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Film Appreciation... Alfred Hitchcock


Although most people (including the director himself) consider Alfred Hitchcock to be an American director, that is inaccurate. Hitchcock was actually born in East London in 1899. At the age of 11 he was shipped off to a strict Jesuit school to receive a proper British education. On numerous occasions he credited this upbringing with instilling in him an understanding of how to terrify people.

At the tender age of 20 he showed up for a cattle call at Famous Players - Laskey's Islington studios (the company was later to become known as Paramount Pictures). A budding young artist, he showed up with a series of illustrations designed to be used as title credits - the executives were impressed and they hired him as their title designer. He later moved on to direct films for the studio.

Hitchcock's big break came in 1926 when he was selected to direct "The Lodger" a silent thriller in which he established one of his trademarks - he appeared in the film as an extra. In that same year he also married his script girl, Alma Reville - Hitchcock always did say that the script was the most important ingredient in any film.

In 1929 he released "Blackmail", his first talkie and a movie that firmly established him as a top notch director. In the 1930's he went on to produce a series of classic thrillers which included "The Man Who Knew too Much", "The 39 Steps", and "The Lady Vanishes".

Following "The Lady Vanishes" Hitchcock signed a lucrative deal with producer David Selznick to produce a series of films in Hollywood. His first picture was an adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's novel "Rebecca". The film stared Laruence Olivier and Joan Fontaine and was an unquestionable success - it was the only Hitchcock film ever to win an Academy Award for best picture. In the latter forties he produced several top notch thrillers including "Shadow of a Doubt" (a personal favorite of the director), "Spellbound" and "Notorious" and eventually, in 1951 the dazzling "Strangers on a Train".

By the 1950's Hitchcock had assembled a team of top notch performers both behind and in front of the camera. This marked a fifteen year period of unrivaled creativity for the director. During this time he produced "Rear Window", "To Catch A Thief", "The Man Who Knew Too Much", "The Wrong Man", "Vertigo", "North by Northwest", "Psycho", "The Birds", and "Marnie".

Hitchcock also ventured into the realm of television in the1960's. During this period he produced "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" which featured a series of mystery stories that were introduced by Hitchcock and featured his recognizable profile and sonorous tones.

Other Recommend Alfred Hitchcock Films...


1999 Debbie Twyman. All rights reserved. TERMS OF USE