Monday, August 13, 2007

Happy Birthday, Alfred Hitchcock

I'd like to send a hearty Win Column happy birthday to Alfred Hitchcock. Hitchcock is widely revered as being one of the best filmmakers of all time. In his 60+ year career, he made more than 55 films including Pyscho, Rear Window, North by Northwest, and The Birds. Hitchcock also hosted and produced a TV show, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, that ran for over 10 years.

Vintage Hitchcock films included common themes of blackmail, murder, and ordinary people cast in extraordinary situations. During his long career, Hitchcock constantly pushed the envelope in filmmaking and is directly responsible for some common devices that are used in film today. For instance, Hitchcock was the first director in Hollywood to shoot on location. Prior to him, most movies were filmed in the gigantic movie studios, which is part of the reason his movies were so unreal because they were the first films where the background actually looked life-like. Also, Hitchcock constantly experimented with technicolor and even dabbled in 3D. The use of soundtracks in movies was forever changed after the release of Psycho. During his films, Hitchcock would often use unorthodox soundtracks, such as shrieking strings, to evoke suspense in the viewing audience. Remember that shower scene in Psycho? still scares the hell out of me. Hitchcock was also the first director to have a signature 'role' in all of his movies. The role usually was just a cameo, hardly ever a speaking role, much like Scorcese does. He also pioneered one of yours truly favorite genre of films, that being the dark comedy.

Hitchcock's films were so ahead of their time that after his 1946 release of Notorious, where he used uranium as a plot device, he was under surveillance by the FBI for quite some time. He also tested limits in his 1945 release of Spellbound, where he had a dream sequence done by Salvador Dali that had to be cut from the film because it was deemed "too disturbing" for audiences. If you don't know Dali, check out his work.

Weird fact about Alfred Hitchcock is that he was deathly afraid of eggs, otherwise known as ovophobia...go figure, huh? Maybe it was because he looked like one. So cheers to you, Alfred. You were well ahead of your time and an inspiration to us all that strive to think outside of the box....and scare the hell out of people.



Anonymous said...

Wow, thanks for the analysis Dawson Leary.

RhodyTrojan said...

Orlando, did you just make a reference to Salvatore Dali on The Win column? wow.. just wow.. that my friend is what we call ecclectic.. given that there are mostly scantily clad women and manlove for Jeter on this blog.. for this I commend you..

just so you know.. his gallery is in St Pete's.. so if you ever make it down for some spring ball.. take a jaunt over there.. I have seen his stuff in person.. much more impressive when you do that

RhodyTrojan said...

and yes I am a conservative who likes Dali (and Kubrick for that matter.. )