Today is the 120th birthday of Alfred Hitchcock.
My mother first introduced my sister and me to Alfred Hitchcock via the movies Psycho and Rear Window (we watched them after school quite often), she taught us to look for his cameos at the beginning of the films. I am not exactly sure what age, I feel like I have always known him and I went on to read a Hardy Boys type of mysteries called “Three Investigators” that Hitchcock wrote the introductions to and even loved the old reruns of Alfred Hitchcock Presents on TV. I have gone on to love both of those movies and have added The Trouble with Harry, Lifeboat, North by Northwest, To Catch a Thief, The Birds, Strangers on a Train, and The Man Who Knew Too Much to my list of favorite Hitchcock films. How can you not fall in love with North by Northwest? The color of the film, the cut of the clothes, the architecture, train travel. The Trouble with Harry is so absurdly clever and Shirley MacLaine is absolute perfection. The world is a better place because he was in it and still feels the loss that he has left.
NAME: Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock
OCCUPATION: Director, Producer, Television Personality, Screenwriter
BIRTH DATE: August 13, 1899
DEATH DATE: April 29, 1980
EDUCATION: St. Ignatius College, University of London
PLACE OF BIRTH: London, United Kingdom
PLACE OF DEATH: Bel Air, California
CAUSE OF DEATH: Kidney failure
EDGAR ALLAN POE AWARD: Grand Master (1973)
EDGAR ALLAN POE AWARD: Raven Award (1960)
OSCAR: (honorary) 1968 Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award
GOLDEN GLOBE: 1958 for Alfred Hitchcock Presents
AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE LIFE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: 1979
HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME: 7013 Hollywood Blvd. (television)
HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME: 6506 Hollywood Blvd. (motion pictures)
BEST KNOWN FOR: Alfred Hitchcock was an English film director known for his work in the suspense genre. He made over 60 films, nearly all commercial and critical successes.
Television has brought back murder into the home – where it belongs.
Director, producer and screenwriter Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was born in London, England, on August 13, 1899, and was raised by strict, Catholic parents. He described his childhood as lonely and sheltered, partly due to his obesity. He once said that he was sent by his father to the local police station with a note asking the officer to lock him away for 10 minutes as punishment for behaving badly. He also remarked that his mother would force him to stand at the foot of her bed for several hours as punishment (a scene alluded to in his film Psycho). This idea of being harshly treated or wrongfully accused would later be reflected in Hitchcock’s films.
Hitchcock attended the Jesuit school St. Ignatius College before going on to attend the University of London, taking art courses. He eventually obtained a job as a draftsman and advertising designer for the cable company Henley’s. It was while working at Henley’s that he began to write, submitting short articles for the in-house publication. From his very first piece, he employed themes of false accusations, conflicted emotions and twist endings with impressive skill. In 1920, Hitchcock entered the film industry with a full-time position at the Famous Players-Lasky Company designing title cards for silent films. Within a few years, he was working as an assistant director.
In 1925, Hitchcock directed his first film and began making the “thrillers” for which he became known the world over. His 1929 film Blackmail is said to be the first British “talkie.” In the 1930s, he directed such classic suspense films as The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) and The 39 Steps (1935).
In 1939, Hitchcock left England for Hollywood. The first film he made there, Rebecca (1940), won an Academy Award for best picture. Some of his most famous films include Psycho (1960), The Birds (1963), and Marnie (1964). His works became renowned for their depictions of violence, although many of his plots merely function as decoys meant to serve as a tool for understanding complex psychological characters. His cameo appearances in his own films, as well as his interviews, film trailers and the television program Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955-65), made him a cultural icon.
Hitchcock directed more than 50 feature films in a career spanning six decades. He received the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award in 1979. One year later, on April 29, 1980, Hitchcock died peacefully in his sleep in Bel Air, California. He was survived by his lifetime partner, assistant director and closest collaborator, Alma Reville, also known as “Lady Hitchcock,” who died in 1982.
FILMOGRAPHY AS DIRECTOR
Family Plot (9-Apr-1976)
Torn Curtain (14-Jul-1966)
The Birds (28-Mar-1963)
North by Northwest (17-Jul-1959)
The Wrong Man (22-Dec-1956)
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1-Jun-1956)
The Trouble with Harry (3-Oct-1955)
To Catch a Thief (5-Aug-1955)
Rear Window (1-Aug-1954)
Dial M for Murder (29-May-1954)
I Confess (22-Mar-1953)
Strangers on a Train (30-Jun-1951)
Stage Fright (23-Feb-1950)
Under Capricorn (8-Sep-1949)
The Paradine Case (31-Dec-1947)
Bon Voyage (1944)
Aventure malgache (1944)
Shadow of a Doubt (12-Jan-1943)
Mr. and Mrs. Smith (31-Jan-1941)
Foreign Correspondent (16-Aug-1940)
Jamaica Inn (15-May-1939)
The Lady Vanishes (1-Nov-1938)
Young and Innocent (Nov-1937)
Secret Agent (May-1936)
The 39 Steps (Jun-1935)
The Man Who Knew Too Much (Dec-1934)
Waltzes from Vienna (Mar-1934)
Number Seventeen (1932)
Rich and Strange (10-Dec-1931)
The Skin Game (26-Feb-1931)
Juno and the Paycock (29-Jun-1930)
Elstree Calling (1930)
The Manxman (6-Dec-1929)
Easy Virtue (5-Mar-1928)
The Farmer’s Wife (2-Mar-1928)
The Ring (1-Oct-1927)
The Lodger (14-Feb-1927)
The Pleasure Garden (3-Nov-1925)
FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story (8-Nov-2007) · Himself