In 60 years, the English filmmaker has made more than 50 feature films and has become one of the most influential figures in the history of cinema. His mastery of thrillers earned him the nickname “master of suspense”. Some of the most terrifying and memorable scenes in movie history – from the shower scene to psychology attacking the gas station The birds – belong to his films.
Here are some facts about the stellar filmmaker that you should know:
1. His wife was his closest collaborator
Although he worked with many talents in Hollywood, Hitchcock’s most trusted adviser was his wife, Alma Reville. She was a screenwriter, screenwriter and assistant director on several of Hitchcock’s early films, and he came to deeply appreciate her opinion and commentary, according to History.com. Reville was even reportedly responsible for persuading Hitchcock to use composer Bernard Herrmann’s famous string score for the shower murder scene in the film, psychology.
2. He was a prankster
Hitchcock loved pranks. He used to place whoopee cushions under his colleagues’ chairs and once hosted a dinner party where all the dishes were dyed blue with food coloring! In a prank that borders on cruelty, Hitchcock challenged one of his crew members to spend an entire night locked in handcuffs. He accepted the challenge, but only later realized that the director had secretly given him a laxative before handcuffing him. Ouch!
3. Master Cameo
Hitchcock made cameos in his films long before American comic book writer Stan Lee appeared in Marvel movies. The director made often humorous appearances in 39 of his films, usually appearing in the background as a pedestrian. Spotting Hitchcock in the film became such a hit with his audience that he had to start placing his cameos in the early scenes so as not to distract from the script. One of his most creative cameos came in the 1944 film Rescue boatwhere Hitchcock can be seen in the “Before” and “After” photos of a newspaper advertisement for a weight-loss product.
4. He worked with artists and literary figures
Whenever possible, Hitchcock brought in people from outside the film world so they could contribute their unique perspectives. He hired poet Dorothy Parker, novelists Raymond Chandler and John Steinbeck, and even tried to convince authors Ernest Hemingway and Vladimir Nabokov to write for him. For the dreamlike sequences of his 1945 film BewitchedHitchcock enlisted the help of surrealist artist Salvador Dali to create intricate scenes.
5. He never won an Oscar
Although Hitchcock’s films were adored and he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1980, he never won the Best Director Oscar. He was nominated five times, but remained “always a bridesmaid, never a bride” (in his own words). However, in 1967, Hitchcock received an honorary lifetime achievement award at the Oscars. His speech was gracious but loquacious – the director gave one of the shortest acceptance speeches in Oscar history: “Thank you…really so much.”