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Alfred Hitchcock
Biographical Information

Birth Date:August 13, 1899
Astrology Sign:Leo
Chinese Sign: -
Birth Name:Alfred Joseph Hitchcock
Birth Place:Leytonstone, London, England
Died Date:April 29, 1980

Occupation:Film/TV Director

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Alfred Hitchcock

Biography:Alfred Hitchcock

Early life Alfred Hitchcock was born on August 13, 1899, in Leytonstone, London, the second son and youngest of the three children of William Hitchcock, a greengrocer, and his wife, Emma Jane Hitchcock (née Whelan). His family was mostly Irish Catholic. Hitchcock was sent to Catholic boarding schools in London. He has said his childhood was very lonely and sheltered.

At an early age, after acting childishly, Hitchcock claimed that his father sent him to the local police station carrying a note. When he presented the police officer on duty with the note, he was locked in a cell for a few moments, petrifying the young child. This was a favorite anecdote of his, one which is often suggested to be the cause for the theme of distrust of police which runs through many of his films.

At 14, Hitchcock lost his father and left the Jesuit-run St Ignatius' College in Stamford Hill, his school at the time, to study at the School for Engineering and Navigation. After graduating, he became a draftsman and advertising designer with a cable company.

About that time, Hitchcock became intrigued by photography and started working in film in London. In 1920, he obtained a full-time job at Islington Studios under its American owners, Players-Lasky, and their British successors, Gainsborough Pictures, designing the titles for silent movies.

Pre-war British career As a major talent in a new industry with plenty of opportunity, he rose quickly. In 1925, Michael Balcon of Gainsborough Pictures gave him a chance to direct his first film, The Pleasure Garden, made at the Ufa studios in Germany. However, the commercial failure of this film, and his second, The Mountain Eagle, threatened to derail his promising career, until he attached himself to the thriller genre. The resulting film, The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog, was released in 1927 and was a major commercial and critical success. Like many of his earlier works it was influenced by Expressionist techniques he had witnessed firsthand in Germany. In it, attractive blondes are strangled and the new lodger (Ivor Novello) in the Bunting family's upstairs apartment falls under heavy suspicion. This is the first truly "Hitchcockian" film, incorporating such themes as the "wrong man".

Following the success of The Lodger, Hitchcock began his first efforts to promote himself in the media, and hired a publicist to cement his growing reputation as one of the British film industry's rising stars. In 1926, he was to marry his assistant director Alma Reville. They had a daughter, Patricia, in 1928. Alma was Hitchcock's closest collaborator. She wrote some of his screenplays and worked with him on every one of his films.

In 1929, he began work on Blackmail, his tenth film. While the film was in production, the studio decided to make it one of Britain's first sound pictures. With the climax of the film taking place on the dome of the British Museum, Blackmail also began the Hitchcock tradition of using famous landmarks as the backdrop to a story.

In 1933, Hitchcock was once again working for Michael Balcon at Gaumont-British Picture Corporation. His first film for the company, The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), was a success, while his second, The 39 Steps (1935), is often considered one of the best films from his early period. It was also one of the first to introduce the concept of the "MacGuffin", a plot device around which a whole story would revolve. In The 39 Steps, the MacGuffin is a stolen set of blueprints.

His next major success was in 1938, The Lady Vanishes, a clever and fast-paced film about the search for a kindly old Englishwoman (Dame May Whitty), who disappears while on board a train in the fictional country of Vandrika (a thinly-veiled version of Nazi Germany).

By the end of the 1930s, Hitchcock was at the top of his game artistically, and in a position to name his own terms when David O. Selznick managed to entice the Hitchcocks across to Hollywood.

Hollywood Hitchcock's gallows humour continued in his American work, together with the suspense that became his trademark. However, working arrangements with his new producer were less than optimal. Selznick suffered from perennial money problems and Hitchcock was often unhappy with the amount of creative control demanded by Selznick over his films. Subsequently, Selznick ended up "loaning" Hitchcock to the larger studios more often than producing Hitchcock's films himself.

With the prestigious picture Rebecca in 1940, Hitchcock made his first American movie, although it was set in England and based on a novel by English author Dame Daphne du Maurier. This Gothic melodrama explores the fears of a naïve young bride who enters a great English country home and must grapple with a distant husband, a predatory housekeeper, and the legacy of her husband's late wife. It has also subsequently been noted for the lesbian undercurrents in Judith Anderson's performance. The film won the Academy Award for Best Picture of 1940. Hitchcock's second American film, the European-set thriller Foreign Correspondent was also nominated for Best Picture that year.

Hitchcock's work during the 1940s was very diverse, ranging from the romantic comedy, Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941) and the courtroom drama The Paradine Case (1947), to the dark and disturbing Shadow of a Doubt (1943).

Shadow of a Doubt, his personal favorite, was about young Charlotte "Charlie" Newton (Teresa Wright), who suspects her beloved uncle Charlie Spencer (Joseph Cotten) of murder. In its use of overlapping characters, dialogue, and closeups it has provided a generation of film theorists with psychoanalytic potential, including Jacques Lacan and Slavoj Žižek. The film also harkens to one of Cotten's better known films, Citizen Kane.

Spellbound explored the then very fashionable subject of psychoanalysis and featured a dream sequence which was designed by Salvador Dali. The actual dream sequence in the film was considerably cut from the original planned scene that was to run for some minutes but proved too disturbing for the finished film.

Notorious (1946) marked Hitchcock's first film as a producer as well as director. As Selznick failed to see the subject's potential, he allowed Hitchcock to make the film for RKO. From this point on, Hitchcock would produce his own films, giving him a far greater degree of freedom to pursue the projects that interested him. Starring Ingrid Bergman and Hitchcock regular Cary Grant, and featuring a plot about Nazis, uranium, and South America, Notorious was a huge box office success and has remained one of Hitchcock's most acclaimed films. Its inventive use of suspense and props briefly led to Hitchcock being under surveillance by the CIA due to his use of uranium as a plot device.

Rope (his first color film) came next in 1948. Here Hitchcock experimented with marshalling suspense in a confined environment, as he had done earlier with Lifeboat. He also experimented with exceptionally long takes — up to ten minutes (see Themes and devices). Featuring James Stewart in the leading role, Rope was the first of an eventual four films Stewart would make for Hitchcock. Based on the Leopold and Loeb case of the 1920s, Rope is also among the earliest openly gay-themed films to emerge from the Hays Office-controlled Hollywood studio era.

Under Capricorn, set in nineteenth-century Australia, also used this short-lived technique, but to a more limited extent. For these two films he formed a production company with Sidney Bernstein, called Transatlantic Pictures, which folded after these two unsuccessful pictures.

Peak years and decline With Strangers on a Train (1951), his first epic film based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith, Hitchcock combined many of the best elements from his preceding British and American films. Two men casually meet and speculate on removing people who are causing them difficulty. One of the men, though, takes this banter entirely seriously. With Farley Granger reprising some elements of his role from Rope, Strangers continued the director's interest in the narrative possiblities of homosexual blackmail and murder.

Three very popular films, all starring Grace Kelly, followed. Dial M for Murder was adapted from the popular stage play by Frederick Knott. This was originally another experimental film, with Hitchcock using the technique of 3D cinematography, although the film was never released in this format. Rear Window, starred James Stewart again, as well as Thelma Ritter and Raymond Burr. Here the wheelchair-bound Stewart observes the movements of his neighbours across the courtyard and becomes convinced one of them has murdered his wife. Like Lifeboat and Rope, the movie was photographed almost entirely within the confines of a small space: Stewart's tiny studio apartment overlooking the massive courtyard set. To Catch a Thief, set in the French Riviera, starred Kelly and Cary Grant.

In 1956, Hitchcock also remade his 1934 film The Man Who Knew Too Much, this time with James Stewart and Doris Day, who sang the theme song, "Whatever Will Be (Que Ser, Ser)".

1958's Vertigo again starred Stewart, this time with Kim Novak and Barbara Bel Geddes. The film was a commercial failure, but has come to be viewed by many as one of Hitchcock's masterpieces.

Hitchcock followed Vertigo with three very different films, which were all massive commercial successes. All are also recognised as among his very best films: North by Northwest (1959), Psycho (1960), and The Birds (1963). The latter two were particularly notable for their unconventional soundtracks, both by Bernard Herrmann: the screeching strings in the murder scene in Psycho pushed the limits of the time, and The Birds dispensed completely with conventional instruments, using an electronically produced soundtrack. These were his last great films, after which his career slowly wound down. In 1972 Hitchcock returned to London to film Frenzy, his last major success. For the first time, Hitchcock allowed nudity and profane language, which had before been taboo, in one of his films.

Failing health slowed down his output over the last two decades of his life.

Family Plot (1976) was his last film. It related the escapades of "Madam" Blanche Tyler played by Barbara Harris, a fraudulent spiritualist, and her taxi driver lover Bruce Dern making a living from her phony powers. William Devane, Karen Black and Katherine Helmond co-starred.

Hitchcock was created a

Achievements: (Filmography)
Body Double (1984)
Frenzy (1972)
Topaz (1969)
The Birds (1963)
Psycho (1960)
North by Northwest (1959)
Vertigo (1958)
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
To Catch a Thief (1955)
The Trouble with Harry (1955)
Dial M for Murder (1954)
Rear Window (1954)
Strangers on a Train (1951)
The Window (1949)
Rope (1948)
Spellbound (1946)
Notorious (1946)
Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
Suspicion (1941)
The Lady Vanishes (1938)
Young and Innocent (1937)
Secret Agent (1936)
The 39 Steps (1935)
The Manxman (1929)
Champagne (1928)
Easy Virtue (1928)
The Farmer's Wife (1928)
The Pleasure Garden (1927)

Personality and Character Cards:
Numerology is used to calculate tarot cards

Alfred Hitchcock's Personality Tarot Card The Hanged Man - Personality Card

Birthday: August 13, 1899

A sacrifice must be made in order to gain something of great value.

Alfred Hitchcock's Character Tarot Card The Empress - Character Card

Birthday: August 13, 1899

Abundance, fruitfulness and fertility; perhaps marriage or children.

This year's Growth Tarot Card
Based on this year's birthday

Alfred Hitchcock's Growth Tarot Card The Wheel of Fortune

Birthday: August 13, 2023

A new chapter is starting; problems are solved through changes in circumstances.




Portions of famous people database was used with permission from Russell Grant from his book The Book of Birthdays Copyright © 1999, All rights reserved. Certain biographical material and photos licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License, from Wikipedia, which is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.

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