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Who is Alfred Hitchcock?

by Ratan Srivastava
Alfred Hitchcock

Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock or Alfred Hitchcock was an English movie director and among the most significant individuals in movie history. He directed nearly 50 feature films throughout the course of his six-decade career, many of which are being viewed as well as studied today. He becomes as well-known as any one of his actors as just a result of his numerous interviews, cameo performances in most of his movies, and hosting and producing the television anthology Alfred Hitchcock Presents. His movies received 46 Academy Award nominations, totalling six wins, however despite five nods for Best Director, he never won.

Hitchcock began his career inside the movie industry as just a title card designer in 1919, after working as just a technical clerk and copywriter. The Pleasure Garden, a silent British-German movie, was his directing debut. The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog was his first hit picture. The 39 Steps and The Lady Vanishes, two of his thrillers, are considered among the best British pictures of the twentieth century.

He had gained worldwide acclaim by 1939, as well as producer David O. Selznick convinced him to go to Hollywood. Rebecca (1940), Foreign Correspondent, Suspicion (1941), Shadow of a Doubt (1943), and Notorious (1944) were among the successful movies that followed (1946). Rebecca won Best Picture at the Academy Awards, and Hitchcock was nominated for Best Director; he too was nominated for Lifeboat (1944) and Spellbound (1945).  After just a brief commercial hiatus, he resurfaced with Strangers on a Train and Dial M for Murder (1954), as well as went on to direct four movies that are widely considered among the greatest of all time: Rear Window (1954), Vertigo (1958), North by Northwest, and Psycho, the first and last of which earned him Best Director nominations.

Both The Birds (1963) and Marnie (1964) were commercially successful and therefore are rated highly by cinema historians.

The use of camera movement to resemble a person’s gaze, so turning spectators into voyeurs, and framing pictures to maximise tension and horror are all examples of the “Hitchcockian” style. The significance of a Hitchcock picture “is there in the process, inside the evolution from shot to shot; a Hitchcock film is an organism, with the whole suggested in every detail as well as every detail tied to the whole,” according to movie critic Robin Wood. Hitchcock worked with some of Hollywood’s biggest names, notably three movies with Cary Grant inside the 1940s and 1950s, three pictures with Ingrid Bergman in the late 1940s, four movies with James Stewart during a ten-year period beginning in 1948, and three movies with Grace Kelly inside the mid-1950s. In 1955, Alfred Hitchcock became an American citizen.

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