Information

Alfred Hitchcock


Alfred Hitchcock was a British-American film director and producer, known for his suspense-thriller films. He is famous for his ability to keep the pace and suspense through an entire movie.Early daysAlfred Joseph Hitchcock was born in Leytonstone, London, on August 13, 1899, to William and Emma Jane Hitchcock. When Alfred was 14, his father died.Alfred left the boarding school to study at the School for Engineering and Navigation. Following his graduation, he became a draftsman and advertising designer with a cable company.Early career and marriageAbout that time, Hitchcock became intrigued by photography and started to work in film in London. He designed titles for silent films.In 1925, Hitchcock was given a chance to direct his first film, The Pleasure Garden. It was not a huge success, nor was his second film, The Mountain Eagle.Hitchcock married Alma Reville in 1926. The couple would remain married until his death in 1980.The suspense genre brings successThe young director changed his genre to suspense. The initial result was The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927), based on the first novel to present a solution to the Jack-the-Ripper murders. It was the first movie to reveal the “Hitchcockian” style of suspense, and the first of Hitchcock's 37 cameo appearances in his own films.In 1929, Hitchcock began work on his 10th film, Blackmail. That movie also initiated Hitchcock's habit of using famous landmarks as backdrops to a story. The climax of Blackmail took place on the dome of the British Museum.Hitchcock began to work for Gaumont-British Picture Corporation in 1933. His first film for the company, The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), was a success. In 1935, The 39 Steps was considered to be the best film from his early period. Selznick enticed him to go to Hollywood.Off to HollywoodTo commence his career in Hollywood, Hitchcock made his first American movie, Rebecca, in 1940. He also made Foreign Correspondent the same year, which also received a nomination for Best Picture.In 1946 Alfred not only directed, but produced the film Notorious. Notorious remains one of his most acclaimed films. In 1948, Hitchcock's first color film, Rope, was released. That film starred James Stewart; it would be the first of four Alfred Hitchcock films in which he starred.The years 1954 and 1955 proved to be a good run for Hitchcock, with the release of three popular films, all starring Grace Kelly. The first, Dial M for Murder, co-starring Ray Milland, featured 3D cinematography. Rear Window also starred James Stewart, and To Catch a Thief starred Grace Kelly and Cary Grant.Henry Fonda starred in the Wrong Man (1956), which was based on the true story of an innocent man mistaken for a criminal. When Vertigo was released in 1958, it was a commerical failure, but has since become known as a Hitchcock masterpiece.Hitchcock followed up that film with three very different films, all of which were huge successes. All three also are recognised as among his best films: North by Northwest (1959), Psycho (1960), and The Birds in 1963. The screeching strings in the murder scene in Psycho pushed the limits of the time, and remain chilling to this day. The Birds used an electronically produced soundtrack.Hitchcock's career wound down following those films. Family Plot in 1976 was his final film.The end, with honorsIn the 1980 New Year's Honours, Alfred Hitchcock was created a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II. He had remained a British subject when he acquired American citizenship in 1956, so he was entitled to be known as Sir Alfred Hitchcock and use the postnominal letters KBE.On April 29, 1980, Alfred Hitchcock died of renal failure in his Bel Air, Los Angeles, home, at the age of 80. He was survived by his wife Alma Reville, and their daughter, Patricia Hitchcock O'Connell. His body was cremated; there was no public funeral or memorial service.


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