Alfred Hitchcock

Authors Avatar

Tyrone Sinclair


Often regarded with a great deal of admiration, not only by a nation but by subsequent generations, as the greatest film director/maker of all time; Alfred Hitchcock cleverly manipulated his virgin audience and brought about not only a new era but a new discovery in film making.  Hitchcock mastered not only the art of making films but also the task of taming his own raging imagination.  Through inspiration Hitchcock was able to aspire and infuse tension and suspense, leaving him plausible to receive the title of being the “master of suspense.”  

Born and bred in the east London area of Leytonstone, Alfred was the youngest son of William and Emma Hitchcock.  As a boy, Alfred became fascinated by the popular London theatre, which flourished prior to World War I.  He found an interest in the stars, the glamour, and melodrama, the brave, the handsome heroes, the pure heroines, the wicked villains, and the triumph of good over evil.  However Hitchcock also believed that this picture of reality was as false as it was alluring.  Within the conventions of popular melodrama, he explored and exploited in his own films, the themes more often associated and linked to the ghastly unrespectabilites than popular entertainment: loneliness, loss of identity, sexual ambiguity, passivity, voyeurism, the triumph of evil, and the oppressive weight of a dead past.  Deliberately, Alfred Hitchcock fabricated a predetermined attempt to not only educate but also to expose a naïve 1960’s audience, giving them an empathetic insight into the darker side of social issues.    Due to the naivetivity of his audience, Alfred Hitchcock was able to shed light to the dark, like an innocent citizen who had just witnessed the immoral activities of our society.  A trained engineer at Saint Ignatius’ College, Alfred Hitchcock then entered the British motion-picture industry in 1920 as a title designer, working his way through the ranks as screenwriter, art director, and assistant director.  

Telling his stories through intelligent plots, witty dialogue, passion and a spoonful of mystery and murder, Hitchcock managed to inspire a new generation of filmmakers and revolutionized the thriller genre, making not only him a legend but his films also a legend world wide.  Breaking new boundaries in film making with the first film of its type, Alfred Hitchcock immaculately began the birth of horror films and also conquered the luring feeling we now know to be suspense.  Intricately creating films that teemed up with tension and suspense, THE COMPETITIVE Alfred Hitchcock accomplished to engineer one of the most suspense fused films ever.  However Psycho was inspired through a novel written by Robert Bloch.    Robert Bloch used the story of Ed Gein as the inspiration for his novel; Psycho, however the book managed to receive “howls of protest from critics that believed their genteel sensibilities had been violated.”  The book amazingly enough achieved to rape peoples emotions, it managed to reach out and touch the readers, giving them an empathetic reaction.  Rejected by a Paramount script reader, the book was regarded as “too repulsive for films.”  However, Alfred Hitchcock, relentlessly at the time was searching for some unique material for his forthcoming movie, and psycho just happened to lure his attention at that moment in time.  In this thriller Psycho, which was also an enormous box office success, Hitchcock gave powerful release to the obsessions within him, cutting deeper than he had before, and deeper than he ever would again.  Genius, moulding Psycho in order to incorporate his own views, Hitchcock unfolded the plot through the complex issue of mental illness, which is still difficult to grasp even in this day in age.

Prior to Psycho, Hitchcock made two films about serial killers; The Lodger (1928) and Shadow of a Doubt (1943), which he often rated as his favourite films.  Both films bared significant similarity to Psycho.  All three killers are men; all three prey on women.  Many natural elements in The Lodger link directly with Psycho.  As a director, Hitchcock was praised for his witty urbanity, his impeccable but highly idiosyncratic cinematic technique, and his penchant for the macabre and the suspenseful. His much-imitated technique consisted, in part, of the use of carefully preplanned and masterfully composed and edited sequences that employed an alternating montage of subjective point-of-view shots and objective bird's-eye shots to heighten contrast and tension, thus precisely manipulating the viewer.

        In respect to the audiences of 1960 era, Psycho was indeed to them a remarkable phenomenon, whether or not it was seen as a positive or negative phenomenon is an issue which is arguable, nonetheless it was what it was and still is “a phenomenon.”  Both Psycho the film and Psycho the book came at a time when it’s intensity was maybe not so much appreciated but idolized, this kind of material just did not exist at that time, it was accepted much like the expression like “a Martian in a fairground.”  Due to the fact that the people of the 1960’s couldn’t even conjure up these issues into daily society, Psycho was a masterpiece created way before its time.  Seeing that its intensity caught the attention of its audience, Psycho therefore made the subject matter somewhat of an oddity to the people of the 1960’s.  Never in any form or shape had any type of substance like this been observed before in a theatrical or in a picture house.  Spawning numerous debates worldwide, Psycho intentionally met an intense ambivalence, leaving Psycho well deserved with the brand of being a phenomenon and its director not only a genius but also “the master of suspense”.

Join now!

        Alfred being the Alfred he was chose the title very carefully; why not call the film something like “Bates Motel” or “The Drop Inn.”  The title gives every viewer an insight to the play, before it has even began.  Alfred Hitchcock chose the title Psycho smartly, for it was just that; a psychological thriller.  The film dealt with the unspoken issues of the 1960’s, the film directly and in my opinion abruptly dealt with a mental illness.  The film wasn’t really criticised by the public, rather looked at in a shocking manner, people were more disgusted with not only ...

This is a preview of the whole essay