Legendary filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock was born 115 years ago, on August 13th, 1899. The Master of Suspense left behind an outstanding oeuvre of some of the greatest films in cinematic history, including “Vertigo,” “Psycho,” “Rear Window” and “North by Northwest.
“A great story is like life with the dull parts taken out.”
Alfred Hitchcock – the director of a number of classic films. His style of movie making makes him probably the most respected filmmakers of all time.
What can we learn from the Master of Suspense?
Drama is life with the dull bits cut out.
Reality is something that none of us can stand, at any time.
Always make the audience suffer as much as possible.
“Fear isn’t so difficult to understand. After all, weren’t we all frightened as children? Nothing has changed since Little Red Riding Hood faced the big bad wolf.
What frightens us today is exactly the same sort of thing that frightened us yesterday. It’s just a different wolf.
This fright complex is rooted in every individual.” I’m full of fears and I do my best to avoid difficulties and any kind of complications. I like everything around me to be clear as crystal and completely calm.
If I won’t be myself, who will?
Luck is everything.
“Ideas come from everything”
Suspense is like a woman. The more left to the imagination, the more the excitement. … The conventional big-bosomed blonde is not mysterious. And what could be more obvious than the old black velvet and pearls type? The perfect ‘woman of mystery’ is one who is blonde, subtle and Nordic. …
9. VERTIGO – TURNING POINT
One of the first things we can learn from Alfred Hitchcock is how to weave an intriguing plot. In creative writing stories, we are taught that any good story has a beginning, middle and end. We also learn that in order to have these basics in a story, we have to use the dramatic structure for fiction. In Hitchcock movies, he strictly adheres to this literary technique, even when the story has a number of twists and turns. A good example of a tightly woven Hitchcock movie is “Vertigo.” We can clearly see what the turning point is for the main character.
10. FACIAL EXPRESSIONS AND BODY LANGUAGE
Dialogue should simply be a sound among other sounds, just something that comes out of the mouths of people whose eyes tell the story in visual terms.
Hitchcock also is a master of creating conflict in his movies. Although his characters experience external conflict, the biggest conflicts are usually internal. He creates internal conflict by focusing on the facial expressions and body language of his characters.
11. HITCHCOCK IS THE MASTER OF SUSPENSE
Hitchcock is the master of suspense. Hitchcock uses camera angles and lighting to create a sense of foreboding in his movies. When the camera tightens on the characters’ faces, we feel the fear that is enclosing them.
12. INFUSION OF HUMOR
However, he is able to infuse humor in the movies in the most bizarre ways. He does this by creating characters that seem to be out of place and by using witty, satirical dialogue. In the movie “North by Northwest,” Cary Grant is on the run because of mistaken identity. Despite the fact that his life is in danger, Hitchcock gives Grant these witty one-liners that seem to fit seamlessly into the harrowing situation that he is in. Very few filmmakers can do this without the humor being completely out of place or making the movie a parody.
He Made a Rule That No One Would Be Let in to See Psycho After the Film Began. One of the biggest surprises in cinema history is the muder of Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) in the famous shower scene in 1960′s Psycho. Marion is established as the main character of the film, only to be killed off less than a hour in to the film. During this time in movie-going, people would often walk in to a film mid way through, then stay until the film started again and reached the point where they came in. But, in the lobbies of theatres showing Psycho, there were cardboard cut outs of Hitchcock, pointing to his watch, with a message stating,
“The manager of this theatre has been instructed at the risk of his life, not to admit to the theatre any persons after the picture starts. Any spurious attempts to enter by side doors, fire escapes or ventilating shafts will be met by force. The entire objective of this extraordinary policy, of course, is to help you enjoy PSYCHO more. Alfred Hitchcock.”
There was also a record playing background music in theatres that occasionally said “Ten minutes to Psycho time,” “Five minutes to Psycho time.”
14. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF
His First Directing Job Was an Accident. Hitchcock became a title designer for Lasky Studio in the 1920s, designing the titles for their films over the next two years. In 1923, the director of the film Always Tell Your Wife became ill and Hitchcock completed the film. This was how he met his future wife and collaborator, Alma Reville, who was an editor at the time. The studio, impressed by Hitchcock’s work, gave him his first full directing job on Number 13, which was never completed due to Lasky shutting down its British operation.
Hitchcock was then hired as an assistant director by the company that would eventually become Gainsborough Pictures. Hitchcock worked as a title designer, art director and writer for several of their films. He finally directed a complete film with 1925′s The Pleasure Garden, which began him on his to path to being a major director.
15. GREAT STORY
A great story is like life with the dull parts taken out.