Nickname: Hitch, The Master of Suspense
Alfred Hitchcock was the son of East End greengrocer William Hitchcock and his wife Emma. Raised as a strict Catholic and attending Saint Ignatius College, a school run by Jesuits, Hitch had
very much of a regular upbringing. His first job outside of the family business was in 1915 as an estimator for the Henley Telegraph and Cable Company. His interest in movies began at around this time, frequently
visiting the cinema and reading US trade journals.
In 1920 Hitch learned that Lasky were to open a studio in London and managed to secure a job as a title designer. He designed the titles for all the movies made
at the studio for the next two years. In 1923 he got his first chance at directing when the director of Always Tell Your Wife (1923) fell ill and Hitch completed the movie. Impressed by his work, studio chiefs gave him
his first directing assignment on Number 13 (1922), however, before it could be finished, the studio closed its British operation. Hitch was then hired by Michael Balcon to work as an assistant director for the company
later to be known as Gainsborough Pictures. In reality Hitch did more than this - working as a writer, title designer and art director. After several films for the company, Hitch was given the chance to direct a
British/German co-production called Pleasure Garden, The (1925). Hitchcock's career as a director finally began. Hitchcock went on to become the most widely known and influential director in the history of world cinema
with a significant body of work produced over 50 years.
Alma Reville (2 December 1926 - 29 April 1980) (his death)
Has a cameo in most of his films.
Likes to insert shots of a woman's hairstyle, frequently close-ups. [hair]
Bathrooms are often a plot device; often a hiding place or a place where lovemaking is prepared for. Hitchcock also frequently uses the
letters ``BM'', which stand for ``Bowel Movement''. [bathroom]
Often used the "wrong man" or "mistaken identity" theme in his movies.
He preferred blondes: The most famous actresses
in his filmography were Anny Ondra, Madeleine Carroll, Joan Fontaine, Ingrid Bergman, Grace Kelly, Eva Marie Saint, Kim Novak, Vera Miles, Janet Leigh and Tippi Hedren.
According to many people who knew Hitchcock, he couldn't stand to even look at his wife, Alma, while she was
Once dressed up in drag for a party he threw. Footage of this was in his office, but his office was cleaned out after his death, and it is not known if the footage still exists.
Alfred himself, he was required to stand at the foot of his mothers bed, and tell her what happend to him each day. This explains Anthony Perkins in Psycho standing at the foot of his mothers bed.
Born only one day before his wife, Alma
Hitch's suggestion for his tombstone inscription was "This is what we do to bad little boys." (It finally read "I'm in on a plot.")
Was a close friend of Albert R. Broccoli, well known as the producer of the James Bond - 007 franchise. Hitchcock's North by Northwest (1959) was the influence for the helicopter scene in From Russia with Love (1963)
He appears on a 32 cent U.S. postage stamp, in the
legends of Hollywood series, that debuted 8/3/98 in Los Angeles, CA.
In his childhood days, Alfred Hitchcock was sent by his father with a letter to the local police station. The officer read the letter and,
without further ado, locked young Alfred up for ten minutes. Then he let him go, explaining that this is what happenes to people who do bad things. Hitchcock was frightened of the police from that day on.
April 29, 1974, the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York sponsored a gala homage to Alfred Hitchcock and his contributions to the cinema. Three hours of film excerpts were shown that night. François Truffaut who
had published a book of interviews with Hitchcock a few years earlier, was there that night to present "two brilliant sequences: the clash of the symbols in the second version of 'The Man Who Knew Too Much', and
the plane attack on Cary Grant in 'North by Northwest.'" After the gala, Truffaut reflected again on what made Hitchcock unique and concluded: "It was impossible not to see that the love scenes were filmed
like murder scenes, and the murder scenes like love scenes...It occurred to me that in Hitchcock's cinema...to make love and to die are one and the same."
Hitchcock never won a best director Oscar in
competition, although he was awarded the Irving Thalberg Memorial Award at the 1967 Oscars.
Alma and Hitch had one daughter, Patricia Hitchcock, who appeared in several of his movies: Stage Fright (1950),
Strangers on a Train (1951) and Psycho (1960)
Hitchcock made a cameo appearance in all of his movies from Lodger, The (1926) onwards
In the New Year's Honors list of 1980, he was named a Knight Commander of the British Empire
Between 1977 and his death, Hitch worked with a succession of writers on a film to be known as "The Short
Night". The majority of the writing being done by David Freeman (I) who published the final screenplay after Hitchcock's death.
(1979) American Film Institute Life Achievement Award
his appearances in the beginning of the films, because he knew viewers were watching for him and he didn't want to deviate their attention away from the story's plot.
Hitchcock's bridling under the heavy hand of
producer David O. Selznick was exemplified by the final scene of _Rebecca (1940)_. Selznick wanted his director to show smoke coming out of the burning house's chimney forming the letter 'R." Hitch thought the
touch lacked any subtlety; instead, he showed flames licking at a pillow embroidered with the letter 'R.'
Hitchcock first visited Hollywood in 1940, but was turned down by virtually all major motion picture
studios because they thought he could not make a "Hollywood" picture. He was finally offered a seven-year directing contract by producer David O. Selznick. His first project was supposed to be a film about the
Titanic, but Selznick scrapped the project because he "couldn't find a boat to sink." Selznick assigned Hitch to direct _Rebecca (1940)_ instead.
The famous Hitchcock profile sketch, most often
associated with "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (1955), was actually from a Christmas card Hitchcock designed himself while still living in England.
When finishing a cup of tea while on the set, he would
often non-discriminatingly toss the cup and saucer over his shoulder, letting it fall (or break) wherever it may.
Hitchcock was director William Girdler's idol. Girdler made Day of the Animals (1977) borrowing
elements from Hitchcock's Birds, The (1962).
Asked writers Thomas Boileau and Pierre Narcejac to write a novel for him after Henri-Georges Clouzot had been faster in buying the rights for 'Celle qui n'était
plus' which became Diaboliques, Les (1955). The novel they wrote, _From Among the Dead_, was shot as Vertigo (1958).
"There is a dreadful story that I hate actors. Imagine anyone hating Jimmy Stewart... or Jack Warner. I can't imagine how such a rumor began. Of course it may possibly be because I was once quoted as saying
that actors are cattle. My actor friends know I would never be capable of such a thoughtless, rude and unfeeling remark, that I would never call them cattle... What I probably said was that actors should be treated like
On his cameos: "One of the earliest of these was in The Lodger (1926), the story of Jack the Ripper. My appearance called for me to walk up the stairs of the rooming house. Since my walk-ons
in subsequent pictures would be equally strenuous - boarding buses, playing chess, etc. - I asked for a stunt man. Casting, with an unusual lack of perception, hired this fat man!"
"He was the easiest
of directors to work with." - Teresa Wright, whom Hitch worked with on Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
"Television has brought murder back into the home - where it belongs"
"The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder"
"There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it."
"To me Psycho was a big comedy. Had to be."
"Even my failures make money and become classics a year after I make them."
"Always make the audience suffer as much as possible"
"I didn't say actors are cattle. What I said was, actors should be treated like cattle."
"When an actor comes to me and wants to discuss his character, I say, 'It's in the script.' If he
says, 'But what's my motivation?, ' I say, 'Your salary.'"
"Drama is life with the dull bits left out."
"Actors are cattle."
[His entire acceptance speech for the Irving Thalberg Memorial Award] Thank you.
[When accepting the American Film Institute Life Achievement award] I beg permission to mention by name only four people who have
given me the most affection, appreciation, and encouragement, and constant collaboration. The first of the four is a film editor, the second is a scriptwriter, the third is the mother of my daughter Pat, and the fourth
is as fine a cook as ever performed miracles in a domestic kitchen. And their names are Alma Reville.
"[Hitchcock] said, 'I don't want you going back to sink-to-sink movies. You do movies where you wash the
dishes looking drab in an apron. The audience wants to see their leading ladies dressed up.' He saw me as others didn't." - Eva Marie Saint
"Contrary to what a lot of people say, he did have respect for actors. He would always say to me, made him more famous "I'm sure you can get it, old girl.'" - Janet Leigh
(About Dario Argento and his film Deep Red) "This young Italian guy is starting to worry me."
Biography from Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia:
Director, producer. (b. Aug. 13, 1899, Leytonstone,
England; d. Apr. 28, 1980.) Perhaps only one other filmmaker-Walt Disney-lived to see his name become synonymous with a certain type of screen entertainment: In Hitchcock's case, it was stylish, sophisticated suspense,
laced with humor and romance. Moreover, his bald pate, pearshaped body, and lugubrious drawl made him as recognizable as any star he ever directed. Educated by Jesuits, the young Hitchcock developed a flair for things
mechanical, and first went to work for a telegraph company. He later took up art, applying his talents to print advertisements. Hitchcock broke into the British film industry in 1920 as a title-card illustrator, working
his way up to art director, assistant director, editor, writer, and finally director. His first hit was the thrillerThe Lodger (1926), by which time many of his now-familiar cinematic trademarks were already apparent,
including his ritual cameo appearance. He mastered the new medium of talking pictures with seeming effortlessness in Blackmail (1929) and proved that the presence of sound was no reason not to continue to tell stories
with visual panache. (Speaking of things visual, 1930's all-star talkie revue Elstree Calling gave Hitchcock his only opportunity to direct a pie-throwing scene-with Anna May Wong, of all people.) He reached the top of
his game with such outstanding films asThe Man Who Knew Too Much (1934),The 39 Steps (1935),Sabotage (1936), andThe Lady Vanishes (1938), all of which placed ordinary people- with whom audiences could readily
identify-in life-or-death situations, often being chased by the authorities as well as the villains.
Hitchcock succumbed to the lure of Hollywood in 1939; his first film there, the romantic thrillerRebecca
(1940), won the Best Picture Oscar and cemented his standing. He continued to masterly manipulate audiences' emotions in such classics asForeign Correspondent (1940),Suspicion (1941),Shadow of a Doubt (1943, reportedly
his personal favorite among his films),Lifeboat (1944),Spellbound (1945), andNotorious (1946). During this period, as he immersed himself in the slickness of Hollywood filmmaking, he continued to draw from a seemingly
inexhaustible cinematic bag of tricks, using his mechanical and electrical knowledge to create memorable little effects and images (such as the illuminated glass of milk carried upstairs by Cary Grant inSuspicion His
first color movie,Rope (1948), was an experiment-not altogether successful-in shooting an entire film in one seemingly continuous shot.
In the 1950s Hitchcock set himself new challenges and created a gallery of
unique and memorable films, including the psychological cat-and-mouse thriller Strangers on a Train (1951), the 3-D opus Dial M for Murder (1954), the visually challenging Rear Window (1954), the elegant and witty To
Catch a Thief (1955), the incomparably droll black comedy The Trouble With Harry (1955), the remake of his own The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956, with its bravura climax in London's Albert Hall), and the low-key,
documentarystyle The Wrong Man (1957). In 1955 he agreed to host (and occasionally direct) a weekly TV anthology series, "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," a diversion that lasted a full ten years. His droll
commentary (written by James Allardice) and distinctive greeting ("Good eeeevening")s than ever. The TV years also saw him directing four of his greatest films in a row: the incredibly complex and adult
thriller Vertigo (1958), the witty and exciting North by Northwest (1959, with its audacious set-pieces in a desolate cornfield and atop Mount Rushmore), the starkly frightening, very black Psycho (1960, which he made
quickly and inexpensively with his TV crew), and that masterpiece of manipulation and control, The Birds (1963). Hitchcock brought out the best in his stars (including James Stewart, Cary Grant, and the ultimate
"Hitchcock blonde," Grace Kelly) and inspired composer Bernard Herrmann to do some of his finest work on his films.
Hitchcock's work past this point became uneven. Marnie (1964) was ahead of its time.
Torn Curtain (1966) had star power but little else. Topaz (1969) told an intriguing tale, but the lack of recognizable stars made audiences feel aloof. Frenzy (1972) saw the director back in form-in peak form, to be
precise, pulling some new visual tricks out of his bottomless bag, and playing violence against humor as only he could. (Hitchcock always hosted his own coming attractions trailers; for the British-made film, his first
in more than 30 years, he appeared on-screen floating in the Thames River!) Family Plot (1976) tipped the scales too far toward comedy, and was only a middling success. Hitchcock continued to develop properties for
future production, but failing health curtailed those plans. In 1979 he received the American Film Institute Life Achievement Award; he died the following year.
Astoundingly, the man considered by many the finest
director who ever lived never won an Oscar, though he did receive the Irving Thalberg Award in 1967, and a long-running mystery magazine bears his name. His influence on a younger generation of filmmakers is impossible
to overstate; virtually every thriller that comes along is described as "Hitchcockian," though few manage to live up to that description. As if that weren't enough, the director almost literally returned from
the grave in 1985, when NBC revived "Alfred Hitchcock Presents": the episodes were new, but Hitch (now colorized) was still introducing them!