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Alfred Hitchcock

1 Early life

Hitchcock redirects here. For other uses, see Hitchcock


Born on 13 August 1899 in Leytonstone (then part of

Essex, now part of London), England, Hitchcock was the
second son and the youngest of three children of William
Hitchcock (18621914), a greengrocer and poulterer,
and Emma Jane Hitchcock (ne Whelan; 18631942).
Named Alfred after his fathers brother, Hitchcock was
brought up as a Roman Catholic and was sent to Salesian
College[14] and the Jesuit Classic school St Ignatius College in Stamford Hill, London.[15][16] His parents were
both of half-English and half-Irish ancestry.[17][18] He ofOver a career spanning more than half a century, Hitch- ten described a lonely and sheltered childhood worsened
cock fashioned for himself a distinctive and recognis- by his obesity.[19]
able directorial style.[6] He pioneered the use of a camAround age ve, according to Hitchcock, he was sent by
era made to move in a way that mimics a persons gaze,
his father to the local police station with a note asking
forcing viewers to engage in a form of voyeurism. He
the ocer to lock him away for ve minutes as punishframed shots to maximise anxiety, fear, or empathy, and
ment for behaving badly.[20][21] This incident not only im[7]
used innovative lm editing. His stories often feature
planted a lifetime fear of policemen in Hitchcock, but
fugitives on the run from the law alongside icy blonde
such harsh treatment and wrongful accusations would be
female characters.
Many of Hitchcocks lms have
found frequently throughout his lms.[22]
twist endings and thrilling plots featuring depictions of violence, murder, and crime. Many of the mysteries, how- When Hitchcock was 15, his father died. In the same
ever, are used as decoys or "MacGuns" that serve the year, he left St. Ignatius to study at the London
lms themes and the psychological examinations of the County Council School of Engineering and Navigation in
characters. Hitchcocks lms also borrow many themes Poplar, London. After leaving, he became a draftsman
from psychoanalysis and feature strong sexual overtones. and advertising designer with a cable company called
Through his cameo appearances in his own lms, inter- Henleys. During the First World War, Hitchcock was
views, lm trailers, and the television program Alfred rejected for military service because of his obesity. Nevertheless, the young man signed up to a cadet regiment
Hitchcock Presents, he became a cultural icon.
of the Royal Engineers in 1917. His military stint was
Hitchcock directed more than fty feature lms in a calimited: he received theoretical briengs, weekend drills
reer spanning six decades. Often regarded as the greatand exercises. Hitchcock would march around Londons
est British lmmaker, he came rst in a 2007 poll of
Hyde Park and was required to wear puttees, the proper
lm critics in Britains Daily Telegraph, which said: Unwrapping of which he could never master.[25]
questionably the greatest lmmaker to emerge from these
islands, Hitchcock did more than any director to shape While working at Henleys, Hitchcock began to dabble
modern cinema, which would be utterly dierent without creatively. After the companys in-house publication, The
him. His air was for narrative, cruelly withholding cru- Henley Telegraph, was founded in 1919, he often submitcial information (from his characters and from viewers) ted short articles and eventually became one of its most
and engaging the emotions of the audience like no one prolic contributors. His rst piece was Gas (1919),
else.[10][11] The magazine MovieMaker has described published in the rst issue, in which a young woman imaghim as the most inuential lmmaker of all time,[12] and ines that she is being assaulted one night in Paris only
he is widely regarded as one of cinemas most signicant for the twist to reveal that it was all just a hallucination in
the dentists chair, induced by the anaesthetic.
Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, KBE (13 August 1899
29 April 1980)[2] was an English lm director
and producer.[3] Often nicknamed The Master of
Suspense,[4] he pioneered many techniques in the
suspense and psychological thriller genres. After a successful career in British cinema in both silent lms and
early talkies, renowned as Englands best director, Hitchcock moved to Hollywood in 1939[5] and became a US
citizen in 1955.

Hitchcocks second piece was The Womans Part

(1919), which involves the conicted emotions a husband feels as he watches his wife, an actress, perform
onstage.[26] Sordid (1920) surrounds an attempt to buy
a sword from an antiques dealer, with another twist end1


ing. The short story And There Was No Rainbow

(1920) was Hitchcocks rst brush with possibly censurable material. A young man goes out looking for a
brothel, only to stumble into the house of his best friends
girl. Whats Who?" (1920), while humorous, was also
a forerunner to the famous Abbott and Costello "Whos
on First?" routine. The History of Pea Eating (1920)
was a satirical disquisition on the various attempts people
have made over the centuries to eat peas successfully. His
nal piece, Fedora (1921), was his shortest and most
enigmatic contribution. It also gave a strikingly accurate
description of his future wife, Alma Reville (whom he
had not yet met).[27]
Hitchcock (right) during the making of Number 13 in London

Inter-war British career

Hitchcock became intrigued by photography and started

working in lm production in London, working as a title
card designer for the London branch of what would become Paramount Pictures.[28] In 1920, he received a
full-time position at Islington Studios with its American
owner, Famous Players-Lasky, and their British successor, Gainsborough Pictures,[29] designing the titles for
silent movies.[30] His rise from title designer to lm director took ve years. During this period, he became
an unusual combination of screenwriter, art director and
assistant director on a series of ve lms for producer
Michael Balcon and director Graham Cutts: Woman to
Woman (1923), The White Shadow (1924),[31] The Passionate Adventure (1924), The Blackguard (1925), and
The Prudes Fall (1925).[32]
Hitchcocks second to last collaboration with Cutts, The
Blackguard (German title Die Prinzessin und der Geiger,
1925), was produced at the Babelsberg Studios in Potsdam near Berlin, where Hitchcock observed part of
the making of F. W. Murnau's lm The Last Laugh
(1924).[33] He was very impressed with Murnaus work
and later used many techniques for the set design in
his own productions. In a book-length interview with
Franois Truaut, Hitchcock also said he was inuenced
by Fritz Lang's lm Destiny (1921).[32] He was likewise
inuenced by other foreign lmmakers whose work he
absorbed as one of the earliest members of the seminal
London Film Society, formed in 1925.[34]
Hitchcocks rst few lms faced a string of bad luck. His
rst directing project came in 1922 with the aptly titled
Number 13.[35] The production was cancelled because of
nancial problems;[35] lmed in London, the few scenes
that had been nished at that point have been lost. In
1925, Michael Balcon[36] gave Hitchcock another opportunity for a directing credit with The Pleasure Garden,
a co-production of Gainsborough and the German rm
Emelka, which he made at the Geiselgasteig studio near
Munich in the summer of 1925; the lm was a commercial op.[37] Next, Hitchcock directed a drama called The
Mountain Eagle (possibly released under the title Fear

o' God in the United States). This lm was eventually

In 1926, Hitchcocks luck changed with his rst thriller,
The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog, a suspense
lm about the hunt for a Jack the Ripper type of
serial killer in London.[39] Released in January 1927,
it was a major commercial and critical success in the
United Kingdom.[40] As with many of his earlier works,
this lm was inuenced by Expressionist techniques
Hitchcock had witnessed rst-hand in Germany.[41]
Some commentators regard this piece as the rst truly
Hitchcockian[42][43] lm, incorporating such themes as
the wrong man.[44]
Following the success of The Lodger, Hitchcock hired
a publicist to help strengthen his growing reputation.
On 2 December 1926, Hitchcock married his assistant director, Alma Reville, at the Brompton Oratory in
South Kensington, London.[39] Their only child, daughter
Patricia, was born on 7 July 1928. Alma was to become
Hitchcocks closest collaborator, but her contributions to
his lms (some of which were credited on screen) Hitchcock would discuss only in private, as she was keen to
avoid public attention.[45]
In 1929, Hitchcock began work on his tenth lm
Blackmail. While the lm was still in production, the studio, British International Pictures (BIP), decided to convert it to sound. As an early 'talkie', the lm is often cited
by lm historians as a landmark lm,[46] and is often considered to be the rst British sound feature lm.[47][48]
With the climax of the lm taking place on the dome of
the British Museum, 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.[49]
In the PBS series The Men Who Made The Movies,[50]
Hitchcock explained how he used early sound recording as a special element of the lm, stressing the word
knife in a conversation with the woman suspected of
murder.[51] During this period, Hitchcock directed seg-

ments for a BIP musical lm revue Elstree Calling (1930)
and directed a short lm featuring two Film Weekly scholarship winners, An Elastic Aair (1930). Another BIP
musical revue, Harmony Heaven (1929), reportedly had
minor input from Hitchcock, but his name does not appear in the credits.

director. Hitchcock said he was misquoted: I said 'Actors should be treated like cattle'.[61]
Lauded in Britain where he was dubbed Alfred the
Great by Picturegoer magazine, by the end of the 1930s
Hitchcocks reputation was beginning to soar overseas,
with a New York Times feature writer stating; Three
unique and valuable institutions the British have that we in
America have not. Magna Carta, the Tower Bridge and
Alfred Hitchcock, the greatest director of screen melodramas in the world.[62] Variety magazine referred to
him as, probably the best native director in England.[63]
David O. Selznick signed Hitchcock to a seven-year
contract beginning in March 1939, and the Hitchcocks
moved to Hollywood.[64]

In 1933, Hitchcock was once again working for Michael

Balcon[36] at Gaumont-British Picture Corporation.[52]
His rst lm for the company, The Man Who Knew Too
Much (1934), was a success and his second, The 39 Steps
(1935), is often considered one of the best lms from his
early period with the British Film Institute ranking it the
fourth best British lm of the 20th century.[53] Already
acclaimed in Britain, the success of the lm made Hitchcock a star in the US, and established the quintessential
English 'Hitchcock blonde' Madeleine Carroll as the template for his succession of ice cold and elegant leading 3 Hollywood
ladies.[54] This lm was also one of the rst to introduce
the "MacGun". In The 39 Steps, the MacGun is a
stolen set of design plans. Hitchcock told French direc- In Hollywood, the suspense and the gallows humour that
had become Hitchcocks trademark in lm continued to
tor Franois Truaut:
appear in his productions. The working arrangements
with Selznick were less than ideal. Selznick suered from
There are two men sitting in a train going
constant money problems, and Hitchcock was often disto Scotland and one man says to the other, Expleased with Selznicks creative control over his lms. In
cuse me, sir, but what is that strange parcel you
a later interview, Hitchcock summarised the working rehave on the luggage rack above you?", Oh,
lationship thus:
says the other, thats a Macgun., Well,
says the rst man, whats a Macgun?", The
other answers, Its an apparatus for trapping
lions in the Scottish Highlands., But, says
the rst man, there are no lions in the Scottish
Highlands., Well, says the other, then thats
no Macgun.[55]
Hitchcocks next major success was his 1938 lm The
Lady Vanishes, a fast-paced lm about the search for a
kindly old Englishwoman Miss Froy (Dame May Whitty),
who disappears while on board a train in the ctional
country of Bandrika.[56] The Guardian called the lm
one of the greatest train movies from the genres golden
era, and a contender for the title of best comedy thriller
ever made.[57] In 1939, Hitchcock received the New Alfred Hitchcock with Chandran Rutnam (centre) and Sri
York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director, the Lankan Film Maker Anton Wickremasinghe at the Academy
only time he received an award for his directing.[58][59] Awards in Los Angeles.
The lm frequently ranks among the best British lms of
all time.[60]
[Selznick] was the Big Producer. ... ProBy 1938, Hitchcock had become known for his alleged
was king, The most attering thing Mr.
observation, Actors are cattle. He once said that he rst
ever said about meand it shows you
made this remark as early as the late 1920s, in connecthe
of controlhe said I was the only
tion to stage actors who were snobbish about motion picdirector
trust with a lm.[65]
tures. However, Michael Redgrave said that Hitchcock
had made the statement during the lming of The Lady
Vanishes. The phrase would haunt Hitchcock for years to
come. During the lming of his 1941 production of Mr.
& Mrs. Smith, Carole Lombard brought some heifers onto
the set with name tags of Lombard, Robert Montgomery,
and Gene Raymond, the stars of the lm, to surprise the

Selznick lent Hitchcock to the larger studios more often

than producing Hitchcocks lms himself. Selznick, as
well as fellow independent producer Samuel Goldwyn,
made only a few lms each year, so he 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 with the nancial limits he had often faced
in England.[66]
With the prestigious Selznick picture Rebecca in 1940,
Hitchcock made his rst American movie, set in a Hollywood version of Englands West Country and based on
a novel by English author Daphne du Maurier. The lm
starred Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine. The story
concerns a nave (and unnamed) young woman who marries a widowed aristocrat. She goes to live in his huge
English country house, and struggles with the lingering
reputation of the elegant and worldly rst wife, whose
name was Rebecca, and who died under mysterious circumstances. The lm won the Academy Award for Best
Picture of 1940.[67] The statuette was given to Selznick,
as the lms producer.[67] Hitchcock was nominated for
the Best Director award, his rst of ve such nominations,
but did not win.
There were additional problems between Selznick and
Hitchcock, with Selznick known to impose restrictive
rules on Hitchcock. At the same time, Selznick complained about Hitchcocks goddamn jigsaw cutting,
which meant that the producer did not have nearly the
leeway to create his own lm as he liked, but had to
follow Hitchcocks vision of the nished product.[68] Rebecca was the fourth longest of Hitchcocks lms, at 130
minutes, exceeded only by The Paradine Case (132 minutes), North by Northwest (136 minutes), and Topaz (142
Hitchcocks second American lm, the European-set
thriller Foreign Correspondent (1940), based on Vincent
Sheean's Personal History and produced by Walter
Wanger, was nominated for Best Picture that year. Hitchcock and other British subjects felt uneasy living and
working in Hollywood while their country was at war;
his concern resulted in a lm that overtly supported
the British war eort.[70] The movie was lmed in the
rst year of the Second World War and was inspired
by the rapidly changing events in Europe, as ctionally
covered by an American newspaper reporter portrayed
by Joel McCrea. The lm mixed footage of European
scenes with scenes lmed on a Hollywood back lot. The
lm avoided direct references to Nazism, Germany, and
Germans to comply with Hollywoods Production Code


1940s lms

Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman in Notorious (1946)

Santa Cruz Mountains. The ranch became the primary

residence of the Hitchcocks for the rest of their lives, although they kept their Bel Air home. Suspicion (1941)
marked Hitchcocks rst lm as a producer as well as
director. The lm was set in England, and Hitchcock
used the north coast of Santa Cruz, California, for the
English coastline sequence.[28] This lm was to be actor Cary Grant's rst time working with Hitchcock, and
it was one of the few times that Grant would be cast
in a sinister role.[28] Joan Fontaine[72] won Best Actress
Oscar[28] for her outstanding performance in Suspicion".
Grant plays an irresponsible English con man whose actions raise suspicion and anxiety in his shy young English
wife (Fontaine).[73] In a notable scene, Hitchcock uses a
lightbulb 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 by Francis Iles), the Grant character is a killer, but Hitchcock and the studio felt Grants
image would be tarnished by that ending. Though a homicide would have suited him better, as he stated to Franois
Truaut, Hitchcock settled for an ambiguous nale.[74]
Saboteur (1942) was the rst of two lms that Hitchcock
made for Universal, a studio where he would continue
his career during his later years. Hitchcock was forced
to use Universal contract players Robert Cummings and
Priscilla Lane, both known for their work in comedies and
light dramas.[75] Breaking with Hollywood conventions of
the time, Hitchcock did extensive location lming, especially in New York City, and depicted a confrontation between a suspected saboteur (Cummings) and a real saboteur (Norman Lloyd) atop the Statue of Liberty. That
year he also directed Have You Heard?, a photographic
dramatisation of the dangers of rumours during wartime,
for Life magazine.[76]

Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Hitchcocks personal

favourite of all his lms and the second of the early
Universal lms,[77] was about young Charlotte Charlie
Newton (Teresa Wright), who suspects her beloved uncle
Charlie Oakley (Joseph Cotten) of being a serial murIn September 1940, the Hitchcocks bought the 200-acre derer. Hitchcock again lmed extensively on location,
(0.81 km2 ) Cornwall Ranch near Scotts Valley in the this time in the Northern California city of Santa Rosa,
Hitchcocks lms 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 lm noir Shadow of a Doubt (1943).


1940s lms

during the summer of 1942. The director showcased his

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, Hitchcock adapted a script
of John Steinbeck's that recorded the experiences of the
survivors of a German U-boat attack in the lm Lifeboat
(1944). The action sequences were shot in a small boat
in the studio water tank. The locale also posed problems
for Hitchcocks traditional cameo appearance. That was
solved by having Hitchcocks image appear in a newspaper that William Bendix is reading in the boat, showing the director in a before-and-after advertisement for
Reduco-Obesity Slayer.[78]

pears in the lm is ten minutes shorter than was originally envisioned, having been edited by Selznick to make
it play more eectively.[88] Two point-of-view shots
were achieved by building 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 blackand-white lm. Some of the original musical score by
Mikls Rzsa (which makes use of the theremin) was
later adapted by the composer into a concert piano concerto.

While at Fox, Hitchcock seriously considered directing

the lm version of A. J. Cronin's novel about a Catholic
priest in China,[79] The Keys of the Kingdom, but the plans
for this fell through. John M. Stahl ended up directing the
1944 lm, which was produced by Joseph L. Mankiewicz
and starred Gregory Peck, among other luminaries.[79]
Returning to England for an extended visit in late 1943
and early 1944, Hitchcock made two short lms for
the British Ministry of Information, Bon Voyage and
Aventure Malgache.[80] The two British propaganda lms
made for the Free French, were the only lms Hitchcock
made in the French language, and feature typical Hitchcockian touches.[81] In the 1990s, the two lms were
shown by Turner Classic Movies and released on home Grant and Bergman in Notorious (1946)
From late June to late July 1945, Hitchcock served as
treatment advisor on a Holocaust documentary which
used footage provided by the Allied Forces.[82] Produced
by Sidney Bernstein of the British Ministry of Information, the lm was assembled in London, and Bernstein
brought his future 194849 production partner Hitchcock
on board as a consultant for the lm editing process for
the British Ministry of Information and the American Ofce of War Information.[82][83] Commissioned to provide
irrefutable evidence of the Nazis crimes, the lm, which
in 1952 had been transferred from the British War Oce
lm vaults to Londons Imperial War Museum, recorded
the liberation of Nazi concentration camps, and remained
unreleased until 1985 when an edited version was broadcast as an episode of the PBS network series Frontline
under the title the Imperial War Museum had given it:
Memory of the Camps.[84][85] In 2014 the full-length version of the lm, German Concentration Camps Factual
Survey, was completed and restored by lm scholars at
the Imperial War Museum.[82]
Hitchcock worked for Selznick again when he directed
Spellbound (1945), which explored psychoanalysis[86] and
featured a dream sequence designed by Salvador Dal.
Gregory Peck plays amnesiac Dr. Anthony Edwardes
under the treatment of analyst Dr. Peterson (Ingrid
Bergman), who falls in love with him while trying to unlock his repressed past.[87] The dream sequence as it ap-

Notorious (1946) followed Spellbound. According to

Hitchcock, in his book-length interview with Franois
Truaut, 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 Selznicks Duel in the Sun (1946). Notorious starred Hitchcock regulars Ingrid Bergman and Cary
Grant, and features a plot about Nazis, uranium, and
South America. It was a huge box oce success and has
remained one of Hitchcocks most acclaimed lms. His
prescient use of uranium as a plot device led to Hitchcocks being briey under FBI surveillance. McGilligan writes that Hitchcock consulted Dr. Robert Millikan
of Caltech about the development of an atomic bomb.
Selznick complained that the notion was science ction,
only to be confronted by the news stories of the detonation of two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in
Japan in August 1945.[89]
After completing his nal lm for Selznick, The Paradine Case (1947), (a courtroom drama that critics found
lost momentum because it apparently ran too long and
exhausted its resource of ideas), Hitchcock formed an
independent production company with his friend Sidney
Bernstein called Transatlantic Pictures, through which he
made two lms, his rst in colour and making use of long
takes. With Rope (1948), Hitchcock experimented with
marshaling suspense in a conned environment, as he had


done earlier with Lifeboat (1943). Appearing to have

been shot in a single take, Rope was actually shot in 10
takes ranging from four and a half to 10 minutes each; a
10-minute length of lm being the maximum a cameras
lm magazine could hold at the time. Some transitions
between reels were hidden by having a dark object ll 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. Featuring James Stewart in the leading role, Rope was the rst of four lms Stewart would
make with Hitchcock. It was inspired by the Leopold
and Loeb case of the 1920s. Somehow Hitchcocks cameraman managed to move the bulky, heavy Technicolor
camera quickly around the set as it followed the continuous action of the long takes.
Under Capricorn (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 lms
for several years. Transatlantic Pictures became inactive
after these two unsuccessful lms. But Hitchcock continued to produce his own lms for the rest of his life.


1950s: Peak years

James Stewart and Grace Kelly in Rear Window (1954)

should each perform the others murder. Farley Granger's

role was as the innocent victim of the scheme, while
Robert Walker, previously known for boy-next-door
roles, played the villain.[93]
MCA head Lew Wasserman, whose client list included
James Stewart, Janet Leigh and other actors who would
appear in Hitchcocks lms, had a signicant impact in
packaging and marketing Hitchcocks lms beginning in
the 1950s.
After I Confess (1953) with Montgomery Clift, three popular lms starring Grace Kelly followed. Dial M for Murder (1954) was adapted from the stage play by Frederick
Knott. Ray Milland plays the scheming villain, an extennis pro who tries to murder his unfaithful wife (Kelly)
for her money. When she kills the hired assassin in selfdefense, Milland manipulates the evidence to make it
look like a premeditated murder by his wife. Her lover,
Mark Halliday (Robert Cummings), and Police Inspector
Hubbard (John Williams), work urgently to save her from
execution.[94] With Dial M, Hitchcock experimented with
3D cinematography. The public was growing weary of
the gimmick by the time of the lms release, however,
and it was shown in 3D only in a few rst-run engagements. The 3D version has been revived occasionally,
including a brief reissue in some major US cities in the
1980s. The lm marked a return to color productions for
Hitchcock then moved to Paramount Pictures and lmed
Rear Window (1954), starring James Stewart and Kelly
again, as well as Thelma Ritter and Raymond Burr. Stewarts character, a photographer based on Robert Capa,
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), whom screenwriter John
Michael Hayes based on his own wife, and his policeman buddy (Wendell Corey) to his theory, and eventually succeeds.[95] As with Lifeboat and Rope, the principal
characters were almost entirely conned to a small space,
in this case Stewarts tiny studio apartment overlooking
a massive courtyard. Hitchcock used close-ups of Stewarts face to show his characters reactions to all he sees,
from the comic voyeurism directed at his neighbours to
his helpless terror watching Kelly and Burr in the villains

Hitchcock lmed Stage Fright (1950) in the UK. For

the rst time, he matched one of Warner Bros.'[90] most
popular stars, Jane Wyman, with the sultry German actress Marlene Dietrich. Hitchcock used several prominent British actors, including Michael Wilding, Richard
Todd, and Alastair Sim. This was Hitchcocks rst production for Warner Bros., which had distributed Rope and
In 1955, Hitchcock became a United States citizen.[96]
Under Capricorn, because Transatlantic Pictures was exHis third Kelly lm, To Catch a Thief (1955), set in the
periencing nancial diculties.[91]
French Riviera, paired her with Cary Grant. He plays reWith the lm Strangers on a Train (1951), based on tired thief John Robie, who becomes the prime suspect
the novel by Patricia Highsmith, Hitchcock combined for a spate of robberies in the Riviera. A thrill-seeking
many elements from his preceding lms. He approached American heiress played by Kelly surmises his true idenDashiell Hammett to write the dialogue but Raymond tity and tries to seduce him. Despite the obvious age
Chandler took over, then left over disagreements with disparity between Grant and Kelly and a lightweight plot,
the director.[92] Two men casually meet, one of whom the witty script (loaded with double entendres) and the
speculates on a foolproof murder technique. He suggests good-natured acting proved a commercial success.[97] It
that two people, each wishing to do away with someone,


1960: Psycho

was Hitchcocks last lm with Kelly. She married Prince

Rainier of Monaco in 1956, and the residents of her new
land were against her making any more lms.
Hitchcock successfully remade his own 1934 lm The
Man Who Knew Too Much in 1956. This time, the lm
starred Stewart and Doris Day, 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 her. They play a couple whose son is kidnapped
to prevent them from interfering with an assassination.
As in the 1934 lm, the climax takes place at the Royal Cary Grant in North by Northwest (1959)
Albert Hall, London.[98]
By this time, Hitchcock had lmed in many areas of
the United States.[102] He followed Vertigo with three
more successful lms. Two are also recognised as among
his best movies: North by Northwest (1959) and Psycho
(1960). The third lm was The Birds (1963).

James Stewart and Kim Novak in Vertigo (1958)

The Wrong Man (1957), Hitchcocks nal lm for Warner

Bros., 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 lm of Hitchcock
to star Henry Fonda. 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) 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.[99]
Vertigo (1958) again starred Stewart, this time with Kim
Novak and Barbara Bel Geddes. Stewart plays Scottie,
a former police investigator suering from acrophobia,
who develops an obsession with a woman he is shadowing (Novak). Scotties obsession leads to tragedy, and this
time Hitchcock does not opt for a happy ending. The lm
contains a camera technique developed by Irmin Roberts
that has been copied many times by lmmakers, wherein
the image appears to stretch. This is achieved by moving the camera in the opposite direction of the cameras
zoom. It has become known by many nicknames, including Dolly zoom, Zolly, Hitchcock Zoom, and Vertigo Eect.
Although the lm is widely considered a classic today,
Vertigo met with negative reviews and poor box oce receipts upon its release, and was the last collaboration between Stewart and Hitchcock.[100] Although ranked second (behind Citizen Kane) for almost 50 years the lm was
voted top by critics in the 2012 Sight & Sound decade poll.
It was premiered in the San Sebastin International Film
Festival,[101] where Hitchcock won a Silver Seashell.

In North by Northwest, Cary Grant portrays Roger Thornhill, a Madison Avenue advertising executive who is mistaken for a government secret agent.[103] He is hotly pursued across the United States by enemy agents, apparently
one of them being Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint), in fact
working undercover.

3.3 1960: Psycho

Psycho is almost certainly Hitchcocks best-known
lm.[104] Produced on a constrained budget of $800,000,
it was shot in black-and-white on a spare set using
crew members from his television show Alfred Hitchcock
Presents.[105] The unprecedented violence of the shower
scene, the early death of the heroine, the innocent lives
extinguished by a disturbed murderer became the dening hallmarks of a new horror movie genre and have been
copied by many authors of subsequent lms.[106]
The public loved the lm, with lines stretching outside
of theatres as people had to wait for the next showing. It broke box-oce records in China and the rest of
Asia, France, Britain, South America, the United States
and Canada, and was a moderate success in Australia
for a brief period.[107] It was the most protable blackand-white sound lm ever made, and the most profitable of Hitchcocks career; Hitchcock personally earned
well in excess of $15 million. He subsequently swapped
his rights to Psycho and his TV anthology for 150,000
shares of MCA, making him the third largest shareholder
in MCA Inc. and his own boss at Universal, in theory at least, but that did not stop them from interfering with him.[107][108] 'Hitchcocks second most protable
was Family Plot, earning $7.5 million, and third place was
a tie between Torn Curtain (1966) and Frenzy (1972),
each earning $6.5 million.



After 1960

The Birds, inspired by a short story by English author

Daphne du Maurier and by a news story about a mysterious infestation of birds in Capitola, California, was
Hitchcocks 49th lm, and was lmed in Bodega Bay,
California.[109] Newcomer Tippi Hedren made her screen
debut in the lm, co-starring Rod Taylor and Suzanne
Pleshette. The scenes of the birds attacking included hundreds of shots mixing live and animated sequences. The
cause of the birds attack is left unanswered, perhaps
highlighting the mystery of forces unknown.[110] Hitchcock cast Hedren again opposite Sean Connery in his
next lm, Marnie, a romantic drama and psychological
thriller. Decades later, Hedren called Hitchcock a misogynist and said that Hitchcock eectively ended her career
by keeping her to an exclusive contract for two years when
she rebued his sexual advances.[111][112] However, Hedren appeared in two TV shows during the two years after Marnie, and in over eighty lms and TV shows after
that period.[113] In 2012, Hedren described Hitchcock as
a sad character"; a man of unusual genius, yet evil,
and deviant, almost to the point of dangerous, because of
the eect that he could have on people that were totally
unsuspecting.[114] In response, a Daily Telegraph article
quoted several actresses who had worked with Hitchcock,
including Eva Marie Saint, Doris Day and Kim Novak,
none of whom shared Hedrens opinion about him.[115]
Novak, who worked on Hitchcocks Vertigo, told the Telegraph I never saw him make a pass at anybody or act
strange to anybody.[116]

murders in the early 1950s, and the Jack the Ripper murders in 1888. The basic story recycles his early lm The
Lodger. Richard Blaney (Jon Finch), 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).[118] This
time, Hitchcock makes the victim and villain kindreds,
rather than opposites, as in Strangers on a Train. Only
one of them, however, has crossed the line to murder.[118]
For the rst time, Hitchcock allowed nudity and profane
language, which had previously been taboo, in one of his
lms. He also shows rare sympathy for the chief inspector
and his comic domestic life.[119]
Biographers have noted that Hitchcock had always
pushed the limits of lm censorship, often managing to
fool Joseph Breen, the longtime head of Hollywoods
Production Code. 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 Hitchcocks inescapable inferences.[120] Beginning
with Torn Curtain, Hitchcock was nally able to blatantly
include plot elements previously forbidden in American
lms and this continued for the remainder of his lm career.

Psycho and The Birds had unconventional soundtracks:

the screeching strings played in the murder scene in Psycho were unusually dissonant, and The Birds dispensed
with any conventional score, instead using a new technique of electronically produced sound eects. Bernard
Herrmann composed the former and was a consultant on
the latter.
Failing health reduced Hitchcocks output during the last
two decades of his career. Biographer Stephen Rebello
claimed Universal forced two movies on him, Torn
Curtain and Topaz.[108][117] Both were spy thrillers set
with Cold War-related themes. The rst, Torn Curtain
(1966), with Paul Newman and Julie Andrews, precipitated the bitter end of the twelve-year collaboration between Hitchcock and composer Bernard Herrmann. Herrmann was red when Hitchcock was unsatised with his
score. Topaz (1969), based on a Leon Uris novel, is partly
set in Cuba. Both received mixed reviews from critics.
In 1972, Hitchcock returned to England to lm his second
to last lm Frenzy. After two only moderately successful
espionage lms, the plot marks a return to the murder
thriller genre of earlier in his career, and is based upon
the novel Goodbye Piccadilly, Farewell Leicester Square.
The plot centres on a serial killer in contemporary London. In a very early scene there is dialogue that mentions two actual London serial murder cases: the Christie

Hitchcock at work on location in San Francisco for Family Plot

Family Plot (1976) was Hitchcocks last lm. It relates the

escapades of Madam Blanche Tyler, played by Barbara
Harris, a fraudulent spiritualist, and her taxi driver lover
Bruce Dern, making a living from her phony powers.
William Devane, Karen Black and Cathleen Nesbitt costarred. It is the only Hitchcock lm scored by John

Williams. Based on the Victor Canning novel The Rainbird Pattern, the novels tone is more sinister and dark
than what Hitchcock wanted for the lm. Screenwriter
Ernest Lehman originally wrote the lm with a dark tone
but was pushed to a lighter, more comical tone by Hitchcock. The lm went through various titles including Deceit and Missing Heir. It was changed to Family Plot at
the suggestion of the studio.

Hitchcock returned several times to cinematic devices

such as suspense, the audience as voyeur, and his wellknown "MacGun, a plot device that is essential to the
characters on the screen, but is irrelevant to the audience.
Thus, the MacGun was always hazily described (in
North By Northwest, Leo G. Carroll describes James
Mason as an importer-exporter.)


A central theme of Hitchcocks lms was murder and the

psychology behind it.[126][127]

Last project and death

Near the end of his life, Hitchcock had worked on the

script for a projected spy thriller, The Short Night, collaborating with screenwriters James Costigan, Ernest
Lehman and David Freeman. Despite some preliminary
work, the story was never lmed. This was caused primarily by Hitchcocks own failing health and his concerns over the health of his wife, Alma, who had suffered a stroke. The screenplay was eventually published
in Freemans 1999 book The Last Days of Alfred Hitchcock.[121][122]
Hitchcock died at age 80 in his Bel Air home of renal failure at 9:17 am EDT on 29 April 1980.[123] While biographer Spoto wrote that Hitchcock rejected suggestions
that he allow a priest ... to come for a visit, or celebrate a
quiet, informal ritual at the house for his comfort, Jesuit
priest Father Mark Henninger wrote that he and fellow
priest Tom Sullivan celebrated Mass at the lmmakers
home; Father Sullivan heard Hitchcocks confession.[124]
He was survived by his wife and their daughter. Hitchcocks funeral Mass was held at Good Shepherd Catholic
Church in Beverly Hills on 30 April 1980, after which his
body was cremated and his remains were scattered over
the Pacic Ocean on 10 May 1980.[125]

Signature appearances in his


Main article: List of Alfred Hitchcock cameo appearances

6 Psychology of characters
Hitchcocks lms sometimes feature characters struggling
in their relationships with their mothers. In North by
Northwest (1959), Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant's character) is an innocent man ridiculed by his mother for insisting that shadowy, murderous men are after him. In The
Birds (1963), the Rod Taylor character, an innocent man,
nds his world under attack by vicious birds, and struggles to free himself of a clinging mother (Jessica Tandy).
The killer in Frenzy (1972) has a loathing of women but
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). Sebastian (Claude Rains) in Notorious has a clearly conictual
relationship with his mother, who is (correctly) suspicious
of his new bride Alicia Huberman (Ingrid Bergman).
Norman Bates has troubles with his mother in Psycho.
Hitchcock heroines tend to be blondes.[8][9] The famous
victims in The Lodger are all blondes. In The 39 Steps,
Hitchcocks glamorous blonde star, Madeleine Carroll,
is put in handcus. In Marnie (1964), the title character (played by Tippi Hedren) is a thief. In To Catch a
Thief (1955), Francie (Grace Kelly) oers to help a man
she believes is a burglar. In Rear Window, Lisa (Grace
Kelly again) risks her life by breaking into Lars Thorwalds apartment. The best-known example is in Psycho
where Janet Leigh's unfortunate character steals $40,000
and is murdered by a reclusive psychopath. Hitchcocks
last blonde heroine wasyears after Dany Robin and her
daughter Claude Jade in TopazBarbara Harris as a
phony psychic turned amateur sleuth in his nal lm,
1976s Family Plot. In the same lm, the diamond smuggler played by Karen Black could also t that role, as she
wears a long blonde wig in various scenes and becomes
increasingly uncomfortable about her line of work.

Hitchcock appears briey in most of his own lms. For

example, he is seen struggling to get a double bass onto
a train (Strangers on a Train), walking dogs out of a pet
shop (The Birds), xing a neighbours clock (Rear Window), as a shadow (Family Plot), sitting at a table in a photograph (Dial M for Murder) and missing a bus (North by Some critics and Hitchcock scholars, including Donald
Spoto and Roger Ebert, agree that Vertigo represents the
directors most personal and revealing lm, dealing with
the obsessions of a man who crafts a woman into the
5 Themes, plot devices and motifs woman he desires. Vertigo explores more frankly and at
greater length his interest in the relation between sex and
Main article: Themes and plot devices in the lms of death than any other lm in his lmography.
Alfred Hitchcock

Hitchcock often said that his favourite lm (of his own



work) was Shadow of a Doubt.[20]


Style of working

Hitchcock once commented, The writer and I plan out

the entire script down to the smallest detail, and when
we're nished all thats left to do is to shoot the lm. Actually, its 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:
Once the screenplay is nished, I'd just as
soon not make the lm at all ... I have a strongly
visual mind. I visualise a picture right down to
the nal cuts. I write all this out in the greatest detail in the script, and then I don't look
at the script while I'm shooting. I know it o
by heart, just as an orchestra conductor needs
not look at the score ... When you nish the
script, the lm is perfect. But in shooting it
you lose perhaps 40 percent of your original
In Writing with Hitchcock, a book-length study of Hitchcocks 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 lms. However, over time the
work of many of his writers has been attributed solely
to Hitchcocks 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.[130]


Storyboards and production

Alfred Hitchcock by Jack Mitchell

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 cinma. 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 Hitchcocks work often deviated from how
the screenplay was written or how the lm 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 cropspraying sequence of North by Northwest which was not
storyboarded at all. After the scene was lmed, the publicity department asked Hitchcock to make storyboards
to promote the lm and Hitchcock in turn hired an artist
to match the scenes in detail.
Even when storyboards were made, scenes that were shot
diered from them signicantly. Krohns extensive analysis of the production of Hitchcock classics like Notorious reveals that Hitchcock was exible enough to change
a lms 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 nished script and moreover went over schedule, something that, as Krohn notes, was not an uncommon occurrence on many of Hitchcocks lms, including
Strangers on a Train and Topaz. While Hitchcock did do
a great deal of preparation for all his movies, he was fully
cognizant that the actual lm-making process often deviated from the best-laid plans and was exible to adapt to
the changes and needs of production as his lms were not
free from the normal hassles faced and common routines
utilized during many other lm productions.

Hitchcocks lms were strongly believed to have been extensively storyboarded to the nest detail by the majority of commentators over the years. He was reported to
have never even bothered looking through the viewnder,
since he did not need to, though in publicity photos he was
shown doing so. He also used this as an excuse to never
have to change his lms from his initial vision. If a studio
asked him to change a lm, he would claim that it was already shot in a single way, and that there were no alternate
takes to consider.
Krohns work also sheds light on Hitchcocks practice of

generally shooting in chronological order, which he notes
sent many lms over budget and over schedule and, more
importantly, diered from the standard operating procedure of Hollywood in the Studio System Era. Equally
important is Hitchcocks tendency to shoot alternate takes
of scenes. This diered from coverage in that the lms
were not necessarily shot from varying angles so as to give
the editor options to shape the lm how he/she chooses
(often under the producers aegis). Rather they represented Hitchcocks 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 Hitchcocks personal papers, script revisions and the like refute the notion
of Hitchcock as a director who was always in control of
his lms, whose vision of his lms 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 lm poster for his lms. Hitchcock preferred to work with the best talent of his daylm poster
designers such as Bill Gold and Saul Bassand kept them
busy with countless rounds of revision until he felt that
the single image of the poster accurately represented his
entire lm.


Approach to actors

The length of a lm should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder.
Alfred Hitchcock
Similarly, much of Hitchcocks supposed dislike of actors
has been exaggerated. Hitchcock simply did not tolerate
the method approach, as he believed that actors should
only concentrate on their performances and leave work
on script and character to the directors and screenwriters. In a Sight and Sound interview, he stated that, 'the
method actor is OK in the theatre because he has a free
space to move about. But when it comes to cutting the
face and what he sees and so forth, there must be some
discipline'.[131] He often used the same actors in many of
his lms.

For Hitchcock, the actors, like the props, were part of the
lms setting, as he said to Truaut:
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 eective dramatic highlights.[132]
Regarding Hitchcocks 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 Franois Truaut:
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.[133]
Carole Lombard, tweaking Hitchcock and drumming up
a little publicity, brought some cows along with her when
she reported to the set of Mr. and Mrs. Smith.[133]
In the late 1950s, French New Wave critics, especially
ric Rohmer, Claude Chabrol and Franois Truaut,
were among the rst to see and promote Hitchcocks lms
as artistic works. Hitchcock was one of the rst directors
to whom they applied their auteur theory, which stresses
the artistic authority of the director in the lm-making

Hitchcocks innovations and vision have inuenced a

great number of lmmakers, producers, and actors. His
inuence helped start a trend for lm directors to control
artistic aspects of their movies without answering to the
During the making of Lifeboat, Walter Slezak, who movies producer.
played the German villain, stated that Hitchcock knew
the mechanics of acting better than anyone he knew. Several critics have observed that despite his reputation as a 8 Awards and honours
man who disliked actors, several actors who worked with
him gave ne, often brilliant performances and these performances contribute to the lms success. As more fully Main article: List of awards and nominations received
discussed above, in Inter-War British Career, actress by Alfred Hitchcock
Dolly Haas, who was a personal friend of Hitchcock and
who acted for him in the 1953 lm I Confess, stated that Hitchcock was a multiple nominee and winner of a
Hitchcock regarded actors as animated props.
number of prestigious awards, receiving two Golden

Globes, eight Laurel Awards, and ve lifetime achievement awards including the rst BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award, as well as being ve times nominated for,
albeit never winning, an Academy Award as Best Director. His lm Rebecca (nominated for 11 Oscars) won the
Academy Award for Best Picture of 1940particularly
notable as another Hitchcock lm, Foreign Correspondent, was also nominated that same year.[134]


The title-sequence of the show pictured a minimalist caricature of Hitchcocks prole (he drew it himself; it is
composed of only nine strokes), which his real silhouette then lled. 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 chairsno waiting!". He directed 18 episodes of the TV series himself, which aired
from 1955 to 1965 in two versions. It became The Alfred
Hitchcock Hour in 1962.
The series used a curious little tune as its title-theme. Funeral March of a Marionette, by the French composer
Charles Gounod (18181893),[139][140] the composer of
the 1859 opera Faust, was suggested to him by composer
Bernard Herrmann.
Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Orchestra included
the piece on one of their extended play 45-rpm discs for
RCA Victor during the 1950s. Alfred Hitchcock Presents
was parodied by Friz Freleng's 1961 cartoon The Last
Hungry Cat, which contains a plot similar to Blackmail.

English Heritage Blue plaque in 153 Cromwell Road, London,

SW5 commemorating Hitchcock

In the 1980s, a new version of Alfred Hitchcock Presents

was produced for television, making use of Hitchcocks
original introductions in a colourised form.

Hitchcock appears as a character in the popular juvenile

detective book series, Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators. The long-running detective series was created
by Robert Arthur, who wrote the rst several books, although other authors took over after he left the series.
The Three InvestigatorsJupiter Jones, Bob Andrews
and Peter Crenshawwere 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
In June 2013, nine restored versions of Hitchcocks early give him a memento of their case.
silent lms, including his 1925 directorial debut, The
At the height of Hitchcocks success, he was also asked
Pleasure Garden, were shown at the Brooklyn Academy
to introduce a set of books with his name attached.
of Music's Harvey Theater. Known as The Hitchcock
The series was a collection of short stories by popular
9, the traveling tribute was made possible by a $3 milshort-story writers, primarily focused on suspense and
lion program organized by the British Film Institute.[34]
thrillers. These titles included Alfred Hitchcocks Anthology, Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories to be Read with the
Door Locked, Alfred Hitchcocks Monster Museum, Alfred
Hitchcocks Supernatural Tales of Terror and Suspense,
9 Television, radio, and books
Alfred Hitchcocks Spellbinders in Suspense, Alfred Hitchcocks Witchs Brew, Alfred Hitchcocks Ghostly Gallery,
Along with Walt Disney, Hitchcock was among the rst
Alfred Hitchcocks A Hangmans Dozen, Alfred Hitchprominent motion picture producers to fully envisage just
cocks Stories Not For the Nervous and Alfred Hitchcocks
how popular the medium of television would become.
Haunted Houseful. Hitchcock himself was not actually
From 1955 to 1965, Hitchcock was the host and producer
involved in the reading, reviewing, editing or selection
of a television series titled Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
of the short stories; in fact, even his introductions were
While his lms had made Hitchcocks name strongly asghost-written. The entire extent of his involvement with
sociated with suspense, the TV series made Hitchcock a
the project was to lend his name and collect a cheque.
celebrity himself. His irony-tinged voice and signature
droll delivery, gallows humour, iconic image and man- Some notable writers whose works were used in the colnerisms became instantly recognisable and were often the lection include Shirley Jackson (Strangers in Town, The
Lottery), T. H. White (The Once and Future King), Robert
subject of parody.
In addition to these, Hitchcock received a knighthood in
1980 when he was appointed a Knight Commander of
the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE) by
Queen Elizabeth II in the 1980 New Year Honours.[135]
Asked by a reporter why it had taken the Queen so
long, Hitchcock quipped, I suppose it was a matter of
carelessness.[136] An English Heritage blue plaque, unveiled in 1999, marks where Sir Alfred Hitchcock lived in
London at 153 Cromwell Road, Kensington and Chelsea,

Bloch, H. G. Wells (The War of the Worlds), Robert Louis
Leo G. Carroll: Rebecca (1940), Suspicion (1941),
Stevenson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Mark Twain and the
Spellbound (1945), The Paradine Case (1947),
creator of The Three Investigators, Robert Arthur. In
Strangers on a Train (1951), and North By Northa similar manner, Hitchcocks name was licensed for a
west (1959)
digest-sized monthly, Alfred Hitchcocks Mystery Magazine, which has been published since 1956.
5 lms
Hitchcock also wrote a mystery story for Look magazine
in 1943, The Murder of Monty Woolley". This was a
Hannah Jones: Downhill (1927), Champagne
sequence of captioned photographs inviting the reader
(1928), Blackmail (1929), Murder! (1930), and
to inspect the pictures for clues to the murderers idenRich and Strange (1932)
tity; Hitchcock cast the performers as themselves, such as
Woolley, Doris Merrick and make-up man Guy Pearce,
whom Hitchcock identied, in the last photo, as the mur- 4 lms
derer. The article was reprinted in Games Magazine in
November/December 1980.
Donald Calthrop: Blackmail (1929), Murder!
(1930), Juno and the Paycock (1930), and Number
In September 2010, BBC Radio 7 broadcast a series
Seventeen (1932)
of ve fteen-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.[141] These ve
stories were originally intended for the television series,
but were rejected because of their rather gruesome nature:
The Waxwork by A. M. Burrage (broadcast 13
September 2010)
Sredni Vashtar by Saki (broadcast 14 September
The Perfectionist by Margaret St. Clair (broadcast
15 September 2010)
Being a Murderer Myself by Arthur Williams
(broadcast 16 September 2010)
The Dancing Partner by Jerome K. Jerome
(broadcast 17 September 2010)



Main article: Alfred Hitchcock lmography


Frequently cast actors and actresses

7 lms
Clare Greet: Number 13 (1922), The Ring (1927),
The Manxman (1929), Murder! (1930), The Man
Who Knew Too Much (1934), Sabotage (1936), Jamaica Inn (1939)
6 lms

Cary Grant: Suspicion (1941), Notorious (1946),

To Catch a Thief (1955), and North By Northwest
Edmund Gwenn: The Skin Game (1931), Waltzes
from Vienna (1934), Foreign Correspondent (1940),
and The Trouble with Harry (1955)
Phyllis Konstam: Champagne (1928), Blackmail
(1929), Murder! (1930), and The Skin Game (1931)
John Longden: Blackmail (1929), Juno and the Paycock (1930), The Skin Game (1931), and Young and
Innocent (1937)
James Stewart: Rope (1948), Rear Window (1954),
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), and Vertigo
3 lms
Ingrid Bergman: Spellbound (1945), Notorious
(1946), Under Capricorn (1949)
Charles Halton: Foreign Correspondent (1940), Mr.
& Mrs. Smith (1941), Saboteur (1942)
Patricia Hitchcock: Stage Fright (1950), Strangers
on a Train (1951), Psycho (1960)
Ian Hunter: The Ring (1927), Downhill (1927), Easy
Virtue (1928)
Grace Kelly: Dial M for Murder (1954), Rear Window (1954), and To Catch a Thief (1955)
Basil Radford: Young and Innocent (1937), The
Lady Vanishes (1938), Jamaica Inn (1939)
John Williams: The Paradine Case (1947), Dial M
for Murder, (1954), To Catch a Thief (1955)




Frequent collaborators


Portrayals in lm and television

16 Notes
[1] Hamilton, Fiona. PM hails Christian inuence on national life. The Times (London). Retrieved 25 June 2013.

Anthony Hopkins, in the 2012 lm Hitchcock.

[2] Mogg, Ken. Alfred Hitchcock. Senses of Cinema. Retrieved 18 July 2010.

Toby Jones, in the 2012 HBO telelm The Girl.

[3] Obituary. Variety (Variety). 7 May 1980.

Roger Ashton-Griths, in the 2014 lm Grace of

Keith Staskiewicz wrote in Entertainment Weekly about
the 2012 lms, "... Hitchcock was depicted in his twin
biopics as either a charming but troubled genius or a monstrous sexual obsessive ...[142]



A total of 46 of Hitchcocks essays and interviews have

been republished,[143] including:
The enjoyment of fear (1949)
Why I Am Afraid of the Dark (1960)
On Music in Films (1934)
Directors Problems (1938)
My Most Exciting Picture (1948)
Hitchcock at Work (1976)

[4] Moerbeek, Kees (2006). Alfred Hitchcock: The Master of

Suspense. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4169-0467-0.
[5] Life, 19 June 1939, p. 66: Alfred Hitchcock: Englands
Best Director starts work in Hollywood. Retrieved 4 October 2012
[6] Lehman, David (AprilMay 2007). Alfred Hitchcocks
America. American Heritage. Retrieved 21 July 2010.
[7] Bays, Je (December 2007). Film Techniques of Alfred
Hitchcock. Borgus Productions. Retrieved
13 July 2010.
[8] Whitington, Paul (18 July 2009). NOTORIOUS! (Hitchcock and his icy blondes)". The Irish Independent. Retrieved 13 July 2010.
[9] Dowd, Maureen (1 December 2012). Spellbound by
Blondes, Hot and Icy. New York Times. Retrieved 13
November 2013.
[10] Avedon, Richard (14 April 2007). The top 21 British directors of all time. The Daily Telegraph (UK). Retrieved
8 July 2009. Unquestionably the greatest lmmaker to
emerge from these islands, Hitchcock did more than any
director to shape modern cinema, which would be utterly
dierent without him. His air was for narrative, cruelly
withholding crucial information (from his characters and
from the audience) and engaging the emotions of the audience like no one else.
[11] British Directors. RSS Film studies. Retrieved 11 June

In his 1938 essay Crime Does Not Pay, Hitchcock expounds the theory, citing William Powell and Lionel Bar- [12] Wood, Jennifer (6 July 2002). The 25 Most Inuential
Directors of All Time. MovieMaker.
rymore as examples, that actors playing heavies prosper
Archived from the original on 8 June 2011. Retrieved 26
and ourish only after they switch from being villains to
April 2011.
being heroes.


See also

Alfred Hitchcock lmography

Alfred Hitchcock Presents
List of Hitchcock cameo appearances
List of lm collaborations
List of unproduced Hitchcock projects

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[14] Alfred Hitchcock prole at. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
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17 References
Le, Leonard J: The Rich and Strange Collaboration
of Alfred Hitchcock and David O. Selznick in Hollywood. University of California Press, 1999
Leitch, Thomas: The Encyclopedia of Alfred Hitchcock (ISBN 978-0-8160-4387-3).
Books, 2002. A single-volume encyclopaedia of all
things about Alfred Hitchcock.
McGilligan, Patrick: Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in
Darkness and Light. Regan Books, 2003. A comprehensive biography of the director.

18 Further reading
Auiler, Dan: Hitchcocks notebooks: an authorised
and illustrated look inside the creative mind of Alfred
Hitchcock. New York, Avon Books, 1999. Much
useful background to the lms.
Barr, Charles: English Hitchcock. Cameron & Hollis, 1999. On the early lms of the director.
Clues: A Journal of Detection'31.1 (2013). Theme
issue on Hitchcock and adaptation.
Conrad, Peter: The Hitchcock Murders. Faber and
Faber, 2000. A highly personal and idiosyncratic
discussion of Hitchcocks 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 lms 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.

Duckett, Stephane: Hitchcock in Context. Moreton
Street Books, 2014. A reappraisal of inuential text
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
Durgnat, Raymond: A long hard look at Psycho
London: British Film Institute Pub., 2002 OCLC
Giblin, Gary: Alfred Hitchcocks London. Midnight
Marquee Press, 2006, (Paperback: ISBN 978-1887664-67-7)
Gottlieb, Sidney: Hitchcock on Hitchcock. Faber
and Faber, 1995. Articles, lectures, etc. by Hitchcock himself. Basic reading on the director and his
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)
Haener, Nicholas: Alfred Hitchcock. Longman,
2005. An undergraduate-level text.
Hitchcock, Patricia; Bouzereau, Laurent: Alma
Hitchcock: The Woman Behind the Man. Berkley,
Henry Keazor (ed.): Hitchcock und die Knste,
Schren, Marburg 2013, ISBN 978-3-89472-8281. Examines the way Hitchcock was inspired by
other arts such as literature, theatre, painting, architecture, music and cooking, used them in his lms,
and how they then inspired other art forms such as
dancing and media art.
Krohn, Bill: Hitchcock at Work. Phaidon, 2000.
Translated from the award-winning French edition.
The nitty-gritty of Hitchcocks lmmaking from
scripting to post-production.
Le, Leonard J.: Hitchcock and Selznick. Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1987. An in-depth examination of
the rich collaboration between Hitchcock and David
O Selznick.
Loker, Altan: Film and Suspense. Traord Publishing, 2006. (ISBN 978-1-4120-5840-7). Discusses
the psychological means by which Hitchcock created the sense of reality in his works and manipulated his audience.

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 lm-by-lm examination of Hitchcocks
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 lms; argues that Hitchcocks
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 worldwide, also from Titan, have signicantly more text
than the 1999 abridged US edition from Taylor Publishing. New material on all the lms.
Moral, Tony Lee. Hitchcock and the Making
of Marnie, Scarecrow Press, 2013 (Revised Edition), 340 p. (ISBN 978-0-8108-9107-4). Wellresearched book on the making of Hitchcocks
Paglia, Camille. The Birds. British Film Institute,
January 2008 ISBN 978-0-85170-651-1
Poague, Leland and Thomas Leitch: A Companion
to Alfred Hitchcock. Wiley-Blackwell, 2011. Collection of original essays by leading scholars examining all facets of Hitchcocks inuence
Rebello, Stephen: Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho. St. Martins, 1990. Intimately researched and detailed history of the making of Psycho,.
Rohmer, Eric; Chabrol, Claude. Hitchcock, the rst
forty-four lms (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 lms intimately.
San Juan, Eric; McDevitt, Jim: Hitchcocks Villains:
Murderers, Maniacs, and Mother Issues. Scarecrow
Press, 2013, (ISBN 978-0-8108-8775-6). An indepth analysis of the villains who were critically important to Hitchcocks lms and were often emblematic of Hitchcock himself.
Spoto, Donald: The Art of Alfred Hitchcock. Anchor
Books, 1992. The rst detailed critical survey of
Hitchcocks work by an American.
Spoto, Donald: The Dark Side of Genius. Ballantine
Books, 1983. A biography of Hitchcock, featuring a
controversial exploration of Hitchcocks psychology.

Sullivan, Jack: Hitchcocks Music. Yale University
Press, 2006. The rst book to fully explore the role
music played in the Hitchcocks lms. ISBN 0-30011050-2
Truaut, Franois (1984) [1967]. Hitchcock by
Truaut: A Denitive Study of Alfred Hitchcock.
Simon and Schuster/Touchstone Book. OCLC
10913283. A series of interviews of Hitchcock by
the inuential French director.
Vest, James: Hitchcock and France: The Forging of
an Auteur. Praeger Publishers, 2003. A study of
Hitchcocks interest in French culture and the manner by which French critics, such as Truaut, came
to regard him in such high esteem.
Weibel, Adrian: Spannung bei Hitchcock. Zur Funktionsweise der auktorialen Suspense. (ISBN 9783-8260-3681-1) Wrzburg: Knigshausen & Neumann, 2008
Wikstrom, Patrik & Grams, Martin, Jr.: The Alfred
Hitchcock Presents Companion. OTR Pub, 2001,
(Paperback: ISBN 978-0-9703310-1-4)
Wood, Robin:
Hitchcocks 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).
Youngkin, Stephen D. (2005). The Lost One: A Life
of Peter Lorre. University Press of Kentucky. ISBN
978-0-8131-2360-8. 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 lm actor
Peter Lorre.
iek, Slavoj: Everything You Always Wanted to
Know About Lacan ... But Were Afraid to Ask Hitchcock, London: Verso, 1993


External links

Alfred Hitchcock at the BFI

Alfred Hitchcock at the Internet Movie Database
Alfred Hitchcock at AllMovie
Alfred Hitchcock at the TCM Movie Database
Alfred Hitchcock at the British Film Institute's
Alfred Hitchcock papers at the Margaret Herrick Library





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