Alfred Hitchcock (13 August 1899 – 29 April 1980) was a movie director/producer. He directed more than fifty feature films in a career that lasted 60 years and was known as the greatest British filmmaker. He was a big fan of movie since he was a teenager and began his film career at the age of 20. He began working as a title card designer for the London branch of the American firm ‘Famous Players-Lasky’. However, they pulled out of London in 1922 but Hitchcock remained as part of the studio staff. He was then hired by a new firm after being noticed at work on the film ‘Always Tell Your Wife’ in 1923. His transition from being a title designer to a movie director took five years. In those five years, he had the experience of a screenwriter, art director and an assistant director, which then led him onto becoming a director, which was his ultimate goal.
He is often referred to the ‘Master Of Suspense’ because he introduced many elements of suspense, and the thriller genre. He began including psychological suspense in his movies which is what made him so successful and popular. During this time, it was unusual to see movies like this to be created, which is why it caught a lot of attention. Hitchcock used many techniques to make his movies so unique:
- Hitchcock used humour within his movies. He included a fine balance between humour and tension to create the right amount of suspense he wanted to for his audience. According to Hitchcock, humour does not diminish the effectiveness of dramatic suspense. He said, “For me, suspense doesn’t have any value unless it’s balanced by humour,”.
- Good openings were important to Hitchcock. “It must always be remembered that the primary aim of pictures is to provide entertainment. To entertain people, one must first capture their interest.” is what he said, therefore he ensured he has intriguing title sequences and opening scenes.
- Hitchcock used sound to create different effects within the movie. For example, silence in a Hitchcock film would represent the realism of traumatic events, as well as their secrecy from the public world. He also used dialogue as a form of expression and ambient sound and songs as suspense devices.
‘Psycho’ is a 1960 American psychological horror and is one of Hitchcock’s most popular movies. At first, this movie was seen as a sequel to his previous movie, ‘North by Northwest’ which was filmed on a low budget. ‘Psycho’ initially received mixed responses but made $50 million which led to 4 Academy Award nominations, including ‘Best Director’ for Hitchcock. It is now ranked under the list of ‘the greatest films of all time’ and set a new level of acceptability of violence, deviant behaviour and sexuality in American movies.
Hitchcock’s top 10 movies:
1. Rebecca (1940)
2. Psycho (1960)
3. The Birds (1963)
4. Rear Window (1954)
5. Dial M for Murder (1954)
6. The Trouble with Harry (1955)
7. I Confess (1953)
8. Vertigo (1958)
9. North by Northwest (1959)
10. Rope (1948)