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The Men Who Made the Movies: Alfred Hitchcock (1973)

A look at Alfred Hitchcock's films. The Master of Suspense himself, who is interviewed extensively here, shares stories including his deep-seated fear of policemen, elaborates on the ... See full summary »

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A look at Alfred Hitchcock's films. The Master of Suspense himself, who is interviewed extensively here, shares stories including his deep-seated fear of policemen, elaborates on the difference between shock and suspense, defines the meaning of "MacGuffin," and discusses his use of storyboarding in designing a film. Clips from many of his greatest films (including "North by Northwest", "Shadow of a Doubt", "The Birds", and the legendary shower scene from "Psycho") illustrate his points, often to Hitchcock's own voice-over observations, with narrator Cliff Robertson offering other critical insights. Written by filmfactsman

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Hitchcock on Hitchcock
6 June 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

One of the segments of "The Men Who Made the Movies" is on Alfred Hitchcock, concentrating mainly on his sound films. It would be impossible in the time allotted to give appropriate time to all of his great films, but there is some impressive footage to be had from "Saboteur," "North by Northwest," "Notorious," "Shadow of a Doubt," "Psycho," "Frenzy," and "The Birds." My favorite Hitchcock films are those of the '40s and '50s - I've never seen "The Birds" because the whole idea scares me to death. I always felt Hitchock took a turn with "Psycho" into the horror genre that held no appeal for me (though I do like "Psycho").

The star of this segment, of course, is the man himself, sitting calmly behind his desk and continuing to talk in the same measured tones after frightening scenes like the one shown from "The Birds" or "Frenzy." He's so right on - "Frenzy" is frightening because the killer sounds so reasonable; a "villain" has to be attractive, ergo, Joseph Cotten in "Shadow of a Doubt," etc. One of my favorite Hitchcock moments is one so subtle it is never mentioned: In "Shadow of a Doubt," the younger children won't sit next to Uncle Charlie. Hitchock knew that children's instincts, unspoiled by socialization, are always correct.

In business, people used to talk about "thinking out of the box." For these early filmmakers - and Hitchcock goes back to the silent era -there was no box. They created the whole thing. There were no rules. When there finally was a box, i.e., the box they put the camera in to keep it immobile after sound came in, Hitchock took the camera out, and, as he put it, "The sound man walked off the set." There is a lot of footage of Hitchock being interviewed available and several documentaries, but somehow, I never get tired of him.


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