Influential filmmakers are a rare breed. Their work changes the landscape of cinema and breaks new ground; inspiring the next generation to draw on their legacy. Alfred Hitchcock is quite simply THE influential filmmaker.
Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was born in London, England and studied drawing and design at London University. He began his illustrious journey in the film industry as a title designer for silent films.
In 1925, after impressive work as an art director, writer and assistant director, Hitchcock was afforded the opportunity to direct The Pleasure Garden. In 1929, he went on to direct Britain’s first ever talking film entitled Blackmail and began a highly successful career as a director.
“Some films are slices of life, mine are slices of cake.”
But Alfred Hitchcock was more than just a director. He was not simply a man behind the camera who said “action.” Hitchcock was an auteur who meticulously directed each of his films and put his own personal stamp on it.
Firmly believing that “there is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it”, he was quite appropriately nicknamed “The Master of Suspense.” But he was arguably the Master of Cameos as well.
1960’s Psycho, arguably the most notable film of Hitchcock’s long directing career, was so controversial that it was labelled “disgusting” by Walt Disney.
“Film your murders like love scenes, and film your love scenes like murders.”
The psychological horror featured the first ever flushing toilet in American cinematic history and also saw the leading lady, Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) killed off in the first half an hour.
Hitchcock went so far as to prevent the audience from knowing the ending to his film by ordering his staff to buy as many copies of the novel Psycho by Robert Bloch (on which the film is based) that they could find. The Master of Suspense? Yes, he was.
Hitchcock prided himself on “playing the audience like a piano” and wanted to push the envelope, shock the audience and make sure they never forgot the experience.
His impressive portfolio includes iconic films such as Rear Window (1954), Vertigo (1958), North by Northwest (1959) and The Birds (1963). Steven Spielberg, Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, Brian De Palma and many other world-renown filmmakers have cited his work as major influences in theirs.
“A good film is when the price of the dinner, the theatre admission and the babysitter were worth it.”
As an aspiring filmmaker, I too am in awe of Alfred Hitchcock’s fearless work. He laid the foundation and constantly aimed to show the audience something they have never seen before.
August 13th was his birthday and we at BTG Lifestyle decided to salute the man, the auteur, the legend and The Master of Suspense.
Thank you Sir Alfred Hitchcock.
About the author: Dean is a co-founder of BTG Lifestyle and the Master of Being Awesome. He is also Master of Modesty. And the Master of Contradictions.