The acknowledged master of cinematic suspense, "Hitch" is one of the most famous directors of all time, if not the most famous. Most people have probably seen one of his films at some time. He was "Sir Alfred" for a brief four months before his death in 1980. He also produced and hosted the television anthology series Alfred Hitchcock Presents from 1955 to 1965, although he only actually directed a handful of the show's episodes. Many of his films are adaptations of novels or short stories. Made frequent use of the 'MacGuffin' and popularized the term.Most people consider either Vertigo or Psycho to be his Magnum Opus, although Hitchcock himself regarded Shadow Of A Doubt as his personal favorite. North by Northwest and The Birds are also frequently cited as favorites among fans.Played by Anthony Hopkins in Hitchcock, a film by Sacha Gervasi about the making of Psycho. Hopkins certainly looks the part◊ while the significant artistic contributions of his wife, Alma (Played by Helen Mirren), are given their belated due as well.It should be noted that Hitchcock did not direct The Third Man, as is widely believed. He didn't do Charade, either, although the latter was referred to by one reviewer as "the best Hitchcock film that Hitchcock never made".To see a list of all of his movies, click here.
Deadpan Snarker: The man was known to have an absolutely cutting sense of humor, as well as a contempt for anyone who interfered with his own creative process. One of his most famous quotes was "I never said actors are cattle. I said actors should be treated like cattle."
In the attic scene in The Birds, Hitchcock had crew guys hurling real gulls and crows at Tippi Hedren...for five straight days of shooting. As a result, she was plagued by dreams of flapping wings. The birds themselves had been fed whiskey to make them more aggressive. Needless to say, this was long before the No Animals Were Harmed certificates.
The story of Rebecca called for Joan Fontaine to be nervous around the other actors, so Hitchcock told her that no one else on set liked her.
When filming The 39 Steps he needed a shocked reaction from Madeline Carroll. He achieved this by pretending to pull his cock out.
A popular Urban Legend has it that Janet Leigh's terrified scream in Psycho's shower scene was achieved by Hitchcock turning on the cold water unexpectedly, though apparently this is untrue.
Missing Episode: Hitchcock's first film, a 1923 release called The White Shadow, was thought lost for more than 80 years—until its first three reels were found as part of a private collection in New Zealand.
Prima Donna Director: Much beloved for many good reasons, but let's face it, the man was a control freak extraordinaire.
He planned his movies in meticulous detail, at least as much as Stanley Kubrick... to the extent that he was often depressed when pre-production was finished, because actually shooting the film was boring and required less effort. However, unlike Kubrick, performances tended to be better because Hitchcock didn't have the propensity to do as many takes.
However, there are some people who had worked for Hitchcock who would go out of their way to defend him at the drop of a hat. A prime example of this is actor Norman Lloyd, later to play Dr. Daniel Auschlander on the NBC medical drama St. Elsewhere, who worked for Hitchcock as an associate producer and director on Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and with good reason. At the time, Hitchcock was the only person willing to give him any type of gainful employment. Other than that, he had been blacklisted in the entertainment industry for refusing to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee and identify suspected communists and as a result, had been branded as a communist himself.
He was also known for his appalling treatment of his female leads, even beyond his infamous Yandere actions toward Tippi Hedren. Farley Granger noted he bullied Ruth Roman on the set of Strangers on a Train, and whenever he needed Madeline Carroll on set in The 39 Steps he would cry out 'Bring on the Birmingham tart!'. He also managed to elicit a shocked reaction from Carroll by pretending to whip it out. He planned to make Vera Miles a big star but lost interest in her once she became pregnant and had a baby, although he did eventually cast her in Psycho.
Although as counterpoint Grace Kelly never complained of mistreatment and actually rather loved working with him.
Scare 'Em Straight: When Hitchcock was a child, his father once punished him by sending him down to the local police station with a note explaining his misbehavior and asking the police to lock him in a cell for ten minutes. The incident left him with a lifelong fear of the authorities. The irony of it all was that the young Hitchcock never learned what he had done to deserve that punishment. Neither his father or the police told him anything.
Creator Cameo: He appears in every film in a nonspeaking role. This habit became so famous that he confined his appearances to the first fifteen minutes of his films so that audiences would not be distracted watching for him among the extras. In The Wrong Man, he appears personally in silhouette and introduces the film, apparently because it was based on a true story.
The Golden Gate Bridge and other San-Francisco-area locations in Vertigo
Silence Is Golden: Even movies Hitchcock directed after the silent era occasionally manage to create drama without dialogue. Hitchcock was a painter and was very interested in visuals, almost to the point of expressing disdain for acting and dialogue.