skip navigation
Alfred Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock

Up
Down

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (18)

Recent DVDs

The Enforcer ... Humphrey Bogart (THE MALTESE FALCON) is in fine form as a crusading District... more info $19.47was $29.95 Buy Now

Dial M for Murder ... When American writer Mark Halliday visits the very married Margot Wendice in... more info $30.95was $35.99 Buy Now

Henri Langlois: Phantom of the... For forty years, Henri Langlois presided over the Cinemathques Francaise with... more info $17.95was $24.95 Buy Now

The 39 Steps (Criterion... THE 39 STEPS is a heart-racing spy story by Alfred Hitchcock (PSYCHO), following... more info $29.96was $39.95 Buy Now

Also Known As: Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, Sir Alfred Hitchcock Died: April 29, 1980
Born: August 13, 1899 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Leytonstone, England, GB Profession: director, screenwriter, producer, assistant director, production designer, title designer, layout assistant, technical estimator, sketch artist

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

after stumbling upon an assassination plot. After directing Henry Fonda in "The Wrong Man" (1956), a searing indictment of the American justice system, he directed his second great masterpiece of the decade, "Vertigo" (1958), a deeply personal film that was largely dismissed by critics at the time. The film starred James Stewart â¿¿ in his last collaboration with the director â¿¿ as Scottie Ferguson, a cop who turns private investigator after his fear of heights leads to the death of a fellow officer; he is tasked by a college friend to follow his enigmatic wife (Kim Novak), only to witness her apparent death after falling in love with her. The complex thriller was also a miss with audiences, but later grew in stature to be considered one of the best films Hitchcock ever made. Hitting upon familiar themes of lost identity and sexual obsession while echoing his finest earlier works like "Shadow of a Doubt" and "Notorious," "Vertigo" was as haunting and atmospheric a film as Hitchcock ever produced.Immediately following "Vertigo," Hitchcock made what many would call his greatest film, "North by Northwest" (1959), certainly one of his most fully realized films. From a script by Ernest Lehman and...

after stumbling upon an assassination plot. After directing Henry Fonda in "The Wrong Man" (1956), a searing indictment of the American justice system, he directed his second great masterpiece of the decade, "Vertigo" (1958), a deeply personal film that was largely dismissed by critics at the time. The film starred James Stewart â¿¿ in his last collaboration with the director â¿¿ as Scottie Ferguson, a cop who turns private investigator after his fear of heights leads to the death of a fellow officer; he is tasked by a college friend to follow his enigmatic wife (Kim Novak), only to witness her apparent death after falling in love with her. The complex thriller was also a miss with audiences, but later grew in stature to be considered one of the best films Hitchcock ever made. Hitting upon familiar themes of lost identity and sexual obsession while echoing his finest earlier works like "Shadow of a Doubt" and "Notorious," "Vertigo" was as haunting and atmospheric a film as Hitchcock ever produced.

Immediately following "Vertigo," Hitchcock made what many would call his greatest film, "North by Northwest" (1959), certainly one of his most fully realized films. From a script by Ernest Lehman and possessing a chilling score from Bernard Herrmann, "North by Northwest" starred Cary Grant â¿¿ in his last Hitchcock film â¿¿ as a carefree advertising executive pulled into a web of deceit and intrigue after a case of mistaken identity leads him in a cross-country chase to shake an espionage syndicate thatâ¿¿s after a lost microfilm â¿¿ Hitchcockâ¿¿s most classic MacGuffin. Along the way, he engages in a romance with a seemingly innocent train passenger (Eva Marie Saint), only to learn that sheâ¿¿s a plant meant to set him up for a fall. Full of exciting action sequences, particularly when Grant is chased down in an open field by a crop duster, "North by Northwest" was a masterfully orchestrated thriller that featured ingenious cinematography, subtle male-female give-and-take, a tense dramatic score, bright Technicolor, inside jokes, witty symbolism and a famous climatic sequence atop of Mount Rushmore..

Hitchcock went from one of his greatest artistic achievements to his most commercially successful movie with "Psycho" (1960), a groundbreaking thriller that caused a great deal of controversy for its then-explicit depiction of sexuality and violence. Both were most vividly expressed in the filmâ¿¿s famed shower scene, where a Phoenix secretary, Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), finds herself the victim of a knife-wielding psychopath who repeatedly and graphically stabs her nude frame in the shower. The shock of the violence â¿¿ as well as the murder of the alleged protagonist during the first act of the film â¿¿ both disturbed and delighted audiences, who remained increasingly on edge as the movie progressed, revealing that the true star was disturbed taxidermist, Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), who runs the isolated Bates Motel while adopting the personality of his long-dead mother in killing hapless victims. Hitchcockâ¿¿s use of shock instead of suspense in the shower scene helped create one of the most famous sequences in all of cinema history, paving the way for numerous slasher flicks throughout the decades.

While "Psycho" could be seen as the last great film of his most vibrant period, Hitchcock did have one last brush with greatness in "The Birds" (1963), a horror thriller about a socialite (Tippi Hedren â¿¿ yet another "Hitchcock Blonde") who finds herself trapped in a seacoast town beset by a massive flock of birds intent on attacking and killing the townsfolk. "The Birds" was the final Hitchcock film to earn both critical and financial success, as the director entered into his most disappointing phase plagued by mediocre films and increasingly poor health. He next directed "Marnie" (1964), a psychoanalytical thriller along the lines of "Spellbound" that showed how a violent, sexually tinged childhood episode turns a woman (Hedren) into a thief. After "Torn Curtain" (1966), an espionage story played against a cold war backdrop and starring Paul Newman, Hitchcock made the disappointing "Topaz" (1969), an unfocused thriller set during the Cuban missile crisis.

Hitchcock returned to England to produce "Frenzy" (1972) with his reputation as a box office success in tatters following three straight flops. The thriller was much more in the Hitchcock vein, with its plot about an innocent man (Jon Finch) suspected of being a serial killer, and became an international hit that rebuilt his Hollywood stature. But he would only make one more film, the mild comedic thriller "Family Plot" (1976), before ill health and concern for his wife, Alma, after she suffered a stroke, took center stage. Though he planned to make an espionage thriller "The Short Night," it never made it past the development stage and Universal Pictures pulled it from their slate in 1979. Hitchcock died on April 29, 1980 from kidney failure in his Bel Air home. He was 80 years old and left behind a body of work that served as inspiration for countless Hollywood artists, while maintaining a high-level of public interest even decades after his death.

By Shawn Dwyer film was a big hit with audiences and marked the start of Hitchcockâ¿¿s greatest stretch.

Following a number of memorable films that included minor works such as "I Confess" (1953) and the sophisticated "Dial M for Murder" (1954), starring the most alluring of his leading ladies, Grace Kelly, Hitchcock directed the first of three unassailable masterpieces, "Rear Window" (1954). The film starred James Stewart as an adventurous photojournalist taken to spying on his neighbors while on the mend from a badly broken leg. His new perch takes a startling turn when he suspects one of his tenement neighbors, Lars Thorwald (Raymond Burr), of killing his nagging bedridden wife, leading to a tense sequence where he hopelessly watches his fashion model girlfriend (Grace Kelly) break into the apartment to find clues. A taut and highly entertaining mediation on the theme of voyeurism, "Rear Window" was an instant classic and ranked high as one of Hitchcockâ¿¿s best movies. He next directed the more lighthearted romp, "To Catch a Thief" (1955), which starred Cary Grant as a retired jewel thief suspected of returning to his old tricks after a series of copycat burglaries crop up on the French Riviera. This light, breezy and deceptively simple romantic thriller featured great sexual interplay between Grant and Kelly, both of whom remained Hitchcockâ¿¿s most attractive leads.

Having staked his claim as the Master of Suspense, Hitchcock turned in his second comedy with "The Trouble with Harry" (1955), which starred Shirley MacLaine as a mother whose son (Jerry Mathers) discovers the body of her ex-husband in the woods, leading to a madcap effort between her and a retired sea captain (Edmund Gwenn) to hide the body since both think they are responsible. Certainly not the most notable Hitchcock effort, it remained one of the directorâ¿¿s personal favorites. Also that year, Hitchcock stepped into the television world with the popular anthology series "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (CBS/NBC, 1955-1965), which started as a half-hour series before being expanded to a full hour and retitled "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" in 1962. The showâ¿¿s title sequence was almost as famous as the show itself, which featured a simple caricature of Hitchcockâ¿¿s profile â¿¿ drawn by the man himself â¿¿ which would dissolve when his silhouette would step into it while Charles Gounodâ¿¿s "The Funeral March of a Marionette" played over it. Hitchcock would then wish the audience a "Good Evening," before introducing the episode. Already famous for his movies, Hitchcock was vaulted into celebrity status thanks to the popular series.

Back in features, Hitchcock remade his 1934 classic, "The Man Who Knew Too Much" (1956), this time casing James Stewart and Doris Day as the parents trying to protect their son

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Family Plot (1976) Director
2.
  Frenzy (1972) Director
3.
  Topaz (1969) Director
4.
  Torn Curtain (1966) Director
5.
  Marnie (1964) Director
6.
  The Birds (1963) Director
7.
  Psycho (1960) Director
8.
  North by Northwest (1959) Director
9.
  Vertigo (1958) Director
10.
  The Wrong Man (1957) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Night Will Fall (2015)
2.
 Innocent Blood (1992) Man With Cello Case
3.
 Frenzy (1972) Bystander
4.
 Topaz (1969) Man being pushed in wheelchair
5.
 Torn Curtain (1966) Man with baby on lap, sitting in hotel lobby
6.
 Marnie (1964) Man in hotel corridor
7.
 The Birds (1963) Man at pet shop
8.
 Psycho (1960) Man in front of real estate office
9.
 North by Northwest (1959) Man rushing toward bus
10.
 Vertigo (1958) Man walking past shipyard
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1920:
Began career as title designer for London branch of Famous Players-Lasky
:
Made head of title department
1922:
Made assistant director when Famous Players taken over by Michael Balcon's production company
1922:
Short film directing debut with "Number 13/Mrs. Peabody" (never completed)
1923:
Hired as assistant director by Balcon-Saville-Freedman
1923:
First film as assistant director, art director and sole writer "Woman to Woman"
1925:
Feature film directing debut with "The Pleasure Garden"
1927:
Made the suspense thriller "The Lodger", starring Ivor Novello
1927:
Co-wrote (with Alma Reville) and directed, "The Ring"
1929:
Directed first British synchronous sound film "Blackmail"; also co-wrote script with Charles Bennet and Benn W. Levy
1930:
Set up public relations firm Hitchcock Baker Productions
1932:
Wrote and directed the comedy thriller "Number Seventeen"
1934:
Helmed "The Man Who Knew Too Much"
1935:
Directed the classic "The 39 Steps"
1938:
Made "The Lady Vanishes"
1939:
Signed by David O. Selznick, moved to Hollywood
1940:
American film directing debut with "Rebecca", which won the Best Picture Oscar; received first Academy Award nomination as Best Director
1941:
Made the atypical screwball comedy "Mr. and Mrs. Smith"
1941:
Directed Joan Fontaine in an Oscar-winning performance in "Suspicion"; first film with Cary Grant
1943:
Made "Saboteur" and "Shadow of a Doubt"
1944:
Earned second Best Director Oscar nomination with "Lifeboat"
1945:
Helmed "Spellbound", the first of three films with Ingrid Bergman; earned third Academy Award nomination as Best Director
1946:
Made the classic "Notorious", featuring Bergman and Grant
1948:
Initial collaboration with James Stewart, "Rope"
1949:
Last film with Ingrid Bergman, "Under Capricorn"
1951:
Made "Strangers on a Train", starring Robert Walker and Farley Granger
1953:
Helmed "I Confess", starring Montgomery Clift as a priest
1954:
Directed Grant and Grace Kelly in "Dial M for Murder"
1954:
Teamed Kelly with James Stewart in "Rear Window"; fourth Oscar nomination for Best Director
1955:
Third film with Grace Kelly, "To Catch a Thief"; also starred Cary Grant
1955:
Hosted and executive produced the anthology series "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (CBS, 1955-1960; NBC, 1960-1962); also directed 17 episodes
1956:
Remade "The Man Who Wasn't There" with James Stewart and Doris Day
:
Produced the anthology series "Suspicion" (NBC); directed one episode ("Four o'Clock")
1958:
Last film with James Stewart, "Vertigo"
1959:
Final collaboration with Cary Grant, "North by Northwest"
1960:
Directed the classic "Psycho", featuring Anthony Perkins; earned fifth and last Best Director Oscar nomination
1960:
Helmed the "Incident at a Corner" episode of "Ford Star Time" (CBS)
:
Hosted and executive produced "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" (CBS, 1962-1964; NBC, 1964-1965); also directed the episode entitled "I Saw the Whole Thing"
1963:
First of two films with Tippi Hedren, "The Birds"
1964:
Second movie with Hedren, "Marnie"
1966:
Teamed Julie Andrews and Paul Newman in "Torn Curtain"
1969:
Helmed the spy thriller "Topaz"
1972:
Directed "Frenzy", about a serial killer
1976:
Final feature, "Family Plot"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

University of London: -
School of Engineering and Navigation: -
St Ignatius College: - 1908

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Alma Lucy Reville. Film editor, script girl. Born c. 1900; married in 1926; survived him; died on July 6, 1982.

Family close complete family listing

father:
William Hitchcock. Poultry dealer, fruit importer. Catholic, died when Hitchcock was 14 on December 12, 1914.
mother:
Emma Hitchcock. Catholic.
daughter:
Patricia Hitchcock O'Connell. Born c. 1929.

Bibliography close complete biography

"Hitch: The Life and Times of Alfred Hitchcock" Pantheon
"Hitchcock" Simon & Schuster
"The Hitchcock Romance"
"Hitchcock: The Murderous Gaze"
"Hitchcock on Hitchcock: Selected Writings and Interviews"
"The Dark Side of Genius: The Life of Alfred Hitchcock" Da Capo Press
"Hitchcock's Notebooks: An Authentic and Illustrated Look at the Mind of Alfred Hitchcock" Spike
"Hitchcock Becomed 'Hitchcock': The British Years" Midnight Marquee Press
"English Hitchcock" Cameron & Hollis
"Writing with Hitchcock: The Collaboration of Alfred Hitchcock and John Michael Hayes" Faber and Faber
VIEW COMPLETE BIBLIOGRAPHY

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute