17 Amazing, Scary Alfred Hitchcock Facts For All Horror Movie Buffs | Kidadl


17 Amazing, Scary Alfred Hitchcock Facts For All Horror Movie Buffs

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Movies with elements of Hitchcockian style are a very popular model for filmmakers who like to dabble in the thriller genre of jump-scare tactics.

Born in England on August 13, 1899, Alfred Joseph Hitchcock redefined the genre of horror movies in Hollywood with his vast array of 53 films over a long successful film director career spanning 60 years. His critically acclaimed suspense thriller movies earned him the title of ‘Master of Suspense.’

Hitchcock is one of the most revered directors of Britain whose films are as much comically macabre as they are darkly funny. His movies are considered to be the most influential ones in cinematic history. His nickname in the movie industry was ‘Hitch’ and he had quite a fascinating life which might be compared to his films. He popularized the appearance of directors in cameo roles in their own movies. Despite being nominated for several best director awards at the Academy Awards, he never received the much-coveted prize but got a lifetime achievement award in 1967. The German Expressionist movement greatly inspired him to invent his own style of direction. Hitchcock’s films showcased a perfect blend of suspense and horror which people look up to even today. The person behind the camera was equally brilliant in front of it as he appeared in a television series from 1955-1965.

If you like this article on facts about Alfred Hitchcock, you may enjoy further reading similar articles on Abraham Lincoln biography and Alex Morgan biography.

Alfred Hitchcock's Greatest Films

Alfred Hitchcock tops several lists of the greatest British filmmakers. His movie ‘Vertigo’ is dubbed by some as possibly the greatest movie of all time and there is a toss between this movie and ‘Citizen Kane.’

Some of the scenes that remain etched in the minds of people belong to films of Hitchcock. For instance, the attack at the gas station in ‘The Birds’, the famous showering scene in ‘Psycho’ and the chase scene in ‘North by Northwest.’ These are not only memorable but also some of the most terrifying in the history of cinema.

‘Blackmail’ was the most successful movie of Hitchcock. Never before had a thriller been made in England. It was also the first British film that had synchronized sound. It was originally supposed to be a silent film but the sound was added later on in the post-production stage with the help of one of a kind audio equipment system imported from the United States.

Often said as the film that redefined the horror genre, ‘Psycho’ was funded by the director himself. Paramount Pictures refused to give money for the salacious story. Hitchcock forego his normal salary for the movie, instead of agreeing to sixty percent ownership rights. In order to further cut down costs, the director used the television crew of ‘Alfred Hitchcock Presents’ and even shot the movie on less expensive black and white film. The gamble worked in favor of him and it is claimed that he earned a profit of $6 million from the film.

Another fact about ‘Psycho’ that will tell you something about the workings of the mind of Hitchcock is that he made sure that the twist at the end is not spoiled by moviegoers. He tried to buy all available copies of the source novel by Robert Bloch so that the twist remained under wraps until the film release. He prohibited stars Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh from taking part in any interviews regarding the film. He demanded from the theatres that they do not allow anyone to enter the hall after the screening has started. The lobby cards for the movie said the same thing.

Early Life

One of the greatest directors and film producers of all time, Alfred Hitchcock was born to William Hitchcock and Emma Jane Hitchcock.

He started his career in creative writing after the First World War in 1919 as a title card designer working for Islington Studios. Three years later in 1922, he became an assistant director at Gainsborough Pictures. Rebecca was his first American film that also won an Oscar.

Hitchcock’s father sent him to a local police station in Leytonstone in east London when he was only five years old. His father sent a note with him and after that, he spent a few minutes inside the jail that led to a fear of police his whole life. It was apparently a punishment from his strict father. His films reflected this childhood trauma in which the police are often found to be bad guys. His scare of legal issues for this incident made sure that the master director did not get a driver’s license in fear of getting a parking ticket.

Alma Reville, his wife was a screenwriter herself. During a time when the job was mostly done by men, Alma became a source of inspiration for women writers in the film industry. She helped Hitchcock as script supervisor with several of his screenplays including ‘Shadow of a Doubt’, The 39 Steps’, and ‘The Lady Vanishes.’ His wife was the one who convinced him about using the famous music we have all heard during the shower scene of ‘Psycho.’

His career began in silent films. While he was in Germany, working for Gainsborough Pictures, in 1924, he found guidance from F. W. Murnau, the expressionist filmmaker who was working on a silent film titled ‘The Last Laugh.’ Hitchcock credited the director for teaching him the art of telling a story with no use of words.

Most of the early films of Alfred Hitchcock are lost. In 2011, three reels of the six total of ‘The White Shadow’ were found in the New Zealand Film Archive. The film was not directed by him but written and assistant directed by him. He was also the art director of the movie.

Peak Years

Alfred Hitchcock was a household name by the year 1965. He made cameo appearances in many of his films in various roles such as bus passenger, a pedestrian, or a photo in a newspaper. The television series ‘Alfred Hitchcock Presents’ further made him a known face that aired between 1955-1965. The series was later renamed as ‘The Alfred Hitchcock Hour’ when the runtime extended from 25 minutes to 50 minutes.

Hitchcock collaborated with actor Jimmy Stewart in four films. He believed that the initial poor reception of ‘Vertigo’ was due to the actor and he did not want to cast him anymore. He also did not wish to tell Jimmy the news. He delayed shooting the film until the actor got tired of waiting and joined another film. Using as an excuse, Hitchcock cast Cary Grant in his place and maintained his friendship with Jimmy.

His whole idea behind filming ‘North by Northwest’ was to have the main actor Cary Grant hide in Abraham Lincoln’s nose that is located in Mount Rushmore. Citing it disrespectful for the monument, he did not get permission to shoot the scene.

Hitchcock was frustrated about the censor rules that guided the films and he tried to find creative ways to bypass the rules. He sent high graphic scenes of nudity and violence to the censors so that he could keep the subtler scenes that he deemed important. He was asked to shoot the sexually suggestive opening once more. He asked the censors to give him instructions, pretending unable to understand. He kept the scene as is when the censors could not show.

Psycho is one of Alfred Hitchcock's most poupular movies.

Style And Themes

Have you heard about the MacGuffin? It is an element that moves the plot forward in a film such as ‘Pulp Fiction’ and the briefcase or ‘The 39 Steps’ and airplane engine. Hitchcock made this device popular through his famous films.

His fondness for terrifying his audience is well known in his films. But did you know that Hitchcock was afraid of viewing his own films? He instead loved films that were not of his genre.

Hitchcock used established actors in his films so that his focus would remain on the plot during filming and he did not have to guide new actors. Many of his actors got nominated for the Oscars. Some of them are Michael Chekhov, Laurence Olivier, Judith Anderson, and Janet Leigh.

A recurring theme in many films of Hitchcock is that of an innocent man being accused of some crime. This provided the audience with a sense of great danger.

‘The Wrong Man’ is the only film where the audience can hear his voice on screen. It was the first Hitchcock film to take elements from real events leaving out some details to heighten the tension.

He wanted to keep the audience second-guessing for a scene. He used shadows in between camera shots to increase the suspense and tension.

The use of authentic sounds in ‘Rear Window’ made the film more real. Aside from the orchestrations, all other sounds were picked up from shooting on location. This method became popular more than twenty years later.

The film ‘The Blind Man’ was supposed to have some scenes shot in Disneyland. Having watched ‘Psycho’, Walt Disney was revolted by it and denied permission to Hitchcock to shoot the film. As a result, the film got canned then and there.

Death And Legacy

He had never won many awards. So, when he received the lifetime achievement award in the year 1979, he made a witty quip that he was about to die very soon. One year later in 1980, he died at his home in Bel Air.

He occupies a place among the best film directors but sadly the Academy Award eluded him. His most famous speech came when he won the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1967, “Thank you, very much indeed.”

During World War II, several Hollywood film directors created war films for the Allied Forces. The British Ministry of Information commissioned two of Hitchcock’s famous films which were about resistance fighters in France. Hitchcock created a film about the horrific events of concentration camps. It was done keeping the German audience in mind but it was not released till the 1980s by the British Government.

Entertainment Weekly voted him the greatest film director of all time.

‘Spellbound’ by Hitchcock has a famous dream sequence that was made by Salvador Dali, the surrealist painter.

One of the most wanted lost films of the British Film Institute is ‘The Mountain Eagle’. The only remnants found are a lobby card and some production photos. The famous director himself termed it as a bad movie and was relieved that is lost.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Alfred Hitchcock facts then why not take a look at Amelia Earhart's biography, or Alexander Hamilton's biography?

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