EMIRGE DIRECTOR ALFRED HITCHOCK
STYLE DEVELOPMENT AND ART OF PRODUCTION
Hitchcock??™s movie Blackmail released in 1929 was promoted as Britain??™s first full-length movie. Then in the 1930??™s he gained a well known reputation creating a series of brisk and audacious chase thrillers for Gaumont-British ,including The 39 Steps(1935) and The Lady Vanishes(1938) The movie who launched the British director in American history was ???Rebecca???(1940).With this film begins Hitchcock??™s systematic attention upon ???the subjective???. All his master pieces that have been filmed and put on screen were the direct result of this first film called ???Rebecca???. Without it??™s success all the other movies that have made Hitchcock a legend would just lay in the dark today.
There are more than one ???emigre??? directors that have continued their work in different ways, but the most successful one of all was Alfred Hitchcock. Along him were other famous names as Fritz Lang who had a more sober style and continued to make somber genre pictures such as ???Rancho Notorious???(1952) and ???The big heat???. Another well known??? emigre??? director was Billy Wilder who became a top director with his irony-landed dramas for example ???Sunset Boulevard??? ???Ace in a hole??? ???Witness for the Prosecution??? and other cynical erotic comedies such as ???The Seven??“Year Itch??? ???The Apartment??? and many others.
Otto Preminger cultivated a distinctive personality being a director and also an actor in one of Wilder??™s movies ???Stalag 17???. Otto was his own director and because of that he was very careful with his work, he was the one to push the long-take technique even further than Cukor and Minnelli.
His new ideas were the ones who composed his Cinema Scope frame, in which most of the long shots have no expressive effects.
There were any names that became famous in the film industry in the postwar
Years, but probably the most well know figure was of actor/director/producer Alfred Hitchcock. He was the ???Master of Suspense??? and he was being advertised accordingly to his fame.
Alfred has as mentors the Soviet Montage Directors, and like them he aimed to achieve a pure physical response. His goal was always suspense. The movie plots were either from novels or his own imagination hinged on recruiting figures and situations, for example:???the innocent man plugged into a vortex of guilt and suspicion , the mentally disturbed woman, the charming and amoral killer, the humdrum locale with tensions seething underneath.???
All this types of characters give life to the stories that Alfred Hitchcock produced either adapting them to his own ideas or just writing down new stories that have incorporated already those types. He was using new techniques that in each movie to arouse suspense when no one is expecting it, for example a murder in a crowded place or other effects unexpected in that particular scene just to keep the spectators in a state of general tension and not give any clues about what might happen afterwards. This is a particularity of his movies and that is why his work has had so much success and well written revues. Most of the critics stated that the finest work he had done was that of the post war year.
The plot of the semi documentary ???The Wrong Man??? the investigation of a drab news story with harsh anguish. ???Vertigo??? on the other hand is the story of a man obsessed with a woman who he thinks he has killed. This makes the spectator to step into a hallucinatory tale, making the movie a door into another world.
He was using in his films stars as James Stuart, Henry Fonda , and Cary Grant making the movies thus more appealing to a large spectrum of the public by having good median on his side and well renamed actors to star in them.
But unfortunately his tastes for strange stories and physiological movies had a big impact on his later work, and after the release of ???Psycho??? a number of homicidal films were released going to the ???slasher??? movies of the 1980??™s.
Movies tend to have a certain way of separating themselves into categories from the moment that the first take was shot; we could say that Hitchcock and Fuller have a more self-conscious style than those of Preminger and Hawks. Films always have an impact on the public they have stories that people can relate to. Some directors manage to get even into a person??™s mind by adding effects that unknowingly trespass into the viewer??™s subcontinent.
These names are obviously well known and represent two of the films that are under Alfred Hitchcock signature. As the majority of his films the central element in both this movies is based on keeping the suspense during the whole duration of the film so that the story itself can leave an impact on its viewers. Hitchcock??™s films have a nihilism (the absence of positive alternatives both in deviant an normal circumstances) it is actually a fairly central part to ???film noir??? as a whole. And of course the second link that ties him to this genre is his frequent use of suspense.
Vertigo was released in 1958 and is presented as ???a haunting movie as Hollywood has ever produced, took the lost-feminine-identity theme of Shadow of a Doubt and Notorious and identified its cause as male fetishism???
The name Vertigo is a direct hint to the plot of the movie, the definition of the word as it is presented exactly in the beginning of the movie is : ???a state of dizziness, and confusion (….)??? The movie itself has a great story, and it presents also the panic and fear that you fell when you have a phobia. The main character??™s phobia was fear of heights. Alfred Hitchcock manages to bring this fear to an extreme by filming shots that makes the spectator feel that he/she is on a verge of a cliff and then by expanding the suspense exploits the character by creating situations in which he is always forced to face his fear.
Vertigo??™s screen play is an adaptation from a French novel Sueurs froides: D??™entre les morts, which in translation means Cold sweat: From among the dead.
Vertigo? premiered in San Francisco on 9 May, 1958. It performed averagely at the box office, and reviews were mixed.? Varietys “Stef” said the film showed Hitchcocks “mastery”, but was too long and slow for “what is basically only a psychological murder mystery”
???Additional reasons for the mixed response initially were that Hitchcock fans were not pleased with his departure from the romantic-thriller territory of earlier films and that the mystery was solved with one-third of the movie left to go???
In the early 1950??™s French critics were re-evaluating Hitchcock??™s work taking into consideration his serious work and not viewing him as a populist showman.
???Dan Aulier has suggested that the real beginning of? Vertigos rise in adulation was the British-Canadian scholar? Robin Wood Hitchcocks Films? (1968), which calls the film “Hitchcocks masterpiece to date and one of the four or five most profound and beautiful films the cinema has yet given us???
The fact that Vertigo was removed from circulation in 1973 just adds to its mystique. This was only one of the five movies that Alfred made that were removed from circulation. In 1989 Vertigo was recognized as a culturally, historically and aesthetically significant film by the Library of Congress and was also selected for the preservation in the National Film Registry. The facts only came to show what a big impact the movie had upon the population the critics and nevertheless it had a huge impact on Hollywood classic narrative. Every piece of work that Hitchcock made was something new to the industry and none of the other emigre directors managed to create such impressive motion pictures that can change the characteristics of an entire genre. Not only the remarkable story in Vertigo makes the change, but the way the story is presented adding psychological depth to the character, enlisting them in certain categories that were actually invented by him especially for this type of movies and not last adding to the suspense by putting all the pieces together accompanied by a musical soundtrack meant to keep the suspense to maximum capacity.
But not only Vertigo got this much attention from the public and god responses from the critics. Most Alfred Hitchcock??™s movies have been well directed and the desire that the director had to create a state of suspense that could transcend the film and come into the reality that his audience lives in came true when he directed Psycho.
Psycho was released just two years after Vertigo and had an incredible success in the box office. Presenting the story of a serial killer Norman Bates the movie opened in thousands cinemas all across America and within weeks of its release it became an event. Starting with the name of the film spectators could imagine that the movie was already in the category of horror films, and because it is a singular noun the conclusion could be drawn that the action in the movie was based around one main character.
George A. Romero??™s ???Night of the living dead (1968) is along with Frankenstein (1931) and Psycho (1960) are three of the most influential horror movies of all time. Psycho is defiantly the most terrifying horror movie in American history. The film was based on the novel with the same mane written by Robert Bloch. The novel was intended to reveal shocking underside to the apparently normal. This aspect of the novel was the part that appealed to Hitchcock and thus decided to make it into a movie. Psycho marks a turning point in his career; because of the deal with the Paramount Studios he was given more liberty and budget to make movies. With the mixture of glamour and crimes these movies have become very popular and were incorporated in the Hitchcock ???style??? More than one of his controversial films has received great revues from critics and also from television stations that had many reruns of his movies. The narrative structure of the film it??™s a spectacular montage of sexualized violence and it??™s foregrounding of psychology as a theme have all been given attention by critics deploying a range of historical and theoretical approaches. The death of the main character has been understood as a radical departure from the classical structure of Hollywood narrative which devastates audience expectations of story progression and leaves then with no central figure to identify with. Raymond Bellour calls this a ???structural perversion??? meanwhile Robin Woods writes ???we are left shocked with nothing to cling to, the apparent centre of the film entirely dissolved???
Psycho might be reinscribing the ???safe??? relationship of audience to classical narrative and inaugurating the new narrative modes of post-classical cinema starting with Psycho. Hitchcock??™s work has a lot of physiological factors in it and that is why it could be interpreted in so many different ways. Psycho Innovates the Psychopathic horror formula that became wildly imitated within the horror genre. The great success of Psycho opened way to other directors who started to explore the gothic side of the American history. For example William Castle??™s ???Homicidal??? 1960 and Robert Aldrich??™s ???Whatever happened to Baby Jane??? 1962 This particular era was the most prolific time in American history for horror movies, many of the old versions being nowadays remade by other directors, but having the same guideline and the same plot. For example Alfred Hitchcock??™s The Birds is going to be remade by Martin Campbell and will have as main characters George Clooney and Naomi Watts. Most of the horror movies made starting with the 1930??™s and up the 70??™s were something new in the movie industry, because the industry itself was new. New films with new ideas in Hollywood have started too sprung after the 1980??™s when the action pictures were in the lead. But all the basics were laid out at the beginning and ever since the Hollywood industrial machine has been feeding the public with different films all guarding the same idea and all having more o r less the same plot.
Hitchcock??™s movies have not been yet surpassed in his field, he was a trend setter, he was the one who created a type of film that you were afraid to watch alone. Many of the horror movies made in the following years have not been received as highly as Hitchcock??™s movies. Mainly because they had nothing special to bring to the public as his movies brought upon release.
The industry of film making in Hollywood is very competitive and many movies are made by the same rules and keep the same type that is required from certain fields. For example all the action films that started in the early 1980??™s have basically the same skeleton.
Linda Ruth Williams
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Ian Cameron: The Movie Book of Film Noir
David Bordwell: Narration in the Fiction Film
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