Biography of Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980)

British film director born in London on August 13, 1899 and died in Los Angeles (California, United States) on April 29, 1980. His full name was Alfred Joseph Hitchcock.


Alfred Hitchcock.

Born in a deeply Catholic family, he began his studies at the Jesuit College in Stamford Hill, London. Since childhood, he expressed great interest by reading and by the world of crime, this last aspect that made him a regular visitor to the Museum of the Horror of Scotland Yard, as well as to devour the dominical New of the world, dedicated to the information of the crimes in the country. With fourteen years he enters the school of naval engineers, Center abandoned the following year due to the death of his father. Their little knowledge of electricity enabled him to achieve a position in the company of Telegraph and Cable Henley, which attained an important professional recognition which allowed him to enter in other departments more interesting for him, as the advertising. At the time that impassioned with the American film he discovered the great writers of his country. He published his first stories in the magazine of the Henley company and ventured into the world of cinema in the newly opened London Islington studies of the American producer Famous Players Lasky, where he made a series of drawings for the signs of his films. He combined both jobs until the producer decided to hire him seen good result of their contributions.

Thus, in 1920 the young Alfred came squarely in the world of cinema as editor of titles, task which showed a high level in the definition of the stories and the characters, experience that helped him soon in preparing their own scripts. When the Famous Players Lasky left London, its premises were occupied by a series of small producers, one of which (formed by Victor Saville, Michael balcony and John Freedman) Hitchcock found shelter and might play all types of functions (screenwriter, Assistant direction, decorator, in charge of production, etc.) in several films of Graham Cutts, which will make your creative learning was frantic. At this time he met Alma Reville, with which most forward contract marriage (in 1926) and will be also screenwriter for many of his films. His capacity for work led him to be supported by balcony in dealing with his first film, the garden of joy (1925), an anglo-alemana co-production that was shot in Munich and Italy and which will have to overcome a thousand and one problems that at no time affected the final product of the film, which proved of great interest at the time.

The contract offered by Michael balcony to direct several films allowed him to overcome some setbacks and demonstrate that knew to tell stories and his style already suggested a particular line. With the enemy of Blondes (1926) he fought in the world of crime which, in this case, is held by the anguish of a false guilt of the character. The climate that created Hitchcock was marking the necessary guidelines to make the viewer feel trapped by the plot. This will be the only highlight of these years film until he was hired with a significant salary by John Maxwell, owner of the British International Pictures, which had a Studio at Elstree. Alfred there spent the next six years, during which addressed all types of movies including, especially, the ring (1927) and The Manxman (1929). Love triangles, melodramas exploited in a hostile atmosphere generated at the heart of a conservative attitude always conducive to human reactions of well defined morality. Alfred already showed a great interest in the detail, by symbolic elements that create a concern in the given spectator who become narrative elements of plot. No detail, however small, that must pass unnoticed, because perhaps it is one of the keys to history.

The British entered full production of sound films with the following work of Hitchcock, London (1929) girl. This film demanded a readjustment of its style to be able to fit the new expressive element that came from this date; surprisingly, in this case, Hitchcock to integrate with great skill above sound moments that hardly indicated that a silent version had. The emotional tension that permeates the plot - again an erroneous accusation, false appearances, feeling of guilt, etc - is increasing with the applied sound resources. On these principles is will be consolidated the career of Hitchcock in England, especially in films such as murder (1930), it is best bad thing known (1932) and, especially, with the 39 steps (1935) and alarm at the express (1938).

The hitchcockesque style began to be defined in this final stage of his work in England. He built 'his' thriller based on combining dramatic ingredients, other fruit of chance and implausible, confronting the (reasonably logical) everyday with the exceptional (that which exceeds the normality of the moments that his characters live), all from the subtle irony that pervades many actions and a strong narrative structure equipped with great rhythm. Perhaps the express alarm makes a difference and confirms much of the approaches that would be consolidated in the following input from Hitchcock.

David o. Selznick, who wanted to work with the director, called him out to Hollywood and continued his career in American cinema. He returned to worrying about the relationships of the characters in Rebecca (1940), the shadow of a doubt (1943) or shipwrecked (1943), starting from a reference that links them not appear onscreen; It would develop its original Visual ideas in Special Envoy (1940), produced by Walter Wanger, and excellent nightmare that is suspicion (1941), which includes one of his most famous scenes of this first time, that in which Cary Grant go up the stairs that lead to the bedroom of his wife, played by Joan Fontaine, with a glass of milk in a pan; on the other hand, he also insisted sabotage (1942) in the history of an individual who has fled after being accused of something it has not done. Above all they are symbolic, concerning elements that unite or will isolate the identities of the characters, all from a carefully selected, meticulously woven processing of narrative discourse of great visibility; However, not all of his works have been well regarded by critics, as it is the case of notorious (1946). In some of these films the characteristic is now wink hichcockiano, "Mac Guffin", the idea of complicity posed by the director at a certain moment of the film so that the Viewer, as well as the protagonists, worry of '' something '' has a major role in the history there is in reality, given that only mentioned in the plot and just shown visually. In this American boot several films received the Oscar of the Academy: Rebecca best film, best actress (Joan Fontaine) suspicion and reminiscent of the best music (composed by Miklós Rósza).

At the end of the Decade of the forties consolidated as a producer, at the same time involved in a series of films that showed some hesitation when it comes to round out their creative work. While notable successes can be seen in the rope (1948), expect up to strangers on a train (1951) so that it was again rediscovered with a history which is a pulse between the powers of good and evil and the psychological control that one exerts on the other. This collaboration with Warner will allow you to address two films with the same study, in one of which, perfect crime (1954), discover the actress Grace Kelly, who served as a bridge with the beginning of your period for Paramount where he will sign some of his following work.

This contact with the Paramount gave as a result the most prolific and intense moments as well as the most remembered of his career, as they confirm the success of the rear window (1954) and its television projects, which coincide with the vindication of his work in Europe, where was to roll to catch a thief (1955), film to receive an Oscar for best cinematography in color. Hitchcock would surprise in the proposal of some issues, such as the corpse of but... who killed Harry? (1955), figure that can not ever disturb peaceful everyday life, or the efficient balance of situations limit proposed in the man that he knew too much (1956), which won the Oscar for best song.

Alfred Hitchcock.

However, the central core of his contribution to the history of the cinema will focus on the following four films. In Vertigo (1958), it was proposed to extract life from being bland, which becomes harmony disturbed existence, love in tragedy; They hoped to show the hidden face of what is perceived: the woman (Judy), starring Kim Novak, watching Scottie (James Stewart) and that intended to be that he has loved (Madeleine). With the death in heels (1959) the director reunited with a film whose plot is based on flight and persecution from a very elaborate and complex visual architecture in its resolution. Psycho (1960) confirms the ability of Hitchcock to consolidate the emotions in the spectator from a superb put in scene that, like a Meccano set, is giving way to a visual sequence of singular force that comes spurting in moments of great clarity of the author, who combines the ambient perfection (stress, tragedy and fear, i.e., thriller) and sound resources that apply; This proposal will once again return to it in the birds (1963), where faces (and invest) the position of dominance between man and bird.

Perhaps the creative effort that brought all these films Hitchcock made the rest of his work to happen a bit unnoticed, while the Universal resented economically with each new title that produced him. This last stage should perhaps emphasize frenzy (1972), a reunion with guilty fake that, far from waiting for someone to help you in shedding light on his case, causes to the rebel all the mechanism put in place to clarify the truth.

The Hitchcock film reaffirms the false appearance of fiction, i.e., reflects on the essence of the cinema thanks to his skills as skilled conjurer of narrative elements, which are for him masterfully used to know use media that offers cinematographic language. Its narrative structure plays with time, defines the action of his characters and implicates the viewer in the plot that includes (especially through "point of view" with which the Viewer is identified with a particular character). Far from "scare", the Hitchcock film immerses the viewer in a State of panic imperceptible that makes it cling unconsciously to the Chair so that, when the outcome, you can rest easy and placed again in the dimension to everyday, real, recognizing that this particular fiction has "trapped it" unjustifiably. This doesn't mean that actions carried out in different and distant spaces in geographical frameworks that allow situations always irresistible limits by the visual dimension which provides the hitchcockesque story.

The cinema of the British teacher is consolidated on "presentations", that is, Visual resources (well always narrated) which applied at the time of show from the outset what is what is happening, in order to channel the public attention towards those paths that can confuse you, at the time giving a twist to the plot to ratify him that what seemed to be the opposite is true. Therefore, although these "presentations", those narrative starts its sense, more will have it some of its routes in which it elaborates making it clear that more than interested in the "history" are concerned about what happens between the characters involved in the plot.

For these and other reasons, the work of Hitchcock has been and will be certainly distinctive and unique, although it could only pick up an Oscar - the prize Irving Thalber - for his contribution to film production.


-As a director:

Short films:

1930: An Elastic Affair. 1944: Bon Voyage; Aventure Malgache.

Feature films:

1925: The garden of the alegria.1926: the Mountain Eagle; The enemy of Blondes (and co-writer). 1927: Downhill; Easy Virtue; The ring (and co-writer). 1928: The Farmer's Wife (and screenplay); Champagne (and co-writer). 1929: The Manxman; The girl from London (and co-writer). 1930: Elstree Calling; Juno and the Paycock (and co-writer); Murder (and co-writer). 1931: foul play (and co-writer). 1932: better is the bad name/rich and strange (and co-writer); Number 17 (and co-writer). 1934: waltzes from Vienna; The man who knew demasiado.1935: 39 escalones.1936: the secret agent; Sabotaje.1937: Innocence and juventud.1938: the expreso.1939 alarm: Posada Jamaica.1940: Rebecca; Sent especial.1941: original marriage; Suspicion (and producer). 1942: sabotage (and argument). 1943: shadow of a doubt; Naufragos.1945: Recuerda.1946: chained (producer and argument). 1947: the Paradine.1948 process: the rope (and co-producer). 1949: Atormentada (and co-producer). 1950: panic in the scene (and co-producer). 1951: strangers on a train (and producer). 1952: I confess (and producer). 1954: perfect crime (and producer and screenwriter); Window indiscreet (and producer). 1955: to catch a thief (and producer); But... who killed Harry? (and producer). 1956: the man who knew too much (and producer). 1957: guilty false (and producer). 1958: Vertigo / from the dead (and producer). 1959: with death in heels (and producer). 1960: psychosis (and producer). 1963: birds (and producer). 1964: Marnie, the thief (and producer). 1966: torn curtain (and producer). 1969: Topaz (and producer). 1972: frenzy (and producer).1976: The plot (and producer).

-Works as a Letterer:

1920: The Call of Youth; The Great Day.1921: Appearances; The Princess of New York; Dangerous Lies; The Mystery Road; Beside the Bonnie Briar Bush.1922: Three Live Ghosts; The Man From Home, A Spanish Jade; Perpetual; Tell Your Children.

-As co-writer, decorator and Director Assistant:

1923: Always Tell Your Wife; From woman to woman; The White Shadow.1924: The Passionate Adventure.1925: The Blackguard; The Prude completo Fall.

-As a producer:

1932: lord Camber's Ladies.

-Works for television:

1955: Collapse (and producer); The case of Mr. Pelham (and producer); Revenge (and producer). 1956: Saturday rain (and producer); Return to Christmas (and producer); The secret of Mr Blanchard (and producer). 1957: A mile to reach (and producer); The perfect crime; At four o'clock in the punto.1958: A dip in the sea; Lamb for dinner; Veneno.1959: The Chair of the killer; Arthur; The coffin of cristal.1960: La Mrs Bixby and the Colonel jacket; Incident in an esquina.1961: the player (and producer); Bang!, are muerto.1962: I saw everything!


ALBERICH, and Alfred Hitchcock. The power of the image. Barcelona: Publications Fabregat, 1987.

CASTRO DE PAZ, J. L. Vértigo / from the dead. Barcelona: Paidós, 1999.

FREEMAN, D. Les derniers jours d'Hitchcock. Paris: Éditions Jade, 1985.

HARRIS, R. A. and LASY, M. S. all the films of Alfred Hitchcock. Barcelona: Paidós Ibérica, 1995.

SPOTO, D. Alfred Hitchcock: the dark side of genius. Barcelona: T & B publishers, 1998.

TAYLOR, J. R. Hitch: The Life and Times of Alfred Hitchcock (The Authorised Biography). New York: Pantheon, 1974.

TRUFFAUT, F. The film according to Hitchcock. Madrid: Alianza Editorial, 1974.