Today is National Hitchcock Day, a day of celebrating and remembering the Master of Suspense, the man who was as much a colorful enigmatic character as the scores of films he directed, many of which stand as cinema’s all-time best, the one and only Alfred Hitchcock.
Hitchcock helmed films such as Psycho, The Birds, Vertigo, Rear Window, North By Northwest, Frenzy, Rope, and a multitude of others (15 of which are now collected on the Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection Blu-ray box set), creating a resume that not only stands the test of time, but remains a highly influential body of work, cinematic primers, and visual textbooks that scores of filmmakers in Hitchcock’s wake have studied, dissected, analyzed, and revered, using many of his techniques in their own productions. Hitchcock had a huge imagination and it showed in so many of his productions, be it his casting, framing, staging, the way his movies were shot, edited, and scored; imitations in the sincerest form of flattery and the in-sincerest form of thievery, the film landscape that Hitchcock planted by way of his expert movie landscaping remains terrain much treaded on by so many luminaries and rookies and all in between, who work not only in Hollywood, but film companies around the world.
And it wasn’t just the films: Hitchcock was also a larger than life figure physically, in every which way. His immense girth and verbal drawl, a slow patter of droll English vocalizing, in which his phrasing of the simple greeting “Good Evening” became an instant recognizable trademark for him, also led to his legend.
He was recently immortalized on the screen in the film Hitchcock (out today, March 12), in which Sir Anthony Hopkins drew us into the soul and intelligence of the man under an immense amount of film prosthetics which uncannily resembled the charismatic titular character. The film was based on a book which told the story behind the making of his most lauded and best remembered and arguably most influential film, Psycho, originally released in 1960. The book, entitled Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho was penned by author Stephen Rubello and is an extensive and passionate look at the making of the film, which almost singlehandedly ushered in the contemporary style of the horror/suspense film, and sported a soundtrack by the late Academy Award winner Bernard Herrman (Citizen Kane, Taxi Driver) which is still imitated to this very day in many film productions that attempt to hit the right targets that Psycho effortlessly did.
Rubello speaks about the film in more detail and discusses the director’s relationship with his wife Alma (tight-lipped and icily portrayed with full relish by Helen Mirren in the Hitchcock film), in these short videos below.
So celebrate all day today with some of your favorite Hitchcock movies, or choose some you’ve never seen before from the vast collection of eclectic visual tales of thrilling suspense and horror, with psychological battles of wits and wills and breathtaking claustrophobic action and appeal that runs the gamut, and remember one of the planet’s great filmmakers of the entire medium, the top shelf master craftsman, Alfred Hitchcock.