Τετάρτη, 15 Αυγούστου 2012

Sir Alfred Hitchcock


Alfred Hitchcock the lord and master of Suspence





Alfred Hitchcock is considered among the best film directors ever. His point if view of filmmaking as an industry rather than an art, and his primary aim to entertain audience, meant that his films were immensely popular to the general public. Alfred Hitchcock gained an Universal recognition for his works and Cahiers du Cinema (French cinema magazine) consider him a master of form and not just a popular and famous entertainer.


Sir Alfred Hitchcock ’s only horror movies are Psycho (1960) and The Birds (1963) his works are considered among the best in horror genre. Sir Alfred Hitchcock is the patron saint of the horror genre and has influenced the works of many younger filmmakers as Dario Argento, Brian De Palma, John Carpenter.

Sir Alfred Hitchcock’s film Psycho is  a milestone film, a crucial turning point in horror genre  after the Master of Suspense determined to frighten audiences, he used all the techniques that he had perfected over three decades as filmmaker.

The Early leive of Alfred Hitchcock


Alfred Hitchcock was born in Leytonstone in London, he received a Jesuit education and during his teenage years became interested in cinema. Firstly, he was working in a Telegraph company in 1920, later he found a job as titles designer in silent films at Lasky Studios London (Alfred Hitchcock started his career in filmmaking by designing the titles between the shots in silent films).

Alfred Hitchcock's first film


The silent film “The Lodger” was the first film of Alfred Hitchcock (1926) based on the Jack the Ripper real crime case and as all his film projects the film Lodger was imbued with paranoia, revelations and abnormal psychological states.

Alfred Hitchcock in Horror genre


Alfred Hitchcock enricted the horror genre with two masterpieces - Psycho (1960) and The Birds (1963). The characters on both films tend to be “normal” orfinary people trapped into extraordinary circumstances, with whom the audience can easily sympathise and then we as viewers we feel, could easily happen to us.

Acts of horror from Alfred Hitchcock films can occur anywhere and the director’s villains are often likeable, sumpathetic characters that audience can also love while they are carrying their deadly, inhuman and painfull works.

Alfred Hitchcock the director of Psycho (1960)


Psycho film was shot in black and white, it was a low - budget production with an innovative story telling structure and an unforgettable ending. Psycho is a masterpiece. Kitchcock with Psycho redefined the horror genre through the influence of his themes (voyarism, double personality, psychosis and mental disorder), filming techniques (lighting, camera angels) and methods of optical storytelling (two acts films and the death of main character at the middle of the film).

Psycho was an enormous box office successs and changed for ever the horror gender.

Alfred Hitchcock the director of Birds (1963)


The Birds are based on Daphne Du Maurier book with the same name. The Birds was a very successfull horror film and it features a number of striking images and it was very influential to the genre. The wild life horror and especially the siege sequence influenced films from “Night of the living dead” to Stram Dugs (Sam Peckinpan, 1991) also the wild nature as a villain can be found in films like - Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975), The Sharm (Irwin Allen, 1978), Willard (Daniel Mann, 1970), Squirm (Jeff Lieberman, 1976), Frogs (George McGowan, 1972), The Uncanny (Dennis Heroux, 1977) and Dogs (But Brickenhoff, 1970).

The most important is that after “Psycho” and “The Birds”, Alfred Hitchcock return on more Hitchcockian forms. The majority of his post - horror (Psycho, The Birds) period films are pale of shadows of his former work. Psycho’s status grew and grew and it was placed on critics top lists.

Afred Hitchcock and the plot device - MacGuffin (McGuffin).


In a lecture at Columbia University, Alfred Hitchcock explained the term “Mac Guffin” (McGuffin).

“We have a name in the Studio, we call it the MacGuffinn (McGuffin), it’s a mechanical elementa that usually crops up in any story. In crook stories it’s almost always the necklage and in spy stories is almost always the papers”
We can define the MacGuffin (McGuffin) as a plot device that appears as a desired object or a goal. It can be protagonist main source of motivation - on the other hand can be the main motivator fore antagonist too. I can say that MacGuffin is the main force to motivate the main character to act, to sacrifice and to fight to acquire it. Mac Guffin is a plot element that captures the viewers attention and drives the plot of a work of fiction.


Interview (1966) by Francois Truffaut, Alfred Hitchcock illustrated the term “MacGuffin”  (McGuffin) with the following story :


It might be a Scottish name, taken from a story about two men in a train. One man says “What’s the package up there in the baggage rack?” and the other answers “Oh, that’s a MacGuffin (McGuffin)”. The first one asks “What’s  a MacGuffin? (McGuffin)”. “Well”, the other man says “It’s an apparatus for tapping lions in the Scottish highlands”. The first man says “But, there are no lions in the Scottish highlands” and the other one answers “Well, then that no MacGuffin(McGiffin)”.

As you can see MacGuffin (McGuffin) is nothing.    

You can see the trailer of the film "Psycho" on youtube:




You can see the trailer of the film "The Birds" on youtube:





Elias Stoikos               

Relative Horror 2112 Articles

Relative Articles





Relative Books 

McGilligan, Patrick "Alfred Hitchcock : A life in Darkness and Light"  - Regan Books, 2003 A comprehensive biography of Director.

Francois Truffaunt, "Hitchcock"  - Simon & Schuster Books (1985)


Leitch Thomas "Companion Alfred Hitchcock"  - Willy Blackwell (2001). 


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