrence on many of Hitchcock's films, including Strangers on a Train
Strangers on a Train (film)
Strangers on a Train is an American psychological thriller film produced and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and based on the 1950 novel of the same name by Patricia Highsmith. It was shot in the autumn of 1950 and released by Warner Bros. on June 30, 1951. The film stars Farley Granger, Ruth Roman,...

and Topaz
Topaz (1969 film)
Topaz is a 1969 suspense film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It is a Cold War and spy story, adapted from the book of the same name by Leon Uris and closely based on the 1962 Sapphire Affair involving French SDECE spy Philippe Thyraud de Vosjoli who "ha[d] played a considerable part in helping...

. While Hitchcock did do a great deal of preparation for all his movies, he was fully cognizant that the actual film-making process often deviated from the best laid plans and was flexible to adapt to the changes and needs of production as his films were not free from the normal hassles faced and common routines utilised during many other film productions.

Krohn's work also sheds light on Hitchcock's practice of generally shooting in chronological order, which he notes sent many films over budget and over schedule and, more importantly, differed from the standard operating procedure of Hollywood in the Studio System Era. Equally important is Hitchcock's tendency to shoot alternate takes of scenes. This differed from coverage in that the films were not necessarily shot from varying angles so as to give the editor options to shape the film how he/she chooses (often under the producer's aegis). Rather they represented Hitchcock's tendency of giving himself options in the editing room, where he would provide advice to his editors after viewing a rough cut of the work. According to Krohn, this and a great deal of other information revealed through his research of Hitchcock's personal papers, script revisions and the like refute the notion of Hitchcock as a director who was always in control of his films, whose vision of his films did not change during production, which Krohn notes has remained the central long-standing myth of Alfred Hitchcock.

His fastidiousness and attention to detail also found its way into each film poster for his films. Hitchcock preferred to work with the best talent of his day—film poster designers such as Bill Gold
Bill Gold
Bill Gold is an American graphic designer best known for thousands of movie poster designs.His first film poster was for Yankee Doodle Dandy , and his most recent work was for J...

 and Saul Bass
Saul Bass
Saul Bass was a Jewish-American graphic designer and filmmaker, best known for his design of motion picture title sequences....

—and kept them busy with countless rounds of revision until he felt that the single image of the poster accurately represented his entire film.

Approach to actors


Similarly, much of Hitchcock's supposed dislike of actors has been exaggerated. Hitchcock simply did not tolerate the method
Method acting
Method acting is a phrase that loosely refers to a family of techniques used by actors to create in themselves the thoughts and emotions of their characters, so as to develop lifelike performances...

 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'. During the making of Lifeboat, Walter Slezak
Walter Slezak
Walter Slezak was a portly Austrian character actor who appeared in numerous Hollywood films. Slezak often portrayed villains or thugs, most notably the German U-boat captain in Alfred Hitchcock's film Lifeboat , but occasionally he got to play lighter roles, as in The Wonderful World of the...

, 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 success.

For Hitchcock, the actors, like the props, were part of the film's setting, as he said to Truffaut:

In my opinion, the chief requisite for an actor is the ability to do nothing well, which is by no means as easy as it sounds. He should be willing to be utilised and wholly integrated into the picture by the director and the camera. He must allow the camera to determine the proper emphasis and the most effective dramatic highlights.


Regarding Hitchcock's sometimes less than pleasant relationship with actors, there was a persistent rumour that he had said that actors were cattle. Hitchcock addressed this story in his interview with Francois Truffaut:

I'm not quite sure in what context I might have made such a statement. It may have been made...when we used actors who were simultaneously performing in stage plays. When they had a matinee, and I suspected they were allowing themselves plenty of time for a very leisurely lunch. And this meant that we had to shoot our scenes at breakneck speed so that the actors could get out on time. I couldn't help feeling that if they'd been really conscientious, they'd have swallowed their sandwich in the cab, on the way to the theatre, and get there in time to put on their make-up and go on stage. I had no use for that kind of actor.


Carole Lombard
Carole Lombard
Carole Lombard was an American actress. She was particularly noted for her comedic roles in the screwball comedies of the 1930s...

, 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
Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941 film)
Mr. & Mrs. Smith is a 1941 screwball comedy film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, written by Norman Krasna, and starring Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery...

.

In the late 1950s, French New Wave
French New Wave
The New Wave was a blanket term coined by critics for a group of French filmmakers of the late 1950s and 1960s, influenced by Italian Neorealism and classical Hollywood cinema. Although never a formally organized movement, the New Wave filmmakers were linked by their self-conscious rejection of...

 critics, especially Éric Rohmer
Éric Rohmer
Éric Rohmer was a French film director, film critic, journalist, novelist, screenwriter and teacher. A figure in the post-war New Wave cinema, he was a former editor of Cahiers du cinéma....

, Claude Chabrol
Claude Chabrol
Claude Chabrol was a French film director, a member of the French New Wave group of filmmakers who first came to prominence at the end of the 1950s...

 and François Truffaut
François Truffaut
François Roland Truffaut was an influential film critic and filmmaker and one of the founders of the French New Wave. In a film career lasting over a quarter of a century, he remains an icon of the French film industry. He was also a screenwriter, producer, and actor working on over twenty-five...

, were among the first to see and promote Hitchcock's films as artistic works. Hitchcock was one of the first directors to whom they applied their auteur theory
Auteur theory
In film criticism, auteur theory holds that a director's film reflects the director's personal creative vision, as if they were the primary "auteur"...

, which stresses the artistic authority of the director in the film-making process.

Hitchcock's innovations and vision have influenced a great number of filmmakers, producers
Film producer
A film producer oversees and delivers a film project to all relevant parties while preserving the integrity, voice and vision of the film. They will also often take on some financial risk by using their own money, especially during the pre-production period, before a film is fully financed.The...

, 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.

Fame


Hitchcock became famous for his expert and largely unrivaled control of pace and suspense, and his films draw heavily on both fear
Fear
Fear is a distressing negative sensation induced by a perceived threat. It is a basic survival mechanism occurring in response to a specific stimulus, such as pain or the threat of danger...

 and fantasy
Fantasy
Fantasy is a genre of fiction that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting. Many works within the genre take place in imaginary worlds where magic is common...

. The films are known for their droll humour and witticisms, and they often portray innocent people caught up in circumstances beyond their control or understanding.

Hitchcock began his directing career in the United Kingdom in 1922. From 1939 onward, he worked primarily in the United States. In September 1940, Hitchcock had purchased a 200 acre (0.809372 km²) mountaintop estate for the sum of $40,000. Known as the 1870 Cornwall Ranch or 'Heart o' the Mountain', the property was perched high above Scotts Valley, California, at the end of Canham Road. The Hitchcocks resided there from 1940 to 1972. The Hitchcocks became close friends with the parents of Joan Fontaine
Joan Fontaine
Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland , known professionally as Joan Fontaine, is a British American actress. She and her elder sister Olivia de Havilland are two of the last surviving leading ladies from Hollywood of the 1930s....

, after she starred in his film, Rebecca. Years later, after a break-in at his estate, Hitchcock replaced all of the accumulated paintings with studio-made copies. The family sold the estate in 1974, six years before Hitchcock's death.

Hitchcock and family also purchased a second home in late 1942 at 10957 Bellagio Road in Los Angeles, just across from the Bel Air Country Club.

Rebecca was the only Hitchcock film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture
Academy Award for Best Picture
The Academy Award for Best Picture is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to artists working in the motion picture industry. The Best Picture category is the only category in which every member of the Academy is eligible not only...

 (though the award did not go to Hitchcock but to producer David O. Selznick); four other films were nominated. In 1967, he was awarded the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award for lifetime achievement. In 1979, the American Film Institute presented him with their Lifetime Achievement Award. He never won an Academy Award for direction of a film.

Television, radio, and books


Along with Walt Disney
Walt Disney
Walter Elias "Walt" Disney was an American film producer, director, screenwriter, voice actor, animator, entrepreneur, entertainer, international icon, and philanthropist, well-known for his influence in the field of entertainment during the 20th century. Along with his brother Roy O...

, Hitchcock was among the first prominent motion picture producers to fully envisage just how popular the medium of television would become. From 1955 to 1965, Hitchcock was the host and producer of a television series titled Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Alfred Hitchcock Presents is an American television anthology series hosted by Alfred Hitchcock. The series featured dramas, thrillers, and mysteries. By the premiere of the show on October 2, 1955, Hitchcock had been directing films for over three decades...

. While his films had made Hitchcock's name strongly associated with suspense, the TV series made Hitchcock a celebrity himself. His irony
Irony
Irony is a rhetorical device, literary technique, or situation in which there is a sharp incongruity or discordance that goes beyond the simple and evident intention of words or actions...

-tinged voice and signature droll delivery, gallows humour, iconic image and mannerisms became instantly recognisable and were often the subject of parody.

The title-theme of the show pictured a minimalist caricature of Hitchcock's profile (he drew it himself; it is composed of only nine strokes), which his real silhouette then filled. His introductions before the stories in his program always included some sort of wry humour, such as the description of a recent multi-person execution hampered by having only one electric chair, while two are now shown with a sign "Two chairs—no waiting!" 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 original introductions in a colourised form.

Alfred Hitchcock Presents was parodied by Friz Freleng
Friz Freleng
Isadore "Friz" Freleng was an animator, cartoonist, director, and producer best known for his work on the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons from Warner Bros....

's 1961 cartoon
Cartoon
A cartoon is a form of two-dimensional illustrated visual art. While the specific definition has changed over time, modern usage refers to a typically non-realistic or semi-realistic drawing or painting intended for satire, caricature, or humor, or to the artistic style of such works...

 The Last Hungry Cat
The Last Hungry Cat
The Last Hungry Cat is a "Merrie Melodies" cartoon animated short starring Tweety and Sylvester. Released December 2, 1961, the cartoon is directed by Friz Freleng and Hawley Pratt...

, which contains a plot similar to Blackmail.

"Hitch" used a curious little tune by the French composer Charles Gounod
Charles Gounod
Charles-François Gounod was a French composer, known for his Ave Maria as well as his operas Faust and Roméo et Juliette.-Biography:...

 (1818–1893), the composer of the 1859 opera Faust
Faust (opera)
Faust is a drame lyrique in five acts by Charles Gounod to a French libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré from Carré's play Faust et Marguerite, in turn loosely based on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust, Part 1...

, as the theme "song" for his television programs, after it was suggested to him by composer Bernard Herrmann. Arthur Fiedler
Arthur Fiedler
Arthur Fiedler was a long-time conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra, a symphony orchestra that specializes in popular and light classical music. With a combination of musicianship and showmanship, he made the Boston Pops one of the best-known orchestras in the country...

 and the Boston Pops Orchestra
Boston Pops Orchestra
The Boston Pops Orchestra is an American orchestra based in Boston, Massachusetts, that specializes in playing light classical and popular music....

 included the piece, Funeral March of a Marionette, in one of their extended play 45 rpm discs for RCA Victor during the 1950s.

Hitchcock appears as a character in the popular juvenile detective book series, Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators
Three Investigators
The Three Investigators is an American juvenile detective book series first published as "Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators" but also expanded in Germany. It was created by Robert Arthur, Jr., who believed using a famous figure such as movie director Hitchcock would attract attention....

. The long-running detective series was created by Robert Arthur
Robert Arthur (writer)
Robert Jay Arthur, Jr. was a mystery writer known for The Mysterious Traveler radio series and his Three Investigators series of novels...

, who wrote the first several books, although other authors took over after he left the series. The Three Investigators—Jupiter Jones, Bob Andrews and Peter Crenshaw—were amateur detectives, slightly younger than the Hardy Boys. In the introduction to each book, "Alfred Hitchcock" introduces the mystery, and he sometimes refers a case to the boys to solve. At the end of each book, the boys report to Hitchcock, and sometimes give him a memento of their case.

When the real Hitchcock died, the fictional Hitchcock in the Three Investigators books was replaced by a retired detective named Hector Sebastian. At this time, the series title was changed from Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators to The Three Investigators.

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 Anthology
Alfred Hitchcock's Anthology
Alfred Hitchcock's Anthology was a seasonally printed collection of suspenseful and thrilling short stories from Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. Starting in 1976 and going as far as 1989, the anthology contains stories from authors such as: Patricia Highsmith, Robert Bloch, Bill Pronzini,...

, Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories to be Read with the Door Locked, Alfred Hitchcock's Monster Museum, Alfred Hitchcock'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's A Hangman's Dozen 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
Shirley Jackson
Shirley Jackson was an American author. A popular writer in her time, her work has received increasing attention from literary critics in recent years...

 (Strangers in Town, The Lottery
The Lottery
"The Lottery" is a short story by Shirley Jackson, first published in the June 26, 1948, issue of The New Yorker. Written the same month it was published, it is ranked today as "one of the most famous short stories in the history of American literature"....

), T.H. White (The Once and Future King
The Once and Future King
The Once and Future King is an Arthurian fantasy novel written by T. H. White. It was first published in 1958 and is mostly a composite of earlier works written in a period between 1938 and 1941....

), Robert Bloch
Robert Bloch
Robert Albert Bloch was a prolific American writer, primarily of crime, horror and science fiction. He is best known as the writer of Psycho, the basis for the film of the same name by Alfred Hitchcock...

, H. G. Wells
H. G. Wells
Herbert George Wells was an English author, now best known for his work in the science fiction genre. He was also a prolific writer in many other genres, including contemporary novels, history, politics and social commentary, even writing text books and rules for war games...

 (The War of the Worlds), Robert Louis Stevenson
Robert Louis Stevenson
Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson was a Scottish novelist, poet, essayist and travel writer. His best-known books include Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde....

, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Arthur Conan Doyle
Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle DL was a Scottish physician and writer, most noted for his stories about the detective Sherlock Holmes, generally considered a milestone in the field of crime fiction, and for the adventures of Professor Challenger...

, Mark Twain
Mark Twain
Samuel Langhorne Clemens , better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist...

 and the creator of The Three Investigators, Robert Arthur
Robert Arthur (writer)
Robert Jay Arthur, Jr. was a mystery writer known for The Mysterious Traveler radio series and his Three Investigators series of novels...

.

Hitchcock also wrote a mystery story for Look
Look (American magazine)
Look was a bi-weekly, general-interest magazine published in Des Moines, Iowa from 1937 to 1971, with more of an emphasis on photographs than articles...

magazine in 1943, "The Murder of Monty Woolley
Monty Woolley
Monty Woolley was an American stage, film, radio, and television actor. At the age of 50, he achieved a measure of stardom for his best-known role in the stage play and 1942 film The Man Who Came to Dinner...

". This was a sequence of captioned photographs inviting the reader to inspect the pictures for clues to the murderer's identity; Hitchcock cast the performers as themselves; such as Woolley, Doris Merrick and make up man Guy Pearce, whom Hitchcock identified, in the last photo, as the murderer. The article was reprinted in Games Magazine in November/December 1980.

In September 2010, BBC Radio 7 broadcast a series of five fifteen-minute programs entitled The Late Alfred Hitchcock Presents with Michael Roberts impersonating Alfred Hitchcock for introductory/concluding comments and reading the stories in his own voice. These five stories were originally intended for the television series, but were rejected because of their rather gruesome nature:
  • "The Waxwork" by A. M. Burrage
    A. M. Burrage
    Alfred McLelland Burrage was a British writer.He was noted in his time as an author of fiction for boys which he published under the pseudonym Frank Lelland, including a popular series called "Tufty"....

     (broadcast 13 September 2010)
  • "Sredni Vashtar" by Saki
    Saki
    Hector Hugh Munro , better known by the pen name Saki, and also frequently as H. H. Munro, was a British writer whose witty, mischievous and sometimes macabre stories satirised Edwardian society and culture. He is considered a master of the short story and often compared to O. Henry and Dorothy...

     (broadcast 14 September 2010)
  • "The Perfectionist" by Margaret St. Clair
    Margaret St. Clair
    Margaret St. Clair was an American science fiction writer, who also wrote under the pseudonyms Idris Seabright and Wilton Hazzard....

     (broadcast 15 September 2010)
  • "Being a Murderer Myself" by Arthur Williams
    Arthur Williams
    Arthur or Art Williams may refer to:*Arthur Williams , actor*Arthur Williams , Anglican colonial bishop*Arthur Williams , American boxer*Arthur Williams...

     (broadcast 16 September 2010)
  • "The Dancing Partner" by Jerome K. Jerome
    Jerome K. Jerome
    Jerome Klapka Jerome was an English writer and humorist, best known for the humorous travelogue Three Men in a Boat.Jerome was born in Caldmore, Walsall, England, and was brought up in poverty in London...

     (broadcast 17 September 2010)

Frequently cast actors and actresses

  • 7 films: Clare Greet
    Clare Greet
    Clare Greet was an English film actress. She appeared in 26 films between 1921 and 1939, including six films directed by Alfred Hitchcock.She was born in England and died in London....

    : Number 13 (1922), The Ring
    The Ring (1927 film)
    The Ring is a British silent, black-and-white film directed and written by Alfred Hitchcock.-Production background:The story focused on a love triangle between two men and a woman, and is the only film in his career for which Hitchcock took or was given a full writing credit...

    (1927), The Manxman (1929), Murder! (1930), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), Sabotage
    Sabotage (film)
    Sabotage, also released as The Woman Alone, is a 1936 British thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It is based on Joseph Conrad's novel The Secret Agent...

    (1936), Jamaica Inn (1939)
  • 6 films: Leo G. Carroll
    Leo G. Carroll
    Leo Gratten Carroll was an English-born actor. He was best known for his roles in several Hitchcock films and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Topper.-Early life:...

    : Rebecca (1940), Suspicion (1941), Spellbound (1945), The Paradine Case (1947), Strangers on a Train (1951), and North By Northwest (1959)
  • 4 films: Cary Grant
    Cary Grant
    Archibald Alexander Leach , better known by his stage name Cary Grant, was an English actor who later took U.S. citizenship...

    : Suspicion (1941), Notorious (1946), To Catch a Thief (1955), and North By Northwest (1959)
  • 4 films: James Stewart
    James Stewart
    James Stewart was a Hollywood movie actor and USAF brigadier general.James Stewart may also refer to:-Noblemen:*James Stewart, 5th High Steward of Scotland*James Stewart, the Black Knight of Lorn James Stewart (1908–1997) was a Hollywood movie actor and USAF brigadier general.James Stewart...

    : Rope (1948), Rear Window (1954), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), and Vertigo (1958)
  • 4 films: Edmund Gwenn
    Edmund Gwenn
    Edmund Gwenn was an English theatre and film actor.-Background:Born Edmund John Kellaway in Wandsworth, London , and educated at St. Olave's School and later at King's College London, Gwenn began his acting career in the theatre in 1895...

    : The Skin Game (1931), Waltzes from Vienna (1934), Foreign Correspondent (1940), and The Trouble with Harry (1955)
  • 4 films: Phyllis Konstam
    Phyllis Konstam
    Phyllis Konstam was an English film actress. She appeared in 11 films between 1928 and 1964, including four films directed by Alfred Hitchcock.She was born in London and died in Somerset from a heart attack....

    : Champagne (1928), Blackmail (1929), Murder! (1930), and The Skin Game (1931)
  • 3 films: Ingrid Bergman
    Ingrid Bergman
    Ingrid Bergman was a Swedish actress who starred in a variety of European and American films. She won three Academy Awards, two Emmy Awards, and the Tony Award for Best Actress. She is ranked as the fourth greatest female star of American cinema of all time by the American Film Institute...

    : Spellbound (1945), Notorious (1946), and Under Capricorn (1949)
  • 3 films: Grace Kelly
    Grace Kelly
    Grace Patricia Kelly was an American actress who, in April 1956, married Rainier III, Prince of Monaco, to become Princess consort of Monaco, styled as Her Serene Highness The Princess of Monaco, and commonly referred to as Princess Grace.After embarking on an acting career in 1950, at the age of...

    : Dial M for Murder (1954), Rear Window (1954), and To Catch a Thief (1955)
  • 3 films: Basil Radford
    Basil Radford
    Basil Radford was an English character actor who featured in many British films of the 1930s and 1940s. He trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and made his first stage appearance in July 1924...

    : Young and Innocent (1937), The Lady Vanishes (1938), Jamaica Inn (1939)
  • 3 films: John Williams
    John Williams (actor)
    John Williams was an English stage, film and television actor. He is remembered for his role as chief inspector Hubbard in Alfred Hitchcock's Dial M For Murder, and as portraying the second "Mr...

    : The Paradine Case (1947), Dial M for Murder, (1954), and To Catch a Thief (1955)
  • 3 films: Patricia Hitchcock
    Patricia Hitchcock
    Patricia "Pat" Hitchcock O'Connell is a British-born American actress and producer.-Early life and career:Born in London as the only child of film director Alfred Hitchcock and film editor Alma Reville, the family moved to Los Angeles, California, in 1939, as her father would quickly make his mark...

    : Stage Fright (1950), Strangers on a Train (1951), Psycho (1960)

Frequent collaborators


Actors and actresses
  • Sara Allgood
    Sara Allgood
    -Biography:Allgood was born in Dublin, Ireland. Her sister was actress Maire O'Neill.Allgood began her acting career at the Abbey Theatre and was in the opening of the Irish National Theatre Society, appearing in many of their plays all over Britain...

  • Murray Alper
    Murray Alper
    Murray Alper was an American actor.Alper's earliest screen credit was 1930's The Royal Family of Broadway, and for the following thirty-five years, he appeared in a number of films, usually playing cab drivers, bookies, cops and GIs.Frequently seen in comedies, Alper was featured in the Three...

  • Ingrid Bergman
    Ingrid Bergman
    Ingrid Bergman was a Swedish actress who starred in a variety of European and American films. She won three Academy Awards, two Emmy Awards, and the Tony Award for Best Actress. She is ranked as the fourth greatest female star of American cinema of all time by the American Film Institute...

  • Paul Bryar
  • Donald Calthrop
    Donald Calthrop
    Donald Calthrop was an English stage and film actor. He starred as the title character in the hit musical The Boy in 1917. He then appeared in 63 films between 1916 and 1940, including five films directed by Alfred Hitchcock.He was born in London and died in Eton from a heart attack.He was the...

  • Leonard Carey
    Leonard Carey
    Leonard Carey was a British-born character actor who very often played butlers in Hollywood movies of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. He was also active in television during the 1950s. He is perhaps best known for his role as "Dusty" in the 1941 film, Moon Over Her Shoulder...

  • Leo G. Carroll
    Leo G. Carroll
    Leo Gratten Carroll was an English-born actor. He was best known for his roles in several Hitchcock films and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Topper.-Early life:...

  • Edward Chapman
    Edward Chapman (actor)
    Edward Chapman was an English actor who starred in many films and television programmes, but is chiefly remembered as "Mr. Wilfred Grimsdale", the officious superior and comic foil to Norman Wisdom's character of Pitkin in many of his films from the late 1950s and 1960s.Chapman was born in...

  • Joseph Cotten
    Joseph Cotten
    Joseph Cheshire Cotten was an American actor of stage and film. Cotten achieved prominence on Broadway, starring in the original productions of The Philadelphia Story and Sabrina Fair...

     (Actor – Hitchcock Movies & TV Series)
  • Hume Cronyn
    Hume Cronyn
    Hume Blake Cronyn, OC was a Canadian actor of stage and screen, who enjoyed a long career, often appearing professionally alongside his second wife, Jessica Tandy.-Early life:...

     (also as writer)
  • Violet Farebrother
    Violet Farebrother
    Violet Farebrother was an English film actress. She appeared in 25 films between 1911 and 1965, including three films directed by Alfred Hitchcock...

  • Bess Flowers
    Bess Flowers
    Bess Flowers was an American actress. By some counts considered the most prolific actress in the history of Hollywood, she was known as "The Queen of the Hollywood Extras," appearing in over 700 movies in her 41 year career....

  • Cary Grant
    Cary Grant
    Archibald Alexander Leach , better known by his stage name Cary Grant, was an English actor who later took U.S. citizenship...

  • Clare Greet
    Clare Greet
    Clare Greet was an English film actress. She appeared in 26 films between 1921 and 1939, including six films directed by Alfred Hitchcock.She was born in England and died in London....

  • Edmund Gwenn
    Edmund Gwenn
    Edmund Gwenn was an English theatre and film actor.-Background:Born Edmund John Kellaway in Wandsworth, London , and educated at St. Olave's School and later at King's College London, Gwenn began his acting career in the theatre in 1895...

  • Gordon Harker
    Gordon Harker
    Gordon Harker was an English film actor. He appeared in 68 films between 1921 and 1959, including three films directed by Alfred Hitchcock and a cameo appearance in Elstree Calling , a revue film co-directed by Hitchcock...

  • Tom Helmore
    Tom Helmore
    Tom Helmore was an English film actor. He appeared in over 50 films between 1927 and 1972, including three directed by Alfred Hitchcock.He was born in London and died in Longboat Key, Florida.-Selected filmography:...

  • Patricia Hitchcock
    Patricia Hitchcock
    Patricia "Pat" Hitchcock O'Connell is a British-born American actress and producer.-Early life and career:Born in London as the only child of film director Alfred Hitchcock and film editor Alma Reville, the family moved to Los Angeles, California, in 1939, as her father would quickly make his mark...

     (daughter)
  • Ian Hunter
    Ian Hunter (actor)
    Ian Hunter was a British character actor.Among dozens of film roles, his best-remembered appearances include That Certain Woman with Bette Davis, The Adventures of Robin Hood , The Little Princess and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde...

  • Isabel Jeans
    Isabel Jeans
    Isabel Jeans was an English stage and film actress known for her roles in several Alfred Hitchcock films, among others.-Career:...

  • Hannah Jones
  • Malcolm Keen
    Malcolm Keen
    Malcolm Keen was an English film and television actor.Born in Bristol, Keen was an early collaborator with the director Alfred Hitchcock, starring in his silent films The Mountain Eagle, The Lodger and The Manxman.Keen was the father of actor Geoffrey Keen, and the two both played Iachimo in...

  • Grace Kelly
    Grace Kelly
    Grace Patricia Kelly was an American actress who, in April 1956, married Rainier III, Prince of Monaco, to become Princess consort of Monaco, styled as Her Serene Highness The Princess of Monaco, and commonly referred to as Princess Grace.After embarking on an acting career in 1950, at the age of...

  • Phyllis Konstam
    Phyllis Konstam
    Phyllis Konstam was an English film actress. She appeared in 11 films between 1928 and 1964, including four films directed by Alfred Hitchcock.She was born in London and died in Somerset from a heart attack....

  • John Longden
    John Longden
    John Longden was a West Indian-born English film actor. He appeared in 84 films between 1926 and 1964, including five films directed by Alfred Hitchcock.-Biography:...

  • Percy Marmont
    Percy Marmont
    Percy Marmont was an English film actor. He appeared in over 80 films between 1916 and 1968. He is best remembered today for playing the title character in Lord Jim the first film version of Joseph Conrad's novel, and for playing one of Clara Bow's love interests in the Paramount Pictures film...

  • Vera Miles
    Vera Miles
    Vera Miles is an American film actress who gained popularity for starring in films such as The Searchers, The Wrong Man, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Psycho and Psycho II.-Early life:...

     (Actress – Hitchcock Movies & TV Series)
  • Basil Radford
    Basil Radford
    Basil Radford was an English character actor who featured in many British films of the 1930s and 1940s. He trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and made his first stage appearance in July 1924...

  • Jeffrey Sayre
  • James Stewart
    James Stewart
    James Stewart was a Hollywood movie actor and USAF brigadier general.James Stewart may also refer to:-Noblemen:*James Stewart, 5th High Steward of Scotland*James Stewart, the Black Knight of Lorn James Stewart (1908–1997) was a Hollywood movie actor and USAF brigadier general.James Stewart...

  • John Williams
    John Williams (actor)
    John Williams was an English stage, film and television actor. He is remembered for his role as chief inspector Hubbard in Alfred Hitchcock's Dial M For Murder, and as portraying the second "Mr...

  • Tippi Hedren
    Tippi Hedren
    Nathalie Kay "Tippi" Hedren is an American actress and former fashion model with a career spanning six decades. She is primarily known for her roles in two Alfred Hitchcock films, The Birds and Marnie, and her extensive efforts in animal rescue at Shambala Preserve, an wildlife habitat which she...


Screenwriters
  • Charles Bennett
    Charles Bennett (screenwriter)
    Charles Bennett was an English playwright and screenwriter, probably best known for his work with Alfred Hitchcock....

  • James Bridie
    James Bridie
    James Bridie was the pseudonym of a Scottish playwright, screenwriter and surgeon whose real name was Osborne Henry Mavor....

  • Joan Harrison
  • John Michael Hayes
    John Michael Hayes
    John Michael Hayes was an American screenwriter, who scripted several of Alfred Hitchcock's films in the 1950s, and subject of the book "" by Steven DeRosa.-Early life:...

  • Ben Hecht
    Ben Hecht
    Ben Hecht was an American screenwriter, director, producer, playwright, and novelist. Called "the Shakespeare of Hollywood", he received screen credits, alone or in collaboration, for the stories or screenplays of some 70 films and as a prolific storyteller, authored 35 books and created some of...

  • Angus MacPhail
    Angus MacPhail
    Angus MacPhail was an English screenwriter, active from the late 1920s, who is best remembered for his work with Alfred Hitchcock....

  • Eliot Stannard
    Eliot Stannard
    Eliot Stannard , was an English screenwriter. He wrote for 147 films between 1914 and 1933, including eight films directed by Alfred Hitchcock.-Selected filmography:* Hindle Wakes * Build Thy House...



Film crew
  • Fred Ahern
    Fred Ahern
    Frederick Vincent Ahern Jr. is a retired American professional ice hockey player who played 146 games in the National Hockey League in 1974–78...

     – Production Manager
  • Michael Balcon
    Michael Balcon
    Sir Michael Elias Balcon was an English film producer, known for his work with Ealing Studios.-Background:...

     – Producer
  • Jack Barron – Makeup
  • Saul Bass
    Saul Bass
    Saul Bass was a Jewish-American graphic designer and filmmaker, best known for his design of motion picture title sequences....

     – Main titles design
  • Robert F. Boyle
    Robert F. Boyle
    Robert Francis Boyle was an American film art director and production designer.Born in Los Angeles, Boyle trained as an architect, graduating from the University of Southern California . When he lost his job in that field during the Great Depression, Boyle found work in films as an extra...

     – Art Director/Production Designer
  • Henry Bumstead – Art Director
  • Robert Burks
    Robert Burks
    Robert Burks, A.S.C. was an American cinematographer known for being proficient in virtually every genre and equally at home with black-and-white or color....

     – Cinematographer
  • Herbert Coleman – Assistant Director/Producer
  • Jack E. Cox
    Jack E. Cox
    Jack E. Cox, know variously as J. J. Cox, Jack Cox, John J. Cox and John Cox, was an English cinematographer born in London, on 26 July 1896...

     – Cinematographer
  • Graham Cutts
    Graham Cutts
    Graham Cutts was a British film director who was one of the leading British directors in the 1920s. His fellow director A. V. Bramble believed that Gainsborough Pictures had been built on the back of his work. His daughter was actress Patricia Cutts...

     – Director
  • Lowell J. Farrell – Assistant Director
  • Charles Frend
    Charles Frend
    Charles Frend was an English film director.Charles Frend started his career at British International Pictures in 1931 and after editing Hitchcock's Waltzes from Vienna moved to Gaumont British Pictures in 1933 where he worked as an editor on Alfred Hitchcock's movies Secret Agent , Sabotage and...

     – Film Editor
  • Bill Gold
    Bill Gold
    Bill Gold is an American graphic designer best known for thousands of movie poster designs.His first film poster was for Yankee Doodle Dandy , and his most recent work was for J...

     – Film poster designer
  • Hilton A. Green
    Hilton A. Green
    Hilton A. Green is an American producer and assistant director best known for assistant directing the original Psycho and many episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents...

     – Assistant Director
  • Bobby Greene – First Assistant Camera
  • Edith Head
    Edith Head
    Edith Head was an American costume designer who won eight Academy Awards, more than any other woman.-Early life and career:...

     – Costume Designer
  • Bernard Herrmann
    Bernard Herrmann
    Bernard Herrmann was an American composer noted for his work in motion pictures.An Academy Award-winner , Herrmann is particularly known for his collaborations with director Alfred Hitchcock, most famously Psycho, North by Northwest, The Man Who Knew Too Much, and Vertigo...

     – Music Composer
  • J. McMillan Johnson – Art Director/Production Designer
  • Barbara Keon – Production Assistant
  • Emile Kuri
    Emile Kuri
    Emile Kuri was a Mexican-born American set decorator of Lebanese parentage. He won two Academy Awards and was nominated for six more in the category Best Art Direction....

     – Set Decoration
  • Bryan Langley – Cinematographer/Assistant Camera
  • Louis Levy
    Louis Levy
    Louis Levy was an English film composer and music director, who worked in particular on Alfred Hitchcock and Will Hay films. He was born in London and died in Slough, Berkshire.-Career:...

     – Musical Director/Music Composer
  • Norman Lloyd
    Norman Lloyd
    Norman Lloyd is an American actor, producer, and director with a career in entertainment spanning more than seven decades. Lloyd, who currently resides in Los Angeles, has appeared in over sixty films and television shows....

     – Producer/Director
  • John Maxwell – Producer
  • Daniel McCauley
    Daniel McCauley
    Daniel McCauley was an American Union Army general and politician. He was the tenth mayor of the city of Indianapolis, Indiana .-References:...

     – Assistant Director
  • Frank Mills – Assistant Director
  • George Milo
    George Milo
    George Milo was an American set decorator. He was nominated for three Academy Awards in the category Best Art Direction.-Selected filmography:...

     – Set Decoration
  • Ivor Montagu
    Ivor Montagu
    The Honorable Ivor Goldsmid Samuel Montagu was a British filmmaker, screenwriter, producer, film critic, writer, table tennis player and apparent Soviet spy...

     – Editor/Producer
  • Hal Pereira
    Hal Pereira
    Hal Pereira was an American art director and production designer....

     – Art Director
  • Michael Powell
    Michael Powell (director)
    Michael Latham Powell was a renowned English film director, celebrated for his partnership with Emeric Pressburger...

     – Still Photographer/Assistant Camera
  • Alma Reville
    Alma Reville
    Alma Reville, Lady Hitchcock was an English assistant director, screenwriter and editor. She was the second daughter of Edward and Lucy Reville....

     (wife) – Assistant Director/Writer
  • Rita Riggs – Costume Designer
  • Peggy Robertson – Assistant
  • Emile de Ruelle – Film Editor
  • William Russell – Sound Recordist
  • David O. Selznick
    David O. Selznick
    David O. Selznick was an American film producer. He is best known for having produced Gone with the Wind and Rebecca , both of which earned him an Oscar for Best Picture.-Early years:...

     – Producer
  • Harry Stradling
    Harry Stradling
    Harry Stradling Sr., A.S.C. was an American cinematographer with over 130 films to his credit.His uncle Walter Stradling and son Harry Stradling Jr. were also cinematographers.-Early career:...

     – Cinematographer/Director of Photography
  • Lois Thurman – Script Supervisor
  • Dimitri Tiomkin
    Dimitri Tiomkin
    Dimitri Zinovievich Tiomkin was a Russian-born Hollywood film score composer and conductor. He is considered "one of the giants of Hollywood movie music." Musically trained in Russia, he is best known for his westerns, "where his expansive, muscular style had its greatest impact." Tiomkin...

     – Music Composer
  • George Tomasini
    George Tomasini
    George Tomasini was an American film editor, born in Springfield, Massachusetts who had a notable collaboration with director Alfred Hitchcock, editing nine of his movies in the decade 1954-1964...

     – Film Editor
  • Joseph A. Valentine
    Joseph A. Valentine
    Joseph A. Valentine was an Italian-American cinematographer. Trained in photography, he moved to working in films in the 1920s and from 1924 became a chief cinematographer...

     – Cinematographer
  • Gaetano di Ventimiglia – Cinematographer
  • Waldon O. Watson
    Waldon O. Watson
    Waldon O. Watson was an American sound engineer. He was nominated for six Academy Awards in the category Sound Recording...

     – Sound Recordist
  • Franz Waxman
    Franz Waxman
    Franz Waxman was a German-American composer, known for his bravura Carmen Fantasie for violin and orchestra, based on musical themes from the Bizet opera Carmen, and for his musical scores for films....

     – Music Composer
  • Albert Whitlock
    Albert Whitlock
    Albert J. Whitlock was a British-born motion picture matte artist best known for his work with Disney and Universal Studios.-Life and career:...

     – Matte Painter
  • William H. Ziegler – Film Editor


See also

  • Alfred Hitchcock filmography
    Alfred Hitchcock filmography
    The filmography of Alfred Hitchcock encompasses the earliest silent films on which he worked as a title designer through to his last directorial effort in 1976. Hitchcock started his illustrious career in his native Britain, and after achieving success there, he moved to Hollywood, where he made...

  • List of unproduced Hitchcock projects
  • List of film collaborations
  • List of Alfred Hitchcock cameo appearances

Further reading

  • Auiler, Dan: Hitchcock's notebooks: an authorised 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. On the early films of the director.
  • 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 Too Much.
  • Deutelbaum, Marshall; Poague, Leland (ed.): A Hitchcock Reader. Iowa State University Press, 1986. A wide-ranging collection of scholarly essays on Hitchcock.
  • Durgnat, Raymond: The strange case of Alfred Hitchcock Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 1974 OCLC 1233570
  • Durgnat, Raymond; James, Nick; Gross, Larry: Hitchcock British Film Institute, 1999 OCLC 42209162
  • Durgnat, Raymond: A long hard look at Psycho London: British Film Institute Pub., 2002 OCLC 48883020
  • Giblin, Gary: Alfred Hitchcock's London. Midnight Marquee Press, 2006, (Paperback: ISBN 978-1-887664-67-7)
  • Gottlieb, Sidney: 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 Hitchcock interviews.
  • Grams, Martin, Jr. & Wikstrom, Patrik: The Alfred Hitchcock Presents Companion. OTR Pub, 2001, (Paperback: ISBN 978-0-9703310-1-4)
  • Haeffner, Nicholas: Alfred Hitchcock. Longman, 2005. An undergraduate-level text.
  • Hitchcock, Patricia
    Patricia Hitchcock
    Patricia "Pat" Hitchcock O'Connell is a British-born American actress and producer.-Early life and career:Born in London as the only child of film director Alfred Hitchcock and film editor Alma Reville, the family moved to Los Angeles, California, in 1939, as her father would quickly make his mark...

    ; Bouzereau, Laurent: Alma Hitchcock: The Woman Behind the Man. Berkley, 2003.
  • 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.
  • Leff, Leonard J.: Hitchcock and Selznick. Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1987. An in-depth examination of the rich collaboration between Hitchcock and David O Selznick.
  • McDevitt, Jim; San Juan, Eric: A Year of Hitchcock: 52 Weeks with the Master of Suspense. Scarecrow Press, 2009, (ISBN 978-0-8108-6388-0). A comprehensive film-by-film examination of Hitchcock's artistic development from 1927 through 1976.
  • 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 ambivalent, rather than simply misogynist or sympathetic (as widely thought).
  • Mogg, Ken. The Alfred Hitchcock Story. Titan, 2008 (revised edition). Note: the original 1999 UK edition, from Titan, and the 2008 re-issue world-wide, also from Titan, have significantly more text than the 1999 abridged US edition from Taylor Publishing. New material on all the films.
  • Moral, Tony Lee: Hitchcock and the Making of Marnie. Scarecrow Press, 2005 (2nd edition). Well researched making of Hitchcock's "Marnie".
  • Paglia, Camille
    Camille Paglia
    Camille Anna Paglia , is an American author, teacher, and social critic. Paglia, a self-described dissident feminist, has been a Professor at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania since 1984...

    . The Birds. British Film Institute, January 2008 ISBN 978-0-85170-651-1
  • Rebello, Stephen: Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho
    Psycho (1960 film)
    Psycho is a 1960 American suspense/psychological horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins. The film is based on the screenplay by Joseph Stefano, who adapted it from the 1959 novel of the same name by Robert Bloch...

    . St. Martin's, 1990. Intimately researched and detailed history of the making of Psycho,.
  • Rohmer, Eric; Chabrol, Claude. Hitchcock, the first forty-four films (ISBN 978-0-8044-2743-2). F. Ungar, 1979. First book-long study of Hitchock art and probably still the best one.
  • Rothman, William. The Murderous Gaze. Harvard Press, 1980. Auteur study that looks at several Hitchcock films intimately.
  • 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, 2007.
  • Truffaut, François
    François Truffaut
    François Roland Truffaut was an influential film critic and filmmaker and one of the founders of the French New Wave. In a film career lasting over a quarter of a century, he remains an icon of the French film industry. He was also a screenwriter, producer, and actor working on over twenty-five...

    : Hitchcock. Simon and Schuster, 1985. A series of interviews of Hitchcock by the influential French director.
  • Vest, James: Hitchcock and France: The Forging of an Auteur. Praeger Publishers, 2003. A study of Hitchcock's interest in French culture and the manner by which French critics, such as Truffaut, came to regard him in such high esteem.
  • Weibel, Adrian: Spannung bei Hitchcock. Zur Funktionsweise der auktorialen Suspense. (ISBN 978-3-8260-3681-1) Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 2008
  • Wikstrom, Patrik & Grams, Martin, Jr.: The Alfred Hitchcock Presents Companion. OTR Pub, 2001, (Paperback: ISBN 978-0-9703310-1-4)
  • Wood, Robin: Hitchcock's Films Revisited. Columbia University Press, 2002 (2nd edition). A much-cited collection of critical essays, now supplemented and annotated in this second edition with additional insights and changes that time and personal experience have brought to the author (including his own coming-out as a gay man). Contains interviews with Alfred Hitchcock and a discussion of the making of The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) and Secret Agent (1936), which co-starred classic film actor Peter Lorre
    Peter Lorre
    Peter Lorre was an Austrian-American actor frequently typecast as a sinister foreigner.He caused an international sensation in 1931 with his portrayal of a serial killer who preys on little girls in the German film M...

    .

External links