“Drama is life with the dull bits cut out.”
Every time there’s a discussion about who is the best filmmaker of all time, Alfred Hitchcock pops into our minds. Even though he isn’t as popular as a Christopher Nolan, there’s little doubt in the fact that without Hitchcock’s innovative filmmaking, Nolan wouldn’t be able to make the kind of movies he does.
Every industry has that one pioneer who would push the envelope of what one might deem ‘acceptable’.
Alfred Hitchcock wasn’t just one of the greatest directors of all time; he was also one of the film world’s most reliable founts of wit and wisdom. In an age where cinema is run by reboots and sequels, Hitchcock’s unique brand of cinema has transcended through generations and keeps inspiring young filmmakers. While the movie industry is full of celebrated directors whose legacy gets forgotten and whose works are way past their shelf-life, Hitchcock’s movies are still viewed with the same excitement as before.
Psycho still stands out as one of the best movies ever.
Psycho is one of the most celebrated movies of all time. Even though a lot of other directors have had their films remade but no director has ever tried recreating a movie shot-by-shot. Gus Van Sant’s Psycho (1998) was a bad idea, but it’s the thought that counts. The ‘Wilhelm scream‘ and the brilliant climax are testament of his superior skills as a director.
He never stuck to a single genre and the wide variety of his works prove that.
Rebecca is a gorgeous Gothic women’s picture; Strangers on a Train, a key exposition of the madman hero; Rear Window and Vertigo, superb commentaries on watching film; North by Northwest, a brilliant view of a frivolous Cary Grant being sobered by feelings; Psycho, a scream of horror at the idea of madness; and The Birds, an audacious use of science fiction apocalypse to dramatize intimate emotional insecurity.
While Psycho is his most popular work, Vertigo is his best movie.
While a lot is said about his works, Psycho is the first movie that comes to your mind when someone mentions Alfred Hitchcock. It’s a little sad considering the fact that Vertigo was his best movie. Some might argue that Vertigo is probably the greatest movie ever made, but the sheer presence of Vertigo in his filmography shows that Hitchcock wasn’t just a one-trick pony.
His cinematography, camera work and editing set the benchmark in the film industry.
Hitchcock’s filmmaking skills often relied on his obsession with control. His stylised visuals and path-breaking camera skills provides us a great insight into what went inside the master storyteller’s head. The tracking shots and the voyeuristic approach to camera-work puts the audience in the shoes of the characters. Any filmmaker who can make you live the movie through the eyes of a character is a genius and Hitchcock was precisely that.
His movies would overcome overwhelming technical odds but still be brilliant cinema.
Fascinated by the technical side of the movies, Hitchcock worked meticulously on his scripts, hiring artists to draw storyboards of every shot. He claimed when the screenplay was finished, it was all downhill. Lifeboat took place entirely within a small boat, and Rope was knitted together out of unbroken 10- minute takes. Rear Window had the protagonist put together pieces of a murder mystery together only with the help of what he could see using his binoculars.
There are no philosophical statements in his work, except ironic ones.
Hitchcock aimed his films at the audience. He used our impulses and fantasy lives, wove them through his plots and filmed his movies as if they were dreams. He was a man of moral seriousness who understood the modern condition of anxiety and fear. Hitchcock showed us the violent, psychotic fruits of our impulses. And in his films, Hitchcock’s characters shared their impulses with us.
A lot of people might argue that he has never won an Academy award for his works but what he achieved was way more valuable.
The man considered the greatest director of all time, whose films have affected millions and changed the history of cinema, never received an Academy Award for best director. He might not have an award to show for his good work but what he possesses can make even the biggest directors jealous. His works have become a staple of modern pop-culture and that’ll always stay with him.
“Everything’s perverted in a different way, isn’t it?” While he might not be with us now, his works continue to inspire generations of cinephiles and filmmakers.