Alfred Hitchcock

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Posted by kaori 03/05/2009 @ 01:08

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News headlines
Mockingbirds 'can remember faces of people to attack in scenes ... - Telegraph.co.uk
Mockingbirds can remember individual faces and target those they think pose a threat, in scenes that echo Alfred Hitchcock's horror movie The Birds. By Kate Devlin Scientists found that the grey and white birds, common in cities and other urban areas,...
Cannes 2009: Eva Herzigova transforms into a 'Hitchcock blonde' - Daily Mail
And in their place, a slender, ice-cool 'Hitchcock blonde' look, inspired by the glacial beauty of Grace Kelly, Kim Novak or Tippi Hedren - all favourites of legendary director Alfred Hitchcock in the 1950s and 60s. Eva was seen aboard designer Roberto...
British tourist stung 500 times as bees invade French art gallery - Telegraph.co.uk
In what witnesses described as a scene from an Alfred Hitchcock horror film, thousands of the potentially lethal bees descended on a dozen victims. The worst injured was an English woman in her 20s who sustained at least 500 stings all over her body....
'Strangers On A Train' - Austin 360
STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, based on the Patricia Highsmith novel, quickly became one of Alfred Hitchcock's most successful thrillers and remains one of his most popular films. En route from Washington, DC, champion tennis player Guy Haines (Farley Granger)...
Flies being released in Central Texas that put pesky ants in ... - Waco Tribune Herald
By Tim Woods Tribune-Herald staff writer The plot sounds like something from an Alfred Hitchcock movie: Red imported fire ants wandering around in a zombie-like state until their heads pop off, and out zooms a fly. Though the legendary filmmaker may...
Daily Agenda: May 18 - Decide Twincities
Former Tool tourmates Big Business open a can of four-armed sonic whoop-ass at the Triple Rock, while metal messengers Sourvein drop the heavy at Big V's. Debatably the best film Alfred Hitchcock ever created, Vertigo plays for one night only at the...
Seattle Rep adds Hitchcock's "39 Steps" to 2009-10 season, drops ... - Seattle Times
Seattle Repertory Theatre has added "The 39 Steps" to its 2009-10 season; the play, currently on stage on Broadway, is based on the Alfred Hitchcock classic thriller of the same name. "The 39 Steps" will replace the Noel Coward play "Hay Fever....
Charles Napier - A.V. Club
And we go straight to the lot in the back of the limo, straight to the office of Alfred Hitchcock. They said, “Don't say a damn word to him, don't even look at him. He's gonna be 10 feet away, and he's gonna spin around a chair in a dramatic way....
Scare tactics - WA today
Film director Alfred Hitchcock had a bizarre fear of eggs and country music star Lyle Lovett is apparently afraid of cows. A fear of buttons, being afraid of lint and a fear of staying single are among the less common phobias. Then there are others,...
Celebrating the master of suspense - Independent
Sky Movies Classics presents an unparalleled week of films from the Master of Suspense, with Alfred Hitchcock taking the director's chair for 7 days. Starting 25th May, Hitchcock Week delivers 15 films back-to-back with a new double bill every night...

Alfred Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock NYWTS.jpg

Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, KBE (13 August 1899 – 29 April 1980) was a British filmmaker and producer who pioneered many techniques in the suspense and psychological thriller genres. After a successful career in his native United Kingdom in both silent films and talkies, Hitchcock moved to Hollywood. In 1956 he became an American citizen while retaining his British citizenship.

Hitchcock directed more than fifty feature films in a career spanning six decades. He remains one of the best-known and most popular filmmakers of all time.

Hitchcock was born on 13 August 1899, in Leytonstone, London, the second son and youngest of three children of William Hitchcock (1862-1914), a greengrocer and poulterer, and Emma Jane Hitchcock (née Whelan; 1863-1942). His family was mostly Roman Catholic, being of Irish extraction. Hitchcock was sent to the Jesuit Classic school St. Ignatius College near Stamford Hill, London. He often described his childhood as being very lonely and sheltered, a situation compounded by his obesity.

On numerous occasions, Hitchcock said he was once 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 in his movie Psycho.

Hitchcock's father died when he was 14. In the same year, Hitchcock left the Jesuit-run St Ignatius College in Stamford Hill, his school at the time, to study at the London County Council School of Engineering and Navigation in Poplar, London. After graduating, he became a draftsman and advertising designer with a cable company.

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. In 1920, he received a full-time position at Islington Studios with its American owner, Famous Players-Lasky and their British successor, Gainsborough Pictures, designing the titles for silent movies. His rise from title designer to film director took five years, and by the end of the 1930s Hitchcock became one of the most famous filmmakers in England, with a long Hollywood career imminent.

Hitchcock was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in the 1980 New Year's Honours. Although he had adopted American citizenship in 1956, he was entitled to use the title "Sir" because he had remained a British subject. Hitchcock died just four months later, on 29 April, before he could be formally invested.

Hitchcock died from renal failure in his Bel-Air, Los Angeles, California home at the age of 80. His wife Alma Reville, and their daughter, Patricia Hitchcock O'Connell, both survived him.

Hitchcock's last collaboration with Graham 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 in Berlin. Hitchcock also worked as an art-director on the set 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, Hitchcock/Truffaut (Simon and Schuster, 1967), Hitchcock also said he was influenced by Fritz Lang's film Destiny (1921).

In 1925, Michael Balcon of Gainsborough Pictures gave Hitchcock an opportunity to receive his first directing credit with The Pleasure Garden made at UFA Studios in Germany. The film was a commercial failure. In 1926, Hitchcock made his debut in the thriller genre with the film, The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog. 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 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 at the Brompton Oratory. Their only child, daughter Patricia, was born on 7 July 1928. Alma was to become Hitchcock's closest collaborator. She wrote some of his screenplays and (though often uncredited) worked with him on every one of his films.

In 1929, Hitchcock began work on his tenth film Blackmail. While the film was still in production, the studio, British International Pictures (BIP), decided to make it one of the UK's first sound pictures. With the climax of the film taking place on the dome of the British Museum, Blackmail began the Hitchcock tradition of using famous landmarks as a backdrop for suspense sequences. In the PBS series The Men Who Made The Movies, Hitchcock had explained how he used early sound recording as a special element of the film, emphasizing the word "knife" in a conversation with the woman suspected of murder.During this period, Hitchcock directed segments for a BIP musical film revue Elstree Calling (1930) and directed a short film featuring two Film Weekly scholarship winners, An Elastic Affair (1930). Another BIP musical revue, Harmony Heaven (1929), reportedly had minor input from Hitchcock, but his name does not appear in the credits.

Hitchcock's next major success was in 1938 with his film The Lady Vanishes, a clever and fast-paced film about the search for a kindly old Englishwoman (Dame May Whitty), who disappears while on board a train in the fictional country of Vandrika (a thinly-veiled version of Nazi Germany).

At the end of the 1930s, David O. Selznick signed Hitchcock to a seven-year contract beginning in March 1939, when the Hitchcocks moved to the United States.

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, 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.

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. The film starred Sir Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine. "This Gothic melodrama explores the fears of a naive young bride who enters a great English country home and must grapple with the problems of a distant husband, a predatory housekeeper, and the legacy of her husband's late wife, the beautiful, mysterious Rebecca". The film won the Academy Award for Best Picture 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. Hitchcock was forced 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. The film was the third longest of Hitchcock's films, at 130 minutes, exceeded only by The Paradine Case at 132 minutes and North by Northwest (136 minutes).

Hitchcock's second American film, the European-set thriller Foreign Correspondent, based on Vincent Sheean's Personal History and produced by Walter Wanger, 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. 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.

Hitchcock's films during the 1940s were diverse. The movies ranged from the romantic comedy Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941) and the courtroom drama The Paradine Case (1947), to the dark and disturbing Shadow of a Doubt (1943).

In September 1940, the Hitchcocks purchased the 200-acre (0.81 km2) Cornwall Ranch, located near Scotts Valley in the Santa Cruz Mountains in northern California. 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 Hitchcock's first film as a producer as well as director. Hitchcock used the north coast of Santa Cruz, California for the English coastline sequence. This film was to be actor Cary Grant'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 by 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 upon which the movie is based (Before the Fact 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 (1942) was the first of two films 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. 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) atop the Statue of Liberty.

Shadow of a Doubt (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), who suspects her beloved uncle Charlie Oakley (Joseph Cotten) 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 and Slavoj Žižek. Hitchcock again filmed extensively on location, this time in the Northern California city of Santa Rosa, 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, Hitchcock adapted a script of John Steinbeck's that chronicled the experiences of the survivors of a German U-boat attack in the film Lifeboat (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 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, but the plans for this fell through. John M. Stahl ended up directing the 1944 film, which was produced by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and starred Gregory Peck, 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 and Aventure Malgache. The films were made for the Free French, were the only ones Hitchcock made in French, and "feature typical Hitchcockian touches." In the 1990s, the two films were shown by Turner Classic Movies and released on home video.

In 1945, Hitchcock served as "treatment advisor" (in effect, a film editor) for a Holocaust documentary produced by the British Army. The film, which recorded the liberation of Nazi Concentration Camps, 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, which explored the then-fashionable subject of psychoanalysis and featured a dream sequence designed by Salvador Dalí. Gregory Peck is 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. 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 (which makes use of the theremin) was later adapted by the composer into a concert piano concerto.

Notorious (1946) followed Spellbound. 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). From this point on, Hitchcock produced his own films.Notorious starred Hitchcock regulars Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant, and features a plot about Nazis, uranium, 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 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 in Japan in August 1945.

After completing his final film for Selznick, The Paradine Case (a courtroom drama that critics found lost momentum because it apparently ran too long and exhausted its resource of ideas), Hitchcock filmed his first color film, Rope, which appeared in 1948. Here Hitchcock experimented with marshalling suspense in a confined environment, as he had done earlier with Lifeboat (1943). He also experimented with exceptionally long takes — up to ten minutes long (see Themes and devices). Featuring 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 case of the 1920s. Somehow Hitchcock's 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 films for several years. For Rope and Under Capricorn, Hitchcock formed a production company with Sidney Bernstein, called Transatlantic Pictures, which became inactive after these two unsuccessful pictures. Hitchcock continued to produce his own films for the rest of his life.

In 1950, Hitchcock filmed Stage Fright on location in the UK. For the first time, Hitchcock matched one of Warner Brothers' biggest stars, Jane Wyman, with the sultry German actress Marlene Dietrich. Dietrich's daughter later wrote that Dietrich detested Wyman. Hitchcock used a number of prominent British actors, including Michael Wilding, Richard Todd, and Alastair Sim. This was Hitchcock's first production for Warner Brothers, which had distributed Rope and Under Capricorn, because Transatlantic Pictures was experiencing financial difficulties.

With the film Strangers on a Train (1951), based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith, Hitchcock combined many elements from his preceding films. Hitchcock approached Dashiell Hammett to write the dialogue but Raymond Chandler 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 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 head Lew Wasserman, whose client list included James Stewart, Janet Leigh 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 followed. Dial M for Murder (1954) was adapted from the popular stage play by Frederick Knott. Ray Milland plays the "suave and scheming" villain, an ex-tennis pro, who tries to murder his innocent wife Grace Kelly for her money. When the murder goes awry and the assassin is killed by her in self-defense, he manipulates the evidence to pin the murder of the assassin on his wife. Her lover Mark Halliday (Robert Cummings) and police inspector Hubbard (John Williams) work urgently to save her from execution. Hitchcock experimented with 3D 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.

The third Kelly film To Catch a Thief, set in the French Riviera, stars Kelly with Cary Grant again. Grant plays retired thief John Robie who woos both Kelly and her jewels, and then becomes the prime suspect for a spate of robberies in the Riviera. "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 because she married Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1956 and the residents of her new homeland refused to allow her to make any more films.

The remake of Hitchcock's own 1934 film, The Man Who Knew Too Much, in 1956 followed, this time starring Stewart and Doris Day, who sang the theme song, "Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)" (which won the Oscar for "Best Music", and became a big hit for Day). Stewart and Day, distraught over the kidnapping of their son, struggle with both their emotions and their urgent quest to find their child and stop an assassination, until the song helps re-unite the family.

The Wrong Man (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. 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.

Vertigo (1958) again starred Stewart, this time with Kim Novak and Barbara Bel Geddes. Stewart plays "Scottie", a former police investigator suffering from acrophobia, who develops an obsession with a woman he is shadowing (Kim 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 now placed highly in the Sight & Sound decade polls. It was premiered in the San Sebastián International Film Festival, where Hitchcock won a Silver Seashell.

By this time, Hitchcock had filmed in many areas of the United States. He followed Vertigo with three more successful films. All are also recognized as among his very best films: North by Northwest (1959), Psycho (1960) and The Birds (1963). After completing Psycho, Hitchcock moved to Universal, where he made the remainder of his films.

In North by Northwest, Cary Grant is Roger Thornhill, a Madison Avenue ad executive who is mistaken for a government agent. He is hotly pursued by enemy agents across the country who try to kill him, one of whom is foreign agent Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint). She seduces Thornhill, sets him up, but then falls in love with him and aids his escape.

Psycho is considered by some to be Hitchcock's most famous film. Produced on a highly constrained budget of $800,000, it is 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.

The Birds, inspired by a Daphne Du Maurier 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 as his latest blonde heroine opposite Rod Taylor. 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: 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). Also notable was that Santa Cruz was mentioned again as the place where the bird-phenomenon was said to have first occurred. These films are considered his last great films, after which it is said his career started to lose pace (although some critics such as Robin Wood and Donald Spoto contend that Marnie, 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 life. Hitchcock filmed two spy thrillers, Torn Curtain with Paul Newman and Julie Andrews and Topaz (based on a Leon Uris novel), which both received mixed reviews.

In 1972, Hitchcock returned to London to film Frenzy, his last major success. The plot recycles his early film The Lodger. Richard Blaney (Jon Finch), volatile barkeeper with a history of explosive anger, becomes the likely perpetrator of the "Necktie Murders", which are actually committed by his friend (Barry Foster), a fruit seller. 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, the longtime head of Hollywood's 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 realized 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 (1976) was Hitchcock's last film. It related 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 co-starred. It was the only Hitchcock film scored by John Williams.

When Hitchcock saw the Mel Brooks 1977 comedy-spoof of his work, High Anxiety, he enjoyed it, but Brooks initially feared that Hitchcock was not pleased because he walked out of the movie when it was over. Days later, Brooks' fear proved untrue when Hitchcock sent Brooks a bottle of champagne.

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 and Ernest Lehman. 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.

A 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.

Hitchcock returned several times to cinematic devices such as suspense, the audience as voyeur, and his well-known "McGuffin", an apparently minor detail serving as a pivot upon which the narrative turns.

Hitchcock seemed to delight in the technical challenges of film making. In the film Lifeboat, 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 either takes place in or is seen from a single apartment. In Spellbound, 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-colored red on some copies of the black-and-white print of the film.

Rope (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; 10 minutes being the maximum amount of film that would fit in a single camera reel. 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 that has been imitated and re-used many times by filmmakers. It has become known as the Hitchcock zoom. One of the more inventive aspects of Hitchcock's devices is incorporating the number 13 into scenes for its superstitious nature. For example, in Psycho, Norman Bates first chooses cabin 3, then turns to cabin 1, for Marion Crane. She is spotted driving in a car where the license plate numbers add up to 13.

Hitchcock appeared briefly in many of his own films, usually playing upon his portly figure in an incongruous manner, for example, seen struggling to get a double bass on to a train.

Hitchcock's films 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 this case, they are). In The Birds (1963), the Rod Taylor character, an innocent man, finds 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 idolizes 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 conflictual relationship with his mother, who is (correctly) suspicious of his new bride Alicia Huberman (Ingrid Bergman). And, of course, Norman Bates' troubles with his mother in Psycho are infamous.

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. As noted, the famous victims in The Lodger are all blondes. In The 39 Steps, Hitchcock's glamorous blonde star, Madeleine Carroll, is put in handcuffs. In Marnie (1964), the title character (played by Tippi Hedren) is a kleptomaniac. In To Catch a Thief (1955), Francie (Grace Kelly) offers to help a man she believes is a burglar. In Rear Window, Lisa (Grace Kelly again) risks her life by breaking into Lars Thorwald's apartment. And, most notoriously, in Psycho, Janet Leigh's unfortunate character steals $40,000 and is murdered by a reclusive lunatic. Hitchcock's last blonde heroine was - years after Dany Robin and her "daughter" Claude Jade in Topaz - Barbara Harris as a phony psychic turned amateur sleuth in his final film, 1976's Family Plot. In the same film, the diamond smuggler played by Karen Black could also fit that role, as she wears a long blonde wig in various scenes and becomes increasingly uncomfortable about her line of work.

Hitchcock saw that reliance on actors and actresses was a holdover from the theatre tradition. He was a pioneer in using camera movement, camera set ups and montage to explore the outer reaches of cinematic art.

Most critics and Hitchcock scholars, including Donald Spoto and Roger Ebert, agree that Vertigo 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 favorite film (of his own work) was Shadow of a Doubt.

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, since he didn't 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 Cinema. 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 famous crop duster sequence of North by Northwest which wasn't 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 on the occasions when storyboards were made, the scene which was shot did differ 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 making. Another example is the American remake of The Man Who Knew Too Much which Krohn notes went into production without a complete script which moreover went over schedule, something which as Krohn notes was not an uncommon occurrence on many of Hitchcock's films 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 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 weren't free from the normal hassles and routines that face many other film productions.

Krohn's work also sheds light on Hitchcock's practice of generally shooting in chronological order. A practice which he notes often sent many of his 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 of shooting alternate takes of scenes. This differed from coverage in that the films weren't 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 so as to give him space for other possibilities in the editing room. According to Krohn, this and numerous 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.

Similarly, much of Hitchcock's hatred 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'. During the making of Lifeboat, Walter Slezak, 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.

Regarding Hitchcock's sometimes less than pleasant relationship with actors, there was a persistent rumor that he had said that actors were cattle. Hitchcock later denied this, typically tongue-in-cheek, clarifying that he had only said that actors should be treated like cattle. 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. For Hitchcock, the actors, like the props, were part of the film's setting.

In the late 1950s, French New Wave critics, especially Éric Rohmer, Claude Chabrol and François Truffaut, 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, 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, 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.

Rebecca, which Hitchcock directed, won the 1940 Best Picture Oscar for its producer David O. Selznick. In addition to Rebecca and Suspicion, two other films Hitchcock directed, Foreign Correspondent and Spellbound, were nominated for Best Picture.

Hitchcock is considered the Best Film Director of all time by The Screen Directory. Hitchcock was knighted in 1980.

Sixteen films directed by Hitchcock earned Oscar nominations, though only six of those films earned Hitchcock himself a nomination. The total number of Oscar nominations (including winners) earned by films he directed is fifty. Four of those films earned Best Picture nominations.

Six of Hitchcock's films are in the National Film Registry: Vertigo, Rear Window, North by Northwest, Shadow of a Doubt, Notorious, and Psycho; all but Shadow of a Doubt and Notorious were also in 1998's AFI's 100 best American films and the AFI's 2007 update. In 2008, four of Hitchcock's films were named among the ten best mystery films of all time in the AFI's 10 Top 10. Those films are Vertigo (at No. 1); Rear Window (No. 3); North by Northwest (No. 7); and Dial M for Murder (No. 9).

Hitchcock became famous for his expert and largely unrivaled control of pace and suspense, and his films draw heavily on both fear and fantasy. The films are known for their droll humour and witticisms, and these cinematic works 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 (0.81 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, 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 (though the award did not go to Hitchcock), four other films were nominated. In 1967 he was awarded the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award for lifetime achievement. He never won an Academy Award for directing.

Along with Walt Disney, Hitchcock was one of the first prominent motion picture producers to fully envision just how popular the medium of television would become. From 1955 to 1965, Hitchcock was the host and producer of a long-running television series entitled Alfred Hitchcock Presents. While his films had made Hitchcock's name strongly associated with suspense, the TV series made Hitchcock a celebrity himself. His irony-tinged voice, image, and mannerisms became instantly recognizable 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 humor, 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 colorised 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 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 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 (Strangers in Town, The Lottery), T.H. White (The Once and Future King), Robert Bloch, H. G. Wells (The War of the Worlds), Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Mark Twain and the creator of The Three Investigators, Robert Arthur.

Hitchcock also wrote a mystery story for Look magazine in 1943, "The Murder of Monty Woolley." 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.

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Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho

Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho is the title of a non-fiction book by Stephen Rebello.

First published in May, 1990 by Dembner Books and distributed by W. W. Norton and Company, the book details every aspect of the creation of director Alfred Hitchcock's famous thriller Psycho released to theaters in 1960. From Hitchcock's acquisition of the original novel by Robert Bloch to his work with two different screenwriters, casting, filming, editing, scoring, and promotion, the book takes readers into the day-to-day lives of moviemakers who believed they were making a modestly-budgeted, black-and-white shocker that represented a radical departure from the elegant, suspenseful films that had made director Hitchcock's reputation, including Rope, Rear Window, To Catch A Thief, The Man Who Knew Too Much and North by Northwest.

The project Hitchcock tackled in part as an experiment to compete with financially-successful, low-budget, youth-oriented horror movies went on to astound many by becoming a cultural watershed, an international box-office success, a film classic, and a forerunner of the violent, disorienting films and real-events of the turbulent 'Sixties.

Stephen Rebello researched the film thoroughly through Hitchcock's personal records and archives and he interviewed virtually every surviving cast and crew member.

The book has been subsequently published in hardcover and paperback by Marion Boyars Limited in Great Britain and Australia. It has been published in translated international editions in Japan by Byakuya Shobo, France, Germany, and in Italy by Il Castoro.

The 1994 paperback version is ISBN 0-312-20785-9.

St. Martin's Griffin published a trade paperback edition in 1998.

The book is widely used in university and college courses on film and the work of Hitchcock.

In 2005, the newspapers Variety and Hollywood Reporter reported that Arts & Entertainment Network would produce a television film or miniseries based on the book. Later, the motion picture feature rights were optioned by Focus Features.

The dramatic feature motion picture version, now funded by Media Rights Capital and distributed by Universal Pictures, is to begin preproduction in the late fall of 2008 with a projected release date of 2009.

Anthony Hopkins has been widely mentioned to star as Alfred Hitchcock for producers Tom Thayer and Alan Barnette. Stephen Rebello is the Executive Producer. The screenplay is by Stephen Rebello and Ryan Murphy. John McLaughlin wrote an earlier screenplay draft.

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Alfred Hitchcock Presents

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Alfred Hitchcock Presents is an anthology television series hosted by Alfred Hitchcock. The series featured both mysteries and melodramas. By the premiere of the show on October 2, 1955, Hitchcock had been directing films for over three decades.

Time magazine named it one of "The 100 Best TV Shows of All-TIME".

The drawing was the work of Hitchcock himself. He began his career in the 1920's as an illustrator for silent movie intertitle cards. The sequence has been parodied countless times in films and on television. The caricature and the use of Gounod's Funeral March of a Marionette as theme music have become indelibly associated with Hitchcock in popular culture.

Hitchcock appears again after the title sequence and drolly introduces the story from a mostly-empty studio or from the set of the current episode. At least two versions of the opening were shot for every episode. A version intended for the American audience would often spoof a recent popular commercial or poke fun at the sponsor, leading into the commercial. An alternative version for European audiences would instead include jokes at the expense of Americans in general. For later seasons, opening remarks were also filmed with Hitchcock speaking in French and German for the show's international presentations, reflecting his real-life fluency in both languages.

Originally 30 minutes per episode, in 1962 the show was extended to a full hour and retitled The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. Hitchcock himself only directed 17 of the 270 filmed episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and only one of the hour-long episodes, "I Saw the Whole Thing" with John Forsythe.

The last new episode aired on June 26, 1965, but the series continued to be popular in syndication for decades. The first season was released on DVD in 2005, the second season in 2006, and the third in October 2007; it is also available on Hulu, the iTunes Store, and on NBC's website.

Retro Television Network recently (July 2008) as well as Chiller began airing both the 30 and 60 minute series. The frequency and times broadcast vary by affiliate and can be obained at the network website. They were last seen about five years ago on the cable network TV Land.

In 1985, the National Broadcasting Company aired a new TV-movie based upon the series, combining newly-filmed stories with colorized footage of Hitchcock from the original series introducing each segment. The movie was a huge ratings success, and sparked a brief revival of the anthology series genre that included a new version of The Twilight Zone amongst others. The New Alfred Hitchcock Presents series debuted in the fall of 1985 and retained the same format as the movie - newly filmed stories (a mixture of original works and updated remakes of original series episodes) with colorized introductions by Hitchcock. The new series lasted only two seasons before NBC cancelled it, but it was then produced for two more years by USA Network (which is now co-owned with NBC under NBC Universal).

A large number of notable actors appeared on the series, including Ed Asner, Mary Astor, Roscoe Ates, Gene Barry, Ed Begley, Charles Bronson, John Cassavetes, Dabney Coleman, Joseph Cotten, Bob Crane, Robert Culp, Bette Davis, Angie Dickinson, Robert Duvall, Peter Falk, John Forsythe, Anne Francis, Cedric Hardwicke, Lou Jacobi, Carolyn Jones, Brian Keith, Jack Klugman, Peter Lawford, Cloris Leachman, Peter Lorre, E. G. Marshall, Walter Matthau, Darren McGavin, Steve McQueen, Vera Miles, Vic Morrow, Jeanette Nolan, Vincent Price, Robert Redford, Burt Reynolds, William Shatner, Jessica Tandy, Dick Van Dyke, Dennis Weaver, Joanne Woodward and Fay Wray.

Actors appearing in the most number of episodes include Patricia Hitchcock (Alfred Hitchcock's daughter), Dick York, Robert Horton, John Williams, Robert H. Harris, Claude Rains, Barbara Baxley, Ray Teal, Percy Helton, Mildred Dunnock and Alan Napier.

Alfred Hitchcock Presents, 30 minutes long, aired weekly at 9:30 on CBS on Sunday nights from 1955 to 1960, and then at 8:30 on NBC on Tuesday nights from 1960 to 1962. It was followed by The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, which lasted for three seasons, September 1962 to June 1965, adding another 93 episodes to the 270 already produced for Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

Two episodes, both directed by Hitchcock himself, were nominated for Emmy Awards: "The Case of Mr. Pelham" (1955) with Tom Ewell and "Lamb to the Slaughter" (1958) with Barbara Bel Geddes. The third season opener "The Glass Eye" (1957) won an Emmy Award for director Robert Stevens. An episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour titled "An Unlocked Window" (1965) earned an Edgar Award for writer James Bridges in 1966.

One 1961 episode ("The Sorcerer's Apprentice") was not initially broadcast by NBC because the FCC felt that the ending was too gruesome. The plot has a magician's assistant performing a "sawing a woman in half" trick, not knowing it's a gimmick, and he cuts the unconscious woman in half. The episode has since been shown in syndication. It has been parodied by Penn and Teller on their cable show Penn and Teller: Bullshit!.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has released the first three seasons of Alfred Hitchcock Presents on DVD in Region 1.

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Alfred Hitchcock Edition Clue

Alfred Hitchcock Edition Clue is a version of the board game Cluedo (Clue in North America) themed using elements from the films of Alfred Hitchcock.

Each of the four corner rooms contains a secret passage that leads to the room on the opposite corner of the map.

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Alfred Hitchcock's Anthology - Volume 2

Alfred Hitchcock's Anthology - Volume 2: Tales To Take Your Breath Away is the second installment in the Alfred Hitchcock's Anthology series. This issue contains stories from Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine that, by the editors, were believed to be the best published the preceding year (1976).

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List of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour episodes

The following is a partial list of the 93 episodes from The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. A separate list of Alfred Hitchcock Presents episodes is also available.

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Alfred Hitchcock's Anthology - Volume 5

Alfred Hitchcock's Anthology - Volume 5 is the fifth installment of one of the many Alfred Hitchcock story collection books.

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Alfred Hitchcock's Anthology - Volume 4

Image:Volume 4.jpg

Alfred Hitchcock's Anthology - Volume 4 is the fourth installment of one of the many Alfred Hitchcock story collection books; edited by Eleanor Sullivan. The book includes 26 short stories and a short novel called The Graveyard Shift by William P. McGivern. Also, within the 26 short stories is The Green Heart by Jack Ritchie which was later made into the movie A New Leaf.

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List of Alfred Hitchcock Presents episodes

The following is a list of episodes from the television show Alfred Hitchcock Presents (both the original 1955–62 series and the 1985–86—1987–88 revival). A separate list of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour episodes is also available.

A 100 min. made-for-TV film was presented as the pilot for the series; it consisted of four episodes, all remakes of ones from the original series. This first aired on May 5, 1985 on NBC.

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Source : Wikipedia