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Always ‘the Master’. His influence remains so all-pervasive in modern cinema it is perfectly possible to write a wry article about his oeuvre for the Guardian Guide without having watched a single one of his films all the way through. ‘I’d say it was compulsory behaviour for that benighted rag!’ ‘Unfair! Charlie Brooker shows no sign yet of flagging on the creative swearing front!’ The director’s director. It’s not often remarked that out of his many cameo appearances in his own films, two-thirds were entirely accidental.



  1. George White

    October 26, 2021 at 7:37 am

    Also, the Man who Knew too Much has Cream points for a. featuring a Wall’s ad and b. having Val Parnell as an actual character (played by Alan Mowbray), as Doris Day’s character is supposed to have played the Palladium before she married. His wife Helen appears too (played by a half-Native American actress, Alix Talton). I love that Hitchcock, who’d already featured the Palladium in the 39 Steps puts a big slice of British showbiz in his Paramount-shot Hollywood A+ picture. You can take the lad out of England, but…

  2. Richardpd

    October 26, 2021 at 10:47 pm

    I’ve mixed feelings about Hitchcock, one a good day he could really make a film special with lots of attention to detail, but supposedly behind the scenes he could be quite a bully, especially to the female stars.

  3. Sidney Balmoral James

    October 27, 2021 at 8:08 am

    I find a lot of Hitchcock’s films are too long and ponderous – even North by Northwest and The Birds drag for me. He was an ODD man no doubt , and clearly got a perverse thrill from tormenting cool blondes who wouldn’t have looked twice at a fat, jowly man like him. Frenzy remains genuinely disturbing, arguably one of the most misogynist films produced by a major talent – although Barry Foster is excellent in it (and it does have Bernard Cribbins, who I believe was the first choice to play Norman Bates, but had to pull out due to a long-standing booking to do cabaret at The Talk of the Town).

    • Droogie

      October 27, 2021 at 4:10 pm

      Alfred Hitchcock made more great films than any other director.
      (who else comes close?) From Blackmail to Frenzy (we’ll forget Family Plot ) his output is untouchable. Sure there are some clunkers in there and he had a weird attitude to his lead actresses, but he created more classic movies than anyone else.

  4. Glenn Aylett

    August 7, 2023 at 7:31 pm

    Psycho must still rate as one of the scariest films ever made. Being made in black and white, when nearly all Hollywood films had gone over to colour, makes it even more sinister. While everyone knows of the terrifying shower scene with the screaming violins, more frightening is where Mother is revealed as a skeleton in a dress and a wig. Top marks to Anthony Perkins for going from romantic roles in the 1950s to one of the scariest movie villains of all time, a role he would reprise three times later in his career. We all know horror regulars like vampires and zombies don’t exist in the real world, but people like Norman Bates sadly can be real, and Hitchcock knew this when he created Pyscho.
    Fanily Plot, one of Hitchcock’s last films and his least regarded, is a decent watch and the car going down the hill with no brakes is another moment Hitchcock can really scare you.

  5. Richardpd

    August 7, 2023 at 10:43 pm

    Hitchcock really went to town, almost literally with Rear window building a massive set for the apartments James Stewart can see from the titular rear window. The occupants were given then revolutionary earpieces so they could be directed remotely by Hitchcock.

    He even managed to sneak in some British made Ford Zephyrs in the background to help give some perspective as they looked like smaller versions of contemporary American cars.

    Supposedly Psycho was shot in black & white because of the amount of blood in the shower scene would have been too gory to get by the censors had it been in colour. It also helped to keep costs down.

  6. Glenn Aylett

    August 8, 2023 at 9:08 am

    @ Richardpd, the blood was chocolate sauce, which blended in with the black and white film. Also Anthony Perkins spying on Janet Leigh in her underwear was very daring for 1960. Psycho was a classic, one of the first films to gain an X certificate, and was considered so cotroversial, it wasn’t shown on British television until the late seventies.
    Another of Hitchcock’s films I really enjoy is North By Northwest, a less unsettling film than Psycho or The Birds, with its fight scene on Mount Rushmore and the cameo of Hitch in the phone booth.

    • Richardpd

      August 8, 2023 at 10:53 pm

      Yes I’ve heard of the chocolate sauce being use for blood in Psycho.

      I also like North By Northwest, Cary Grant is on top form, especially when he has to survive on his wits & doesn’t know who to trust.

  7. Sidney Balmoral James

    August 8, 2023 at 7:12 pm

    Psycho was a watershed film for Hitchcock – and he clearly struggled thereafter to balance the ‘master of suspense’ role with his nastier impulses, resulting in some quite erratic films like Torn Curtain (dull spy plod with chemistry-free leads, but with a violent murder mid-way through) and Frenzy (memories of London of his childhood, and typical ‘wrong man’ plot, with a graphic rape and murder scene); Marnie is also a very conflicted film.

  8. Glenn Aylett

    August 9, 2023 at 7:41 pm

    I did read Hitchcock had some very nasty experiences in his youth that could have affected him, such as father asking the police to lock in a cell for misbehaving( Hitchcock disliked the police from then), to the brutal treatment by Jesuit priests at school( hence no love for priests), and also feeling inadequate by being not sent to the front lines in World War One and being confined to garrison duties in England( health issues). While probably he made up for this by becoming a very successful and wealthy director, Hitchcock was hardly a movie idol looks wise like Cary Grant and James Stewart and was a podgy, moon faced man who could be quite aggressive around good looking women in his films that he had no chance with.

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