Today marks the anniversary of a very important day – the day a genius was born.
Alfred Hitchcock is by far one of my favorite directors. His career is an interesting one. He was rejected from military service during World War I due to his obesity. After a short stint as a cadet with the Royal Engineers, he worked for Henley’s Telegraph Company, where he began submitting articles for publication in the company’s in-house publication.
During this time, he became intrigued by photography and started working in film production in London. He worked in collaboration with Graham Cutts (another English director) who went with him to Germany. It was in Germany where the German Expressionist movement influenced Hitchcock’s work. For those of you not familiar with German Expression, it was a film style characterized by asymmetrical camera angles, ethereal lighting, shadows, and contrasts between dark and light. Many of the films made at this time reflected emotion over realism and often had eerie themes (think Nosferatu)
The German Expressionism in Hitchcock’s work is unmistakable, and in my opinion is something that notably contributed to his films and made them sincerely brilliant. Of course, there are many other elements in Hitchcock’s film style that distinguished him as a director, and below is a list of my favorite Hitchcock films (in no particular order)
To me, Psycho represents the mastermind that is Hitchcock. I love everything about this film. The characters, the suspense, the camera techniques, everything!
While the special effects in this movie aren’t what we’re used to today, I think this film is still a masterpiece and will always be a favorite.
The plot in this film is truly wonderful and full of suspense. It involves a man who plots to murder his wife, but the plan goes terribly wrong and he’s forced to improvise a back-up plan. Of course, it certainly helps that Grace Kelly is in this film (I mean come on she’s Grace Kelly). I definitely recommend this one!
I have to admit, when I first started watching this one I didn’t know that it was a Hitchcock film. I was watching it simply because James Stewart was in it (James Stewart is like a male version of Grace Kelly – can you say gorgeous? Which by the way she’s in it too , bonus points!), but I soon kind of suspected it was the work of Hitchcock (his cameo didn’t give it away or anything). There is nothing bad I have to say about this film. The plot is enrapturing, the camera shots are genius, and the actors are great!
While I personally think the ending of this film got a tad bit on the cheesy side (but hey for the times it probably wasn’t), it is overall a film I am in love with, and would have no problem watching over and over again. The plot is something I find simply brilliant! Two men, complete strangers, meet on a train (hey that sounds familiar….), and the one man explains his theory about how he believes two strangers could get away with murder. Little does the other man know the stranger is psychotic and actually plans to implement his little theory.
Okay I am not gonna lie – plot, film style, camera techniques, I didn’t really pay attention to any of it. Can you really blame me though? Cary Grant epitomizes all that is man candy in this film (suspected homicidal behavior and all).
Then of course there are the movies I still have yet to see of Hitchcock. On my list at the moment are To Catch a Thief, Vertigo, The Wrong Man, and North by Northwest. Anyone have any opinions on these?
You could also commemorate this day by watching the recently made movies about Hitchcock’s life and career – Hitchcock (with Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, and Scarlett Johansson), and The Girl (with Sienna Miller and Toby Jones). I haven’t personally seen them myself, but I heard they were decent.
If you have any films to add to this list let me know in the comment section below.
Happy Birthday Alfred Hitchcock!
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