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The Great Directors: Alfred Hitchcock

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119 years after his birth, Alfred Hitchcock remains the Master of Suspense. In a filmmaking career that lasted for over 60 years, Hitchcock directed over 50 feature films, making him a legend around the world. His films continue to captivate audiences of all ages.

Known for his carefully composed images and fluidly choreographed camera movements, filmakers today still strive to imitate his unique style. Hitchcock is known as the pioneer of the modern psychological and suspense genre. Rarely relying on the element of suprise, Hitchcock instead preferred manipulating his audience through carefully controlled suspense, or as he called it, "playing the audience like a piano." On set, Hitchcock was known as bit of a control freak, storyboarding every shot in a movie and leaving nothing to chance.

Rarely before or after has great entertainment and great art joined together as well as in the films of Alfred Hitchcock. The joy of filmaking shines through in his films. Here are a few of my favourite Hitchcock films, :

Rear Window[1954] -- A perfect introduction to the films of Alfred Hitchcock. Jeff (Jimmy Stewart), a photographer who is confined to a wheelchair with a broken leg, spends the summer spying on his neighbours through the rear window of his apartment. Trouble ensues when Jeff thinks he may have witnessed one of his neigbours killing their wife and disposing of the body. A fascinating study of voyeurism, both Jeff and our's.

The Lady Vanishes[1938] -- A young woman investigates the disappearance of an elderly lady on a fast moving train, bound for England. She is especially shocked to learn that the other passengers claim the old lady never existed. A witty and fast-paced mystery, suitable for everyone.
North by Northwest[1959] -- Cary Grant gets pursued across the US when he is mistaken for an international spy. From a swooping crop duster in Indiana, to a race to the top of Mt. Rushmore, the film results in one iconic sequence after another. One on the greatest chase films ever made. Here are some other great Hitchcock films available at the CPL: The 39 Steps[1935] Rebecca [1940] Foreign Correspondant[1940] Saboteur [1942] Notorious [1946] To Catch a Thief[1955] Dial M for Murder[1955] The Wrong Man[1956] Vertigo[1958] The Man Who Knew Too Much[1959] Psycho [1960] Frenzy [1972]
Nobody's perfect, Hitch included. Here are a few of his average/weaker works, also available from your local library: Mr. & Mrs. Smith[1941] Stage Fright[1950] I Confess[1953] Marnie [1964] Torn Curtain[1966] Topaz [1969]

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