Those who have seen the movie Hitchcock with Anthony Hopkins playing Sir Alfred Hitchcock may be interested in some pics of the original Hitch. That's both Hopkins and Hitch above. Also, some background info . . .
- He was born in England in 1899 and had a lonely childhood, made worse by his obesity. At age 5 he was sent to the local police station with a note from his father asking that he be locked up for 5 minutes as punishment for bad behaviour, harsh treatment and wrongful accusations being themes in many of his works. His father died at age 14.
- He was rejected for military service in WW1 because of obesity, believed to be from a glandular condition.
- His fondness for writing short stories, many of them published, gave way to an interest in photography. He commenced work with a film company, that company later to become Paramount, and in 1920 was given a full time position designing the titles for silent movies. By 1925 he was directing, his first commercial success being the 1927 pic The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog.
- In 1926 he had married his assistant director, Alma Reville, with their only child, Patricia, being born in 1928.
- Hitchcock is famously said to have observed in 1938 that “Actors are cattle.” During the making of the 1941 pic Mr & Mrs Smith, Carole Lombard is reported to have brought cattle onto the set and labelled them with the names of the actors. Hitchcock is reported to also have said that he was misquoted, that what he had actually said was “Actors should be treated like cattle.”
- By the end of the 1930’s his star was soaring and he was regarded as Britain’s best director. He was signed to a 7 year contract in 1939 by David O Selznick, the Hitchcocks then moving to Hollywood.
Multiple exposures for a 1942 Life magazine story about him
- Between 1939 and 1960 Hitchcock pioneered numerous technical devices and filming techniques that became standard fare in movies, as well as becoming known for his taut and suspenseful stories and directing.
- Psycho (1960) is his best known film and that film, plus the following film The Birds (1963), are considered his last great films.
- Ill health reduced his output and he died in 1980 from renal failure.
- Hitchcock always made a signature appearance in his films. In Lifeboat, which as the name suggests concerns a group of people in a lifeboat, there was limited scope for a cameo appearance. He therefore appears in the "before" and "after" pictures in an ad for "Reduco Obesity Slayer" in the newspaper being read by William Bendix.
In Psycho wearing a cowboy hat, he can be seen through Janet Leigh’s window as she returns to her office.
His appearances became so popular that he began to make them earlier in his films so as not to distract the audience from the plot.
Sitting next to Cary Grant in To Catch a Thief
- Hitchcock was renowned for casting blonde actresses in the leads and for having a roving eye.
- In 1962, whilst The Birds was in post-production, he was interviewed by Francois Triffaut. This is from that interview:
Hitchcock: "You know why I favor sophisticated blondes in my films? We're after the drawing-room type, the real ladies, who become whores once they're in the bedroom."
Triffaut: "What intrigues you is the paradox between the inner fire and the cool surface."
Hitchcock: "Definitely. . . . Do you know why? Because sex should not be advertised. . . . Because without the element of surprise the scenes become meaningless. There's no possibility to discover sex."
- Tippi Hedren, the lead in The Birds (and the mother of Melanie Griffith) has referred to Hitchcock as a misogynist who effectively ended her career by keeping her to an exclusive contract for two years when she rebuffed his sexual advances. In 2012, Hedren described Hitchcock as a "sad character"; a man of "unusual genius", yet "evil, and deviant, almost to the point of dangerous, because of the effect that he could have on people that were totally unsuspecting."
By the way moment:
Anyone who would like to have a quick look at 17 mosaics dealing with Hitchcock and his films can do so by clicking on:
They were installed at the entrance corridors to Leytonstone tube station in 1999 to mark 100 years since his birth in Leytonstone and to commemorate his link with the area.