Masters Showcase: Alfred Hitchcock
The big kahuna himself! Now, I know that you know that I could go on for far too long talking about Mr. Hitchcock and his films. And I'm sure many of you know all about his legacy on cinema, and so, for these reasons, I will try to keep it relatively brief here.
The 'Master of Suspense' is one of the clear pioneers of modern cinema. Although I previously mentioned that Kubrick was the father of the blockbuster, Hitch was arguably the father of the smash-hits (yes, I'm using that as a technical term here). Unlike any previous director, swathes and swathes of people would rush out to see every new film that Mr. Hitchcock made making him an undeniable Hollywood sensation. And for good reason! Throughout the 30's-60's, Hitch really did reinvent the filmgoing experience, changing the medium to a more exciting and plot-driven experience. One of his greatest legacies, was how he was able to craft and build suspense throughout films and sequences using new and innovative film techniques in an era where there was still heavy censorship for films (no violence, no nudity, no "immorality"). Take one of his most famous scenes as an example: in Psycho's infamous shower scene, Hitch utilized Eisenstein's classic montage theory to create one of the scariest scenes of all-time. Sure, the incredible score helped with it, but, if you watch closely, you will notice that at no point is there any 'true violence'; the film never shows the knife actually contacting Janet Leigh's Marion Crane. It is in the juxtaposition of fast-cutting disparate images that creates the plot sequence in the viewer's mind, which is that Marion is being murdered (in terrifying fashion, no less). This really is one small example of Hitch's incredible talent and auteurship. On top of his famous thrillers, Hitchcock also had great success in dramas, romances, true horrors (though The Birds is a tad dated now...), as well, he had a strong grasp on comedy that he infused into all of the above genres. For all that he gave to cinema he is undoubtedly one of the all-time masters.
1. Rear Window (1954)
2. Vertigo (1958)
3. Psycho (1960)
4. North By Northwest (1959)