You might be lucky enough to be reading this blog on Alfred Hitchcock’s birthday – 13th August. Now, if you don’t know who Alfred Hitchcock is, read on – and even if you have heard of him, I am hopeful this article will help you fill in the gaps in your knowledge a bit more.
Alfred Hitchcock (pictured above in 1925) was born in London in 1899. However, much of his professional life was spent living in America, where he was very well known for producing and directing films, particularly in the genres of psychological thriller or horror (check the certificate!) . You may well have heard of some of them: The Birds, Psycho, Rear Window… and the list goes on. Hitchcock was known as a master of suspense by many and his films – there are over 50 that he directed – and still considered to be classics to this day.
Many famous actors starred in Hitchcock’s films and if you watch more than one of them, you may well spot some familiar faces – actors like Cary Grant and James Stewart. Hitchcock himself appears in several of his own films, often in cameo roles. So, if you blink, you might miss him – then you’ll have to re-watch the film!
Some of the films were inspired by stories – The Birds, for example, was a story written by Daphne Du Maurier. Rebecca, too, was – and still is – a very much-loved novel by the same writer. Psycho used a novel written by Robert Bloch, in 1959, as its main inspiration. As you may well know, books are often better than films (as an English teacher, I’m biased, obviously!) but in Hitchcock’s case, his films are often on a par with the original story or book. Why don’t you read the text first, then watch the film – this will help you to make up your own mind!
We’re in the middle of our summer and it is likely you will have more time than when you are back studying. How about spending some of the remaining weeks reading a bit more about Hitchcock? His films won 6 Oscars over the course of his career – but amazingly, never for Best Director, which to many is shocking. It just goes to show even when you can be so, so good at something, someone else can be just a little bit better.
So, there you have it – if you didn’t know much about Alfred Hitchcock, now you do. I hope it inspires you to find out more about this amazing man’s work.