Alfred Hitchcock. For anyone half interested in film or it’s history this name surely wouldn’t be new to his or her ears. At the mentioning of his name, his most popular films come to mind, ‘Psycho’, ‘Rear Window’ and ‘North by Northwest’ and there is many more where that come from! Many would argue Hitchcock’s brilliance is merely due to the time period he was in and everything he did just hadn’t been done before. These people tend to forget many of his most famous films were still in the era of ‘black and white’, which restricted his use of visual tricks, and also, Hitchcock was not the only director at the time. Surely something made him stand out, surely there’s a reason he’s thought to be a pioneer.
Is it his ‘signature’ or ‘stamp’ he left on everyone of his movies? But what are these things? What makes a movie, Hitchcockian? Sources like “The Hitchcock Signature” agree that it’s his use of strong visuals rather than lengthy lines and bulky monologues. As seen in ‘Psycho’, in some of it’s most famous scenes dialogue isn’t heard for minutes on end. This article especially, also comments that it may be how he pans around the actors in romantic scenes to make a simple kiss, something somewhat boring in movies, into a beautiful and memorable scene that, in his time, was very new! This is seen in both ‘North by Northwest’ and ‘Notorious’. Another aspect seen as part of Alfred’s stamp is his way of creating a scene and bringing it too life, with obscure angles and close ups that can turn a very boring scene into something much more extravagant.
Well we know Alfred is a pioneer, well he must be! He was so good people tried to copy the guy! For example Michelangelo Antonioni’s film, ‘Blow Up’, apart from few changes, is extremely similar to Hitchcock’s, ‘Rear Window’. Might I add ‘Blow Up’ came twelve years later… suspicious? The protagonist, a photographer, accidently captures a murder and is soon hunted for this. I’m starting to doubt Antonioni’s originality. Hitchcock’s plots were one of his trademarks and many others failed to live up to such brilliance in this area. Alfred Hitchcock strived so hard to bring his films to life that he even started to recreate his own films, this obviously shows his passion for creating visually intriguing film. He did this with the movie ‘39 Steps’ a suspicious remake of ‘North by Northwest’, that was directed nearly twenty years later.
My personal opinion is simply but surely, his creative mind. None of his movies would have been achieved without this. This is the source of all his amazing camera shots, thrilling plots and brilliant suspense. Even in interviews and chats with Hitchcock his creative mind is sprouting at every opportunity. It’s easy to notice how he is always thinking of murderous situations and horrific deaths for his movies. Alfred “The Master of Suspense” Hitchcock is known as a pioneer because of his creativeness and ability to put together a scene unique to all those before him. He is the true pioneer of Horror film.
Annotated Bibliography (three key sources):
- Constantine Verevis 2006, “After Hitchcock: Influence, Imitation, and Intertextuality”, 1st edn. University of Texas Press, Texas, USA.
- Constantine Vervis is a professor at Monash University, he specializes in film and tv. Teaching at Monash University since 1966.
- This book talks about how people try to replicate Hitchcocks work.
- It would have helped if it wasn’t just a preview of the ebook, if I had access to the book itself that would have been better.
- Aurora (Username). “The Hitchcock Signature”. Available from – http://aurorasginjoint.com/2012/05/13/the-hitchcock-signature/ – [May 13 2012]
- Relevant as it shows the key characteristics of a ‘Hitchcockian’ Film in detail. It also shows key themes throughout his films.
- The limitation of this was that I couldn’t prove it’s credibility as all I had to work with for an author was a username.
- Gene Adair, 2002, “Alfred Hitchcock – Filming our Fears”,1st edn. Oxford University Press, USA.
- Gene Adair has worked at both University of Tennessee Press and University of Georgia Press.
- This was extremely useful as it spoke a lot about Alfred Hitchcock in general.
Picture 1. Alfred Hitchcock Available from: https://www.nyfa.edu/student-resources/alfred-hitchcock/
Picture 2. Psycho Available from: http://www.independent.co.uk/migration_catalog/article5168324.ece/alternates/w620/psycho.jpeg