Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock
Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock
Written by Ananya Jana
Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, a truly divine miracle, was born on August 13, 1899 on the outskirts of London. He was the son of Emma Jane and East End greengrocer William Hitchcock. His parents were of English and Irish ancestry. He had two older siblings, William Hitchcock and Eileen Hitchcock.
Raised as a strict Catholic and attending Saint Ignatius college, a school run by Jesuits, Hitchcock had very much of a regular upbringing. Alfred Hitchcock worked for a short time in engraining before entering the film industry in 1920. His first job outside of the family business was in 1995 as an estimator for the Henley Telegraph and Cable Company. His interest in movies began around this time, when he was frequently visiting the cinema and reading US trade journals.
It was around 1920 when Hitchcock joined the film industry. Hitchcock had the first real crack at directing films, start to finish, in 1923 when he was hired to direct the film “Number 13”, through the production wasn’t completed due to the studio’s closure. Hitchcock didn’t give up then. He directed “The Pleasure Garden” (1925), which was very popular. Hitchcock made his first trademark film in 1927 – “The Lodger”. In the same year, on the second of December, Hitchcock married Alma Reville.
Hitchcock formed an independent production company, pictures, with his friend. He made two films with Transatlantic, one of which was his first color film. With “Rope” (1948), Hitchcock experimented with introducing 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 4-½ to 10 minutes each; a 10-minute length of film was the most that a camera could handle 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 in the 1920s. The film was not well received.
Hitchcock was inducted into the Hollywood walk of fame on 8 February 1960 with two stars, one for television and a second for his motion pictures. In 1978 John Russell Taylor described him as “the most universally recognizable person in the world” and “a straightforward middle-class Englishman who just happened to be an artistic genius”. In 2002, Moviemaker named him the most influential director of all time, and a 2007 The Daily Telegraph critics’ poll ranked him Britain’s greatest director.
He won two Golden Globes, eight Laurel Awards and five lifetime achievement awards, including the first BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award and, in 1979, an AFI Life Achievement Award. He was nominated five times for an Academy Award for Best Director. Rebecca, nominated for 11 Oscars, won the Academy Award for Best Picture of 1940; another Hitchcock film, Foreign Correspondent, was also nominated that year. By 2016 seven of his films had been selected for preservation by the United States National Film Registry: Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Notorious (1946), Rear Window (1954), Vertigo (1958), North by Northwest (1959), Psycho (1960), and the Birds (1963).
In June 2013, nine restored versions of Hitchcock’s early silent films, including ‘’The Pleasure Garden’’ (1925), were shown at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Harvey Theatre; known as “The Hitchcock 9”, the travelling tribute was organized by the British Film Institute.
Over periods of time movies have changed for the better because of Alfred Hitchcock. He made a turning point in our cinema industry that still has an impact today. Without him, your favorite thrillers wouldn’t even exist today.
Ananya Jana finished her master degree in Journalism and mass communication. She is the event coordinator. She loves to explore different genres of movie. She is a passionate writer and believes that real writing equals authentical writing without the veneer and excuses in order to reach the audience at a heart level. She believes that when she writes she comes alive and the energy zaps. Her passion for writing focuses on character-driven plotlines.