director-spotlight-alfred-hitchcock

Photo: Alfred Hitchcock Publicity Photo 1976 / Universal Pictures / Wikimedia Commons

Director Spotlight: Alfred Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock helped to create the modern horror genre, the modern thriller, and the modern black comedy. He changed film, even as he was inventing new ways to approach it. Stay tuned through October as we present our collection of essays on the Master of Suspense.

The original series of articles were published in June 2010. Over the year, many more essays on aspects of Hitchcock’s filmmaking have featured at PopMatters. We are combining them all together to present a substantial body of work on this historic artist.

There will never be another filmmaker quite like Alfred Hitchcock. Just imagine: this is a man whose career spanned almost 60 years, who survived the complex shifts from silent to talkie and black and white to colour, who worked as an auteur and a studio hack (sometimes simultaneously), who experimented with an array of original techniques (a real time feature, a one-set film), and who managed to develop some of the most complex characters and arresting images ever committed to celluloid. At his peak, Hitchcock was averaging almost a film a year — in the most extraordinary example of his industriousness, he made seven movies (including at least three stone classics) between 1953 and 1956!

Unable, or unwilling, to compromise, he was famously stubborn and pigheaded. He was also frustratingly sexist, blind to racial politics, and prone to armchair psychology. He had a black sense of humour and a soft spot (or was it an obsession?) with blondes. He wondered if anyone could ever truly be called “innocent”; he mistrusted bureaucracy and the very rich; he had a thing for gay subtexts. He hated death, but was drawn to it, as are we all. He helped to create the modern horror genre, the modern thriller, and the modern black comedy. He
changed film, even as he was inventing new ways to approach it. There will never be another filmmaker quite like Alfred Hitchcock. His genius was singular and indelible. — Stuart Henderson

STOP LAUGHING: A DIFFERENCE OF LAUGHTER BETWEEN BRITISH AND AMERICAN HITCHCOCK

While Alfred Hitchcock is famous for the humor that he injected into his thrillers, there are striking differences in the humor between his British and American periods. —
Benjamin Aspray

HITCHCOCK’S ‘BLACKMAIL’ AND THE BIRTH OF THE BRITISH TALKIES

Originally conceived as a silent film, Blackmail was quickly converted to sound, making it the first British talkie. To accommodate theaters that were not equipped for sound, it was reissued as a silent film. The differences in the two versions are here compared. — Michael Curtis Nelson

‘PSYCHO’: THE MOTHER OF ALL HORRORS

Psycho stands out not only for being one of Alfred Hitchcock’s greatest films, it is also one of his most influential. It has been a template and source material for an almost endless succession of later horror films, making it appropriate to identify it as the mother of all horror films. — Francesc Quilis

“GET OUT OF THE SHOWER”: THE “SHOWER SCENE” AND HITCHCOCK’S NARRATIVE STYLE IN ‘PSYCHO’

In
Psycho, Alfred Hitchcock subverts the narrative expectations laid out in the early parts of the film, producing something very different from the suspense film that we anticipate. — Despina Kakoudaki


HITCHCOCK 101: 1927 – 1934 – ‘THE LODGER’ TO ‘THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH’

In today’s installment of our retrospective survey of Alfred Hitchcock’s singular career we revisit his first major statements. Thrillingly, all of Hitchcock’s trademark themes and signature moves are visible in these early masterpieces — an uncanny talent, Hitch arrived, it would seem, fully formed.

FROM THE POPMATTERS ARCHIVES
RESOURCES AROUND THE WEB
PopMatters