Most people have at least a vague idea of who Alfred Hitchcock was. He was a guy that made old black-and-white movies, right? And yes, it’s true that Hitchcock did that. More educated people may even know some of his films, such as Psycho and The Birds. But Alfred Hitchcock has a long list of achievements that may surprise you if you’re not intimately familiar with his oeuvre. There’s a good reason he still appears on so many movie t shirts. Take a gander at the following list and decide for yourself whether or not Alfred Hitchcock is the greatest director of all time.
Alfred Hitchcock created the first British “talkie”. Now, a movie is called a movie because it’s a picture that moves. So “movie” is a kind of cute or diminutive word for a motion picture. What a lot of people don’t know is that the first films to involve spoken, audible dialogue were called “talkies” in a similar manner. The very first British talkie was Alfred Hitchcock’s 1929 film, Blackmail. This was an important landmark in British film.
Alfred Hitchcock also had his own style of cinematography. So-called Hitchcockian cinematography is where the camera moves the same way a person’ head would move if they were present in the scene. For example, if two people are sitting at opposite ends of a table and talking to one another, a lot of films would skip from one person to the other using so-called jump cuts, changing angles to show each person’s face in turn. However, the Hitchcockian style would be to slowly pan the camera from one end of the table to the other whenever one person stopped speaking and another person started. This gives a greater sense of tension and makes the viewer feel present on set.
The Birds, one of Hitchcock’s most well-known films, was filmed using three kinds of bird. First, there were flocks of wild birds, which were used as backgrounds. This gives the impression that thousands of birds are involved in the events of the film. Second, there are mechanical birds and props designed to look like birds, which allowed Hitchcock to make scenes with birds doing things that birds could not normally do. Finally, there were real birds that were trained to do specific things. With all three of these kinds of props, he was able to make a technically proficient and compelling film.
Alfred Hitchcock was a genius, no doubt. But there is much more to discover about him than most people know.