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Sir

Alfred Hitchcock

Hitchcock, Alfred 02.jpg
Born
Alfred Joseph Hitchcock

(1899-08-13)13 August 1899
Leytonstone, Essex, England
Died29 April 1980(1980-04-29) (aged 80)
Bel Air, California, U.S.
CitizenshipBritish
United States (from 1955)
EducationSalesian College, Battersea
Alma materSt Ignatius' College, London
Occupation
  • Film director
  • film producer
  • screenwriter
  • film editor
  • actor
Years active1919–1980
Spouse(s)
(m. 1926)
ChildrenPatricia Hitchcock
AwardsList of awards and nominations received by Alfred Hitchcock
Websitealfredhitchcock.com Edit this at Wikidata
Signature
Alfred Hitchcock signature.jpeg

Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock KBE (13 August 1899 – 29 April 1980) was an English film director, producer, and screenwriter. He is one of the most influential and extensively studied filmmakers in the history of cinema.[1] Known as the "Master of Suspense", he directed over 50 feature films[a] in a career spanning six decades, becoming as well known as any of his actors thanks to his many interviews, his cameo roles in most of his films, and his hosting and producing of the television anthology Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955–1965). His films garnered a total of 46 Oscar nominations and six wins.

Born in Leytonstone, London, Hitchcock entered the film industry in 1919 as a title card designer after training as a technical clerk and copy writer for a telegraph-cable company. He made his directorial debut with the British-German silent film The Pleasure Garden (1925). His first successful film, The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927), helped to shape the thriller genre, while his 1929 film, Blackmail, was the first British "talkie".[4] Two of his 1930s thrillers, The 39 Steps (1935) and The Lady Vanishes (1938), are ranked among the greatest British films of the 20th century.

By 1939, Hitchcock was a filmmaker of international importance, and film producer David O. Selznick persuaded him to move to Hollywood. A string of successful films followed, including Rebecca (1940), Foreign Correspondent (1940), Suspicion (1941), Shadow of a Doubt (1943), and Notorious (1946). Rebecca won the Academy Award for Best Picture, although Hitchcock himself was only nominated as Best Director;[5] he was also nominated for Lifeboat (1944) and Spellbound (1945), although he never won the Best Director Academy Award.

The "Hitchcockian" style includes the use of camera movement to mimic a person's gaze, thereby turning viewers into voyeurs, and framing shots to maximise anxiety and fear. The film critic Robin Wood wrote that the meaning of a Hitchcock film "is there in the method, in the progression from shot to shot. A Hitchcock film is an organism, with the whole implied in every detail and every detail related to the whole."[6]

After a brief lull of commercial success in the late 1940s, Hitchcock returned to form with Strangers on a Train (1951) and Dial M For Murder (1954). By 1960 Hitchcock had directed four films often ranked among the greatest of all time: Rear Window (1954), Vertigo (1958), North by Northwest (1959), and Psycho (1960), the first and last of these garnering him Best Director nominations.KBE (13 August 1899 – 29 April 1980) was an English film director, producer, and screenwriter. He is one of the most influential and extensively studied filmmakers in the history of cinema.[1] Known as the "Master of Suspense", he directed over 50 feature films[a] in a career spanning six decades, becoming as well known as any of his actors thanks to his many interviews, his cameo roles in most of his films, and his hosting and producing of the television anthology Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955–1965). His films garnered a total of 46 Oscar nominations and six wins.

Born in Leytonstone, London, Hitchcock entered the film industry in 1919 as a title card designer after training as a technical clerk and copy writer for a telegraph-cable company. He made his directorial debut with the British-German silent film The Pleasure Garden (1925). His first successful film, The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927), helped to shape the thriller genre, while his 1929 film, Blackmail, was the first British "talkie".[4] Two of his 1930s thrillers, The 39 Steps (1935) and The Lady Vanishes (1938), are ranked among the greatest British films of the 20th century.

By 1939, Hitchcock was a filmmaker of international importance, and film producer David O. Selznick persuaded him to move to Hollywood. A string of successful films followed, including Rebecca (1940), Foreign Correspondent (1940), Suspicion (1941), Shadow of a Doubt (1943), and Notorious (1946). Rebecca won the Academy Award for Best Picture, although Hitchcock himself was only nominated as Best Director;[5] he was also nominated for Lifeboat (1944) and Spellbound (1945), although he never won the Best Director Academy Award.

The "Hitchcockian" style includes the use of camera movement to mimic a person's gaze, thereby turning viewers into voyeurs, and framing shots to maximise anxiety and fear. The film critic Robin Wood wrote that the meaning of a Hitchcock film "is there in the method, in the progression from shot to shot. A Hitchcock film is an organism, with the whole implied in every detail and every detail related to the whole."[6]

After a brief lull of commercial success in the late 1940s, Hitchcock returned to form with Strangers on a Train (1951) and Dial M For Murder (1954). By 1960 Hitchcock had directed four films often ranked among the greatest of all time: Rear Window (1954), Vertigo (1958), North by Northwest (1959), and Psycho (1960), the first and last of these garnering him Best Director nominations.[7] In 2012, Vertigo replaced Orson Welles' Cit

Born in Leytonstone, London, Hitchcock entered the film industry in 1919 as a title card designer after training as a technical clerk and copy writer for a telegraph-cable company. He made his directorial debut with the British-German silent film The Pleasure Garden (1925). His first successful film, The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927), helped to shape the thriller genre, while his 1929 film, Blackmail, was the first British "talkie".[4] Two of his 1930s thrillers, The 39 Steps (1935) and The Lady Vanishes (1938), are ranked among the greatest British films of the 20th century.

By 1939, Hitchcock was a filmmaker of international importance, and film producer David O. Selznick persuaded him to move to Hollywood. A string of successful films followed, including Rebecca (1940), Foreign Correspondent (1940), Suspicion (1941), Shadow of a Doubt (1943), and Notorious (1946). Rebecca won the Academy Award for Best Picture, although Hitchcock himself was only nominated as Best Director;[5] he was also nominated for Lifeboat (1944) and Spellbound (1945), although he never won the Best Director Academy Award.

The "Hitchcockian" style includes the use of camera movement to mimic a person's gaze, thereby turning viewers into voyeurs, and framing shots to maximise anxiety and fear. The film critic Robin Wood wrote that the meaning of a Hitchcock film "is there in the method, in the progression from shot to shot. A Hitchcock film is an organism, with the whole implied in every detail and every detail related to the whole."[6]

After a brief lull of commercial success in the late 1940s, Hitchcock returned to form with Strangers on a Train (1951) and Dial M For Murder (1954). By 1960 Hitchcock had directed four films often ranked among the greatest of all time: Rear Window (1954), Vertigo (1958), North by Northwest (1959), and Psycho (1960), the first and last of these garnering him Best Director nominations.[7] In 2012, Vertigo replaced Orson Welles' Citizen Kane (1941) as the British Film Institute's greatest film ever made based on its world-wide poll of hundreds of film critics.[8] By 2018 eight of his films had been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry,[b] including his personal favourite, Shadow of a Doubt (1943).[c] He received the BAFTA Fellowship in 1971, the AFI Life Achievement Award in 1979 and was knighted in December that year, four months before he died.[11]

Hitchcock was born on 13 August 1899 in the flat above his parents' leased grocer's shop at 517 High Road, Leytonstone, on the outskirts of east London (then part of Essex), the youngest of three children: William Daniel (1890–1943), Ellen Kathleen ("Nellie") (1892–1979), and Alfred Joseph (1899-1980). His parents, Emma Jane Hitchcock, née Whelan (1863–1942), and William Edgar Hitchcock (1862–1914), were both Roman Catholics, with partial roots in Ireland;[12][13] William was a greengrocer as his father had been.[14]

There was a large extended family, including Uncle John Hitchcock with his five-bedroom Victorian house on Campion Road, Putney, complete with maid, cook, chauffeur and gardener. Every summer John rented a seaside house for the family in Cliftonville, Kent. Hitchcock said that he first became class-conscious there, noticing the differences between tourists and locals.[15]

Describing himself as a well-behaved boy—his father called him his "little lamb without a spot"—Hitchcock said he could not remember ever having had a playmate.[16] One of his favourite stories for interviewers was about his father sending him to the local police station with a note when he was five; the policeman looked at the note and locked him in a cell for a few minutes, saying, "This is what we do to naughty boys." The experience left him, he said, with a lifelong fear of policemen; in 1973 he told Tom Snyder that he was "scared stiff of anything ... to do with the law" and wouldn't even drive a car in case he got a parking ticket.[17]

When he was six, the family moved to Limehouse and leased two stores at 130 and 175 Salmon Lane, which they ran as a fish-and-chips shop and fishmongers' respectively; they lived above the former.[18] It seems that Hitchcock was seven when he attended his first school, the Howrah House Convent in Poplar, which he entered in 1907.[19] According to Patrick McGilligan, he stayed at Howrah House for at most two years. He also attended a convent school, the Wode Street School "for the daughters of gentlemen and little boys", run by the Faithful Companions of Jesus; briefly attended a primary school near his home; and was for a very short time, when he was nine, a boarder at Salesian College in Battersea.[20]

Petrol station at the site of 517 High Road, Leytonstone, where Hitchcock was born; commemorative mural at nos. 527–533 (right).[21]

The family moved again when he was 11, this time to Stepney, and on 5 October 1910 Hitchcock was sent to St Ignatius College in Stamford Hill, Tottenham (now in the London Borough of Haringey), a Jesuit grammar school with a reputation for discipline.[22] The priests used a hard rubber cane on the boys, always at the end of the day, so the boys had to sit through classes anticipating the punishment once they knew they'd been written up for it. He said it was here that he developed his sense of fear.[23] The school register lists his year of birth as 1900 rather than 1899; Spoto writes that it seems he was deliberately enrolled as a 10-year-old, perhaps because he was a year behind with his schooling.[24]

While biographer Gene Adair reports that Hitchcock was "an average, or slightly above-average, pupil",[25] Hitchcock said he was "usually among the four or five at the top of the class";[26] at the end of his first year, his work in Latin, English, French and religious education was noted.[27] His favourite subject was geography, and he became interested in maps, and railway and bus timetables; according to Taylor, he could recite all the stops on the Orient Express.[28] He told Peter Bogdanovich: "The Jesuits taught me organization, control and, to some degree, analysis."[25]

Henley's

Hitchcock told his parents that he wanted to be an engineer,[26] and on 25 July 1913,[29] he left St Ignatius and enrolled in night classes at the London County Council School of Engineering and Navigation in Poplar. In a book-length interview in 1962, he told François Truffaut that he had studied "mechanics, electricity, acoustics, and navigation".[26] Then on 12 December 1914 his father, who had been suffering from emphysema and kidney disease, died at the age of 52.[30] To support himself and his mother—his older siblings had left home by then—Hitchcock took a job, for 15 shillings a week (£73 in 2017),[31] as a technical clerk at the Henley Telegraph and Cable Company in Blomfield Street near London Wall.[32] He kept up his night classes, this time in art history, painting, economics, and political science.[33] His older brother ran the family shops, while he and his mother continued to live in Salmon Lane.[34]

Hitchcock was too young to enlist when the First World War broke out in July 1914, and when he reached the required age of 18 in 1917, he received a C3 classification ("free from serious organic disease, able to stand service conditions in garrisons at home ... only suitable for sedentary work").[35] He joined a cadet regiment of the Putney, complete with maid, cook, chauffeur and gardener. Every summer John rented a seaside house for the family in Cliftonville, Kent. Hitchcock said that he first became class-conscious there, noticing the differences between tourists and locals.[15]

Describing himself as a well-behaved boy—his father called him his "little lamb without a spot"—Hitchcock said he could not remember ever having had a playmate.[16] One of his favourite stories for interviewers was about his father sending him to the local police station with a note when he was five; the policeman looked at the note and locked him in a cell for a few minutes, saying, "This is what we do to naughty boys." The experience left him, he said, with a lifelong fear of policemen; in 1973 he told Tom Snyder that he was "scared stiff of anything ... to do with the law" and wouldn't even drive a car in case he got a parking ticket.[17]

When he was six, the family moved to Limehouse and leased two stores at 130 and 175 Salmon Lane, which they ran as a fish-and-chips shop and fishmongers' respectively; they lived above the former.[18] It seems that Hitchcock was seven when he attended his first school, the Howrah House Convent in Poplar, which he entered in 1907.[19] According to Patrick McGilligan, he stayed at Howrah House for at most two years. He also attended a convent school, the Wode Street School "for the daughters of gentlemen and little boys", run by the Faithful Companions of Jesus; briefly attended a primary school near his home; and was for a very short time, when he was nine, a boarder at Salesian College in Battersea.[20]

The family moved again when he was 11, this time to Stepney, and on 5 October 1910 Hitchcock was sent to St Ignatius College in Stamford Hill, Tottenham (now in the London Borough of Haringey), a Jesuit grammar school with a reputation for discipline.[22] The priests used a hard rubber cane on the boys, always at the end of the day, so the boys had to sit through classes anticipating the punishment once they knew they'd been written up for it. He said it was here that he developed his sense of fear.[23] The school register lists his year of birth as 1900 rather than 1899; Spoto writes that it seems he was deliberately enrolled as a 10-year-old, perhaps because he was a year behind with his schooling.[24]

While biographer Gene Adair reports that Hitchcock was "an average, or slightly above-average, pupil",[25] Hitchcock said he was "usually among the four or five at the top of the class";[26] at the end of his first year, his work in Latin, English, French and religious education was noted.[27] His favourite subject was geography, and he became interested in maps, and railway and bus timetables; according to Taylor, he could recite all the stops on the Orient Express.[28] He told Peter Bogdanovich: "The Jesuits taught me organization, control and, to some degree, analysis."[25]

Henley's

In September 1940 the Hitchcocks bought the 200-acre (0.81 km2) Cornwall Ranch near Scotts Valley, California, in the Santa Cruz Mountains.[96] Their primary residence was an English-style home in Bel Air, purchased in 1942.[97] Hitchcock's films were diverse during this period, ranging from the romantic comedy Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941) to the bleak film noir Shadow of a Doubt (1943).

Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine in a publicity shot for Suspicion (1941)

Suspicion (1941) marked Hitchcock's first film as a producer and director. It is set in England; Hitchcock used the north coast of Santa Cruz for the English coastline sequence. The film is the first of four projects on which Cary Grant worked with Hitchcock, and it is one of the rare occasions that Grant was cast in a sinister role. Grant plays Johnnie Aysgarth, an English con man whose actions raise suspicion and anxiety in his shy young English wife, Lina McLaidlaw (Joan F

Hitchcock's second American film was the thriller Foreign Correspondent (1940), set in Europe, based on Vincent Sheean's book Personal History (1935) and produced by Walter Wanger. It was nominated for Best Picture that year. Hitchcock felt uneasy living and working in Hollywood while his country was at war; his concern resulted in a film that overtly supported the British war effort.[94] Filmed in the first year of the Second World War, it was inspired by the rapidly changing events in Europe, as covered by an American newspaper reporter played by Joel McCrea. Mixing footage of European scenes with scenes filmed on a Hollywood backlot, the film avoided direct references to Nazism, Nazi Germany, and Germans, to comply with Hollywood's Motion Picture Production Code censorship at the time.[95][failed verification]

In September 1940 the Hitchcocks bought the 200-acre (0.81 km2) Cornwall Ranch near Scotts Valley, California, in the Santa Cruz Mountains.[96] Their primary residence was an English-style home in Bel Air, purchased in 1942.[97] Hitchcock's films were diverse during this period, ranging from the romantic comedy Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941) to the bleak film noir Shadow of a Doubt (1943).

Suspicion (1941) marked Hitchcock's first film as a producer and director. It is set in England; Hitchcock used the north coast of Santa Cruz for the English coastline sequence. The film is the first of four projects on which Cary Grant worked with Hitchcock, and it is one of the rare occasions that Grant was cast in a sinister role. Grant plays Johnnie Aysgarth, an English con man whose actions raise suspicion and anxiety in his shy young English wife, Lina McLaidlaw (Joan Fontaine).[98] In one scene Hitchcock placed a light inside a glass of milk, perhaps poisoned, that Grant is bringing to his wife; the light makes sure that the audience's attention is on the glass. Grant's character is a killer in the book on which the film was based, Before the Fact by Francis Iles, but the studio felt that Grant's image would be tarnished by that. Hitchcock therefore settled for an ambiguous finale, although, as he told François Truffaut, he would have preferred to end with the wife's murder.[99][f] Fontaine won Best Actress for her performance.[101]

Saboteur (1942) is the first of two films that Hitchcock made for Universal during the decade. Hitchcock was forced by Universal Studios to use Universal contract player Robert Cummings and Priscilla Lane, a freelancer who signed a one-picture deal with Universal, both known for their work in comedies and light dramas.[102] Breaking with Hollywood conventions of the time, Hitchcock did extensive location filming, especially in New York City, and depicted a confrontation between a suspected saboteur (Cummings) and a real saboteur (Norman Lloyd) atop the Statue of Liberty.Saboteur (1942) is the first of two films that Hitchcock made for Universal during the decade. Hitchcock was forced by Universal Studios to use Universal contract player Robert Cummings and Priscilla Lane, a freelancer who signed a one-picture deal with Universal, both known for their work in comedies and light dramas.[102] Breaking with Hollywood conventions of the time, Hitchcock did extensive location filming, especially in New York City, and depicted a confrontation between a suspected saboteur (Cummings) and a real saboteur (Norman Lloyd) atop the Statue of Liberty.[citation needed] He also directed Have You Heard? (1942), a photographic dramatisation for Life magazine of the dangers of rumours during wartime.[103] In 1943 he wrote a mystery story for Look magazine, "The Murder of Monty Woolley",[104] a sequence of captioned photographs inviting the reader to find clues to the murderer's identity; Hitchcock cast the performers as themselves, such as Woolley, Doris Merrick, and make-up man Guy Pearce.[citation needed]

Shadow of a Doubt (1943) was Hitchcock's personal favourite and the second of the early Universal films. Charlotte "Charlie" Newton (Teresa Wright) suspects her beloved uncle Charlie Oakley (Joseph Cotten) of being a serial killer. Hitchcock again filmed extensively on location, this time in the Northern California city of Santa Rosa.[105]

Working at 20th Century Fox, Hitchcock approached John Steinbeck with an idea for a film, which recorded the experiences of the survivors of a German U-boat attack. Steinbeck then began work on the script which would become the film Lifeboat (1944). However, Steinbeck was unhappy with the film and asked that his name be removed from the credits, to no avail. The idea was rewritten as a short story by Harry Sylvester and published in Collier's in 1943. The action sequences were shot in a small boat in the studio water tank. The locale posed problems for Hitchcock's traditional cameo appearance. That was solved by having Hitchcock's image appear in a newspaper that William Bendix is reading in the boat, showing the director in a before-and-after advertisement for "Reduco-Obesity Slayer".[106] He told Truffaut in 1962:

At the time, I was on a strenuous diet, painfully working my way from three hundred to two hundred pounds. So I decided to immortalize my loss and get my bit part by posing for "before" and "after" pictures. ... I was literally submerged by letters from fat people who wanted to know where and how they could get Reduco.[107]

Hitchcock's typical dinner before the weight loss had been a roast chicken, boiled ham, potatoes, bread, vegetables, relishes, salad, dessert, a bottle of wine and some brandy. To lose weight, he stopped drinking, drank black coffee for breakfast and lunch, and ate steak and salad for dinner, but it was hard to maintain; Spoto writes that his weight fluctuated considerably over the next 40 years. At the end of 1943, despite the weight loss, the Occidental Insurance Company of Los Angeles refused him life insurance.[108]

Wartime non-fiction films

"I felt the need to make a little contribution to the war effort, and I was both overweight and over-age for military service. I knew that if I did nothing, I'd regret it for the rest of my life ..."

— Alfred Hitchcock (1967)[109]

Hitchcock returned to the UK for an extended visit in late 1943 and early 1944. While there he made two short propaganda films, 20th Century Fox, Hitchcock approached John Steinbeck with an idea for a film, which recorded the experiences of the survivors of a German U-boat attack. Steinbeck then began work on the script which would become the film Lifeboat (1944). However, Steinbeck was unhappy with the film and asked that his name be removed from the credits, to no avail. The idea was rewritten as a short story by Harry Sylvester and published in Collier's in 1943. The action sequences were shot in a small boat in the studio water tank. The locale posed problems for Hitchcock's traditional cameo appearance. That was solved by having Hitchcock's image appear in a newspaper that William Bendix is reading in the boat, showing the director in a before-and-after advertisement for "Reduco-Obesity Slayer".[106] He told Truffaut in 1962:

At the time, I was on a strenuous diet, painfully working my way from three hundred to two hundred pounds. So I decided to immortalize my loss and get my bit part by posing for "before" and "after" pictures. ... I was literally submerged by letters from fat people who wanted to know where and how they could get Reduco.[107]

Hitchcock's typical dinner before the weight loss had been a roast chicken, boiled ham, potatoes, bread, vegetables, relishes, salad, dessert, a bottle of wine and some brandy. To lose weight, he stopped drinking, drank black coffee for breakfast and lunch, and ate steak and

Hitchcock's typical dinner before the weight loss had been a roast chicken, boiled ham, potatoes, bread, vegetables, relishes, salad, dessert, a bottle of wine and some brandy. To lose weight, he stopped drinking, drank black coffee for breakfast and lunch, and ate steak and salad for dinner, but it was hard to maintain; Spoto writes that his weight fluctuated considerably over the next 40 years. At the end of 1943, despite the weight loss, the Occidental Insurance Company of Los Angeles refused him life insurance.[108]

— Alfred Hitchcock (1967)[109]

Hitchcock returned to the UK for an extended visit in late 1943 and early 1944. While there he made two short propaganda films, Bon Voyage (1944) and Aventure Malgache (1944), for the Ministry of Information. In June and July 1945 Hitchcock served as "treatment advisor" on a Holocaust documentary that used Allied Forces footage of the liberation of Nazi concentration camps. The film was assembled in London and produced by Sidney Bernstein of the Ministry of Information, who brought Hitchcock (a friend of his) on board. It was originally intended to be broadcast to the Germans, but the British government deemed it too traumatic to be shown to a shocked post-war population. Instead, it was transferred in 1952 from the British War Office film vaults to London's Imperial War Museum and remained unreleased until 1985, when an edited version was broadcast as an episode of PBS Frontline, under the title the Imperial War Museum had given it: Memory of the Camps. The full-length version of the film, German Concentration Camps Factual Survey, was restored in 2014 by scholars at the Imperial War Museum.[110]propaganda films, Bon Voyage (1944) and Aventure Malgache (1944), for the Ministry of Information. In June and July 1945 Hitchcock served as "treatment advisor" on a Holocaust documentary that used Allied Forces footage of the liberation of Nazi concentration camps. The film was assembled in London and produced by Sidney Bernstein of the Ministry of Information, who brought Hitchcock (a friend of his) on board. It was originally intended to be broadcast to the Germans, but the British government deemed it too traumatic to be shown to a shocked post-war population. Instead, it was transferred in 1952 from the British War Office film vaults to London's Imperial War Museum and remained unreleased until 1985, when an edited version was broadcast as an episode of PBS Frontline, under the title the Imperial War Museum had given it: Memory of the Camps. The full-length version of the film, German Concentration Camps Factual Survey, was restored in 2014 by scholars at the Imperial War Museum.[110][111][112]

Hitchcock worked for David Selznick again when he directed Spellbound (1945), which explores psychoanalysis and features a dream sequence designed by Salvador Dalí.[113] The dream sequence as it appears in the film is ten minutes shorter than was originally envisioned; Selznick edited it to make it "play" more effectively.[114] Gregory Peck plays amnesiac Dr. Anthony Edwardes under the treatment of analyst Dr. Peterson (Ingrid Bergman), who falls in love with him while trying to unlock his repressed past.[115] Two point-of-view shots were achieved by building a large wooden hand (which would appear to belong to the character whose point of view the camera took) and out-sized props for it to hold: a bucket-sized glass of milk and a large wooden gun. For added novelty and impact, the climactic gunshot was hand-coloured red on some copies of the black-and-white film. The original musical score by Miklós Rózsa makes use of the theremin, and some of it was later adapted by the composer into Rozsa's Piano Concerto Op. 31 (1967) for piano and orchestra.[116][failed verification]

Notorious (1946) followed Spellbound. Hitchcock told François Truffaut that Selznick had sold him, Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant, and the screenplay by Ben Hecht, to RKO Radio Pictures as a "package" for $500,000 (equivalent to $6,555,461 in 2019) because of cost overruns on Selznick's Duel in the Sun (1946).[citation needed] Notorious stars Bergman and Grant, both Hitchcock regulars, and features a plot about Nazis, uranium and South America. His prescient use of uranium as a plot device led to him being briefly placed under surveillance by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.[citation needed] According to McGilligan, in or around March 1945 Hitchcock and Ben Hecht consulted Notorious (1946) followed Spellbound. Hitchcock told François Truffaut that Selznick had sold him, Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant, and the screenplay by Ben Hecht, to RKO Radio Pictures as a "package" for $500,000 (equivalent to $6,555,461 in 2019) because of cost overruns on Selznick's Duel in the Sun (1946).[citation needed] Notorious stars Bergman and Grant, both Hitchcock regulars, and features a plot about Nazis, uranium and South America. His prescient use of uranium as a plot device led to him being briefly placed under surveillance by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.[citation needed] According to McGilligan, in or around March 1945 Hitchcock and Ben Hecht consulted Robert Millikan of the California Institute of Technology about the development of a uranium bomb. Selznick complained that the notion was "science fiction", only to be confronted by the news of the detonation of two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan in August 1945.[117]

Hitchcock formed an independent production company, Transatlantic Pictures, with his friend Sidney Bernstein. He made two films with Transatlantic, one of which was his first colour film. With Rope (1948), Hitchcock experimented with marshalling suspense in a confined environment, as he had done earlier with Lifeboat (1944). The film appears to have been shot in a single take, but it was actually shot in 10 takes ranging from 4-​12 to 10 minutes each; a 10-minute length of film was the most that a camera's film magazine could hold at the time. Some transitions between reels were hidden by having a dark object fill the entire screen for a moment. Hitchcock used those points to hide the cut, and began the next take with the camera in the same place. The film features James Stewart in the leading role, and was the first of four films that Stewart made with Hitchcock. It was inspired by the Leopold and Loeb case of the 1920s.[citation needed] The film was not well received.[118]

Under Capricorn (1949), set in 19th-century Australia, also uses the short-lived technique of long takes, but to a more limited extent. He again used Technicolor in this production, then returned to black-and-white films for several years. Transatlantic Pictures became inactive after these two unsuccessful films.[119][page needed][120][page needed] Hitchcock filmed

Under Capricorn (1949), set in 19th-century Australia, also uses the short-lived technique of long takes, but to a more limited extent. He again used Technicolor in this production, then returned to black-and-white films for several years. Transatlantic Pictures became inactive after these two unsuccessful films.[119][page needed][120][page needed] Hitchcock filmed Stage Fright (1950) at studios in Elstree, England, where he had worked during his British International Pictures contract many years before.[121] He matched one of Warner Bros.' most popular stars, Jane Wyman, with the expatriate German actor Marlene Dietrich and used several prominent British actors, including Michael Wilding, Richard Todd and Alastair Sim.[122] This was Hitchcock's first proper production for Warner Bros., which had distributed Rope and Under Capricorn, because Transatlantic Pictures was experiencing financial difficulties.[123]

His film Strangers on a Train (1951) was based on the novel of the same name by Patricia Highsmith. Hitchcock combined many elements from his preceding films. He approached Dashiell Hammett to write the dialogue, but Raymond Chandler took over, then left over disagreements with the director. In the film, two men casually meet, one of whom speculates on a foolproof method to murder; he suggests that two people, each wishing to do away with someone, should each perform the other's murder. Farley Granger's role was as the innocent victim of the scheme, while Robert Walker, previously known for "boy-next-door" roles, played the villain.[124] I Confess (1953) was set in Quebec with Montgomery Clift as a Catholic priest.[125]

I Confess was followed by three colour films starring Grace Kelly: Dial M for Murder (1954), Rear Window (1954), and To Catch a Thief (1955). In Dial M for Murder, Ray Milland plays the villain who tries to murder his unfaithful wife (Kelly) for her money. She kills the hired assassin in self-defence, so Milland manipulates the evidence to make it look like murder. Her lover, Mark Halliday (Robert Cummings), and Police Inspector Hubbard (John Williams) save her from execution.[126] Hitchcock experimented with 3D cinematography for Dial M.[127]

Hitchcock moved to Paramount Pictures and filmed Rear Window (1954), starring James Stewart and Kelly again, as well as Thelma Ritter and Raymond Burr. Stewart's character is a photographer (based on Robert Capa) who must temporarily use a wheelchair. Out of boredom, he begins observing his neighbours across the courtyard, then becomes convinced that one of them (Raymond Burr) has murdered his wife. Stewart eventually manages to convince his policeman buddy (Wendell Corey) and his girlfriend (Kelly). As with Lifeboat and Rope, the principal characters are depicted in confined or cramped quarters, in this case Stewart's studio apartment. Hitchcock uses close-ups of Stewart's face to show his character's reactions, "from the comic voyeurism directed at his neighbours to his helpless terror watching Kelly and Burr in the villain's apartment".[128]

Alfred Hitchcock Presents

Paramount Pictures and filmed Rear Window (1954), starring James Stewart and Kelly again, as well as Thelma Ritter and Raymond Burr. Stewart's character is a photographer (based on Robert Capa) who must temporarily use a wheelchair. Out of boredom, he begins observing his neighbours across the courtyard, then becomes convinced that one of them (Raymond Burr) has murdered his wife. Stewart eventually manages to convince his policeman buddy (Wendell Corey) and his girlfriend (Kelly). As with Lifeboat and Rope, the principal characters are depicted in confined or cramped quarters, in this case Stewart's studio apartment. Hitchcock uses close-ups of Stewart's face to show his character's reactions, "from the comic voyeurism directed at his neighbours to his helpless terror watching Kelly and Burr in the villain's apartment".[128]

From 1955 to 1965, Hitchcock was the host of the television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents.[129] With his droll delivery, gallows humour and iconic image, the series made Hitchcock a celebrity. The title-sequence of the show pictured a minimalist caricature of his profile (he drew it himself; it is composed of only nine strokes), which his real silhouette then filled.[130] The series theme tune was Funeral March of a Marionette by the French composer Charles Gounod (1818–1893).[131]

His introductions always included some sort of wry humour, such as the description of a recent multi-person execution hampered by having only one electric chair, while two are shown with a sign "Two chairs—no waiting!" He directed 18 episodes of the series, which aired from 1955 to 1965. It became The Alfred Hitchcock Hour in 1962, and NBC broadcast the final episode on 10 May 1965. In the 1980s, a new version of Alfred Hitchcock Presents was produced for television, making use of Hitchcock's original introductions in a colourised form.[129]

From To Catch a Thief to Vertigo

In 1955 Hitchcock became a United States citizen.electric chair, while two are shown with a sign "Two chairs—no waiting!" He directed 18 episodes of the series, which aired from 1955 to 1965. It became The Alfred Hitchcock Hour in 1962, and NBC broadcast the final episode on 10 May 1965. In the 1980s, a new version of Alfred Hitchcock Presents was produced for television, making use of Hitchcock's original introductions in a colourised form.[129]

In 1955 Hitchcock became a United States citizen.[132] The same year, his third Grace Kelly film, To Catch a Thief, was released; it is set in the French Riviera, and pairs Kelly with Cary Grant. Grant plays retired thief John Robie, who becomes the prime suspect for a spate of robberies in the Riviera. A thrill-seeking American heiress played by Kelly surmises his true identity and tries to seduce him. "Despite the obvious age disparity between Grant and Kelly and a lightweight plot, the witty script (loaded with double entendres) and the good-natured acting proved a commercial success."[133] It was Hitchcock's last film with Kelly. She married Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1956, and ended her film career. Hitchcock then remade his own 1934 film The Man Who Knew Too Much in 1956. This time, the film starred James Stewart and Doris Day, who sang the theme song "Que Sera, Sera", which won the Oscar for Best Original Song and became a big hit for her. They play a couple whose son is kidnapped to prevent them from interfering with an assassination. As in the 1934 film, the climax takes place at the Royal Albert Hall, London.[134]

The Wrong Man (1957), Hitchcock's final film for Warner Bros., is a low-key black-and-white production based on a real-life case of mistaken identity reported in Life magazine in 1953. This was the only film of Hitchcock to star Henry Fonda, playing a Stork Club musici

The Wrong Man (1957), Hitchcock's final film for Warner Bros., is a low-key black-and-white production based on a real-life case of mistaken identity reported in Life magazine in 1953. This was the only film of Hitchcock to star Henry Fonda, playing a Stork Club musician mistaken for a liquor store thief, who is arrested and tried for robbery while his wife (Vera Miles) emotionally collapses under the strain. Hitchcock told Truffaut that his lifelong fear of the police attracted him to the subject and was embedded in many scenes.[135]

Hitchcock's next film, Vertigo (1958) again starred James Stewart, this time with Kim Novak and Barbara Bel Geddes. He had wanted Vera Miles to play the lead, but she was pregnant. He told Oriana Fallaci: "I was offering her a big part, the chance to become a beautiful sophisticated blonde, a real actress. We'd have spent a heap of dollars on it, and she has the bad taste to get pregnant. I hate pregnant women, because then they have children."[136]

In the film, James Stewart plays Scottie, a former police investigator suffering from acrophobia, who develops an obsession with a woman he has been hired to shadow (Kim Novak). Scottie's obsession leads to tragedy, and this time Hitchcock does not opt for a happy ending. Some critics, including Donald Spoto and Roger Ebert, agree that Vertigo is the director's most personal and revealing film, dealing with the Pygmalion-like obsessions of a man who crafts a woman into the woman he desires. Vertigo explores more frankly and at greater length his interest in the relation between sex and death than any other work in his filmography.[137]

Vertigo contains a camera technique developed by Irmin Roberts, commonly referred to as a dolly zoom, that has been copied many times by filmmakers. The film premiered at the San Sebastián International Film Festival, where Hitchcock won a Silver Seashell.acrophobia, who develops an obsession with a woman he has been hired to shadow (Kim Novak). Scottie's obsession leads to tragedy, and this time Hitchcock does not opt for a happy ending. Some critics, including Donald Spoto and Roger Ebert, agree that Vertigo is the director's most personal and revealing film, dealing with the Pygmalion-like obsessions of a man who crafts a woman into the woman he desires. Vertigo explores more frankly and at greater length his interest in the relation between sex and death than any other work in his filmography.[137]

Vertigo contains a camera technique developed by Irmin Roberts, commonly referred to as a dolly zoom, that has been copied many times by filmmakers. The film premiered at the San Sebastián International Film Festival, where Hitchcock won a Silver Seashell.[138][failed verification] Vertigo is considered a classic, but it attracted some negative reviews and poor box-office receipts at the time, and it was the last collaboration between Stewart and Hitchcock.[139][need quotation to verify] In the 2002 Sight & Sound polls, it ranked just behind Citizen Kane (1941); ten years later, in the same magazine, critics chose it as the best film ever made.[8]

Hitchcock followed Vertigo with three more successful films, which are also recognised as among his best: North by Northwest (1959), Psycho (1960) and The Birds (1963). In North by Northwest, Cary Grant portrays Roger Thornhill, a Madison Avenue advertising executive who is mistaken for a government secret agent. He is hotly pursued across the United States by enemy agents, including (it appears) Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint). Thornhill at first believes Kendall is helping him, then that she is an enemy agent; he eventually learns that she is working undercover for the CIA. During its opening two-week run at Radio City Music Hall, the film grossed $404,056 (equivalent to $3,543,793 in 2019), setting a record in that theatre's non-holiday gross.[140] Time magazine called the film "smoothly troweled and thoroughly entertaining".[141]

Mosaic image from the film Psycho at Leytonstone tube stationPsycho (1960) is arguably Hitchcock's best-known film.[142] Based on Robert Bloch's novel Psycho (1959), which was inspired by the case of Ed Gein,[143] the film was produced on a constrained budget of $800,000 (equivalent to $6,913,836 in 2019) and shot in black-and-white on a spare set using crew members from Alfred Hitchcock Presents.[144] The unprecedented violence of the shower scene,[h] the early death of the heroine, and the innocent lives extinguished by a disturbed murderer became the hallmarks of a new horror-film genre.[146] The public loved the film, with lines stretching outside cinemas as people had to wait for the next showing. It broke box-office records in the United Kingdom, France, South America, the United States and Canada and was a moderate success in Australia for a brief period.[119][page needed]

The film was the most profitable of Hitchcock's career; he personally earned well in excess of $15 million (equivalent to $129.63 million in 2019). He subsequently swapped his rights to Psycho and his TV anthology for 150,000 shares of MCA, making him the third largest shareholder and his own boss at Universal, in theory at least, although that did not stop them from interfering with him.[119][page needed][120][page needed] Following the first film, Psycho became an American horror MCA, making him the third largest shareholder and his own boss at Universal, in theory at least, although that did not stop them from interfering with him.[119][page needed][120][page needed] Following the first film, Psycho became an American horror franchise: Psycho II, Psycho III, Bates Motel, Psycho IV: The Beginning, and a colour 1998 remake of the original.[147]

On 13 August 1962, Hitchcock's 63rd birthday, the French director François Truffaut began a 50-hour interview of Hitchcock, filmed over eight days at Universal Studios, during which Hitchcock agreed to answer 500 questions. It took four years to transcribe the tapes and organise the images; it was published as a book in 1967, which Truffaut nicknamed the "Hitchbook". The audio tapes were used as the basis of a documentary in 2015.[148][149] Truffaut sought the interview because it was clear to him that Hitchcock was not simply the mass-market entertainer the American media made him out to be. It was obvious from his films, Truffaut wrote, that Hitchcock had "given more thought to the potential of his art than any of his colleagues". He compared the interview to "Oedipus' consultation of the oracle".[150]

The Birds