Alfred Hitchcock – In Search of Suspense

The_Birds_original_posterDue to his double statute of director and film producer, Alfred Hitchcock (13 August 1899 – 29 April 1980) impresses posterity with fierce labour and remarkable talent transposed into over 50 films directed. He was born in London, where he carried out his astonishing cinematographic activity for a long time, and then he developed his directing skills in 1939, in the United States of America. He became accustomed to the field of cinematography when he was part of the Famous Players-Lasky Corporation, being in charge of creating subtitles for silent movies. This experience infused various feelings inside of him, which determined him to make a first attempt to produce the film Number thirteen, which he has however never finished.

Thus, The Pleasure Garden (1925) genuinely represents his first film. Subsequently, his style and preferred themes come to life in thrillers such as The Lodger (1926) and Blackmail (1929), works that have a great impact on the audience and on the critics, due to a variety of suspenseful scenes, a feature which undeniably strengthens his reputation.

Later, Alfred Hitchcock culminates in a number of films designed to provide him with a new iconic status in the British film industry: Murder (1930), The man who knew too much (1934) and The 39 steps (1935).

Once he stepped on the American soil, the well-known director Hitchcock became successful for the film Rebecca (1940), a great adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s novel, and a melodrama which won 11 Oscar nominations. Unlike many other directors, he awakes the interest of the movie fans with the intention of seducing, controlling and surprising them, transforming himself into a master of suspense. But despite these views on his work, it should be noted that his directing activity equally fosters a form of intellectuality, a vision which he offers us in Rope (1948), a film that exploits a series of reflections on evil, under the auspices of Nietzsche’s philosophy. However, the little success it provided him determined Alfred Hitchcock to reintegrate his creative vision in the conventional category of thrillers.

In 1958 he received the Golden Globe for the best series, and the ´50 – ´60s represent a prolific moment of his creation, which translate into real masterpieces, such as: Strangers on a train (1951), Dial M for Murder (1954), Rear Window (1954), North by Northwest (1959), Psycho (1960) and The Birds (1963). A major contribution to his enormous success also consisted in exemplary choosing the actors: James Stewart, Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, who gave a monumental atmosphere to his films. Moreover, the amplification of the performance is due to the composer Bernard , who created the soundtrack to Hitchcock’s films since 1957. It was a collaboration which can determine nothing but a perfect compositional harmony, in keeping with the ambiances for which the director strives.

He directs Frenzy in 1972, and Family Pot, his last film, in 1977. A year before his death, he is awarded a prize for all his work by the American Film Institute. He dies at the age of 80 in Los Angeles, but his creative spirit pervades whole generations, coming into prominence as a veritable sovereign of suspense and anxiety projected on the big screens of the world.

Adelina-Mihaela Poenaru (translated by Raluca Marin) 

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