“I am a typed director. If I made Cinderella, the audience would immediately be looking for a body in the coach.” — Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock, a phenomenal influence and legacy with the silhouette recognized worldwide and best known for his signature style of visionary strategic storytelling and affable filmmaking. “The Master of Suspense.” Hitchcock arrived in Hollywood, California, in 1939 and would forever change how movies were being produced and how we would watch them in the theater. By 1939 Hitchcock was a filmmaker of international importance, with the 1935 film 39 Steps and 1938 film The Lady Vanishes, both ranking among greatest British films of the 20th century.
Alfred Hitchcock would make his first American film Rebecca, released April 12, 1940, which would receive 11 nominations and earned him two Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Cinematography.
Creating the brand
“If I won’t be myself, who will?”
— Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock pioneered the way and was the first director to brand himself and today is the most recognized name in cinematic history. Along with a background in sales and marketing, he realized just because you have a logo, a recognizable name, and a recognizable success doesn’t mean you are a brand. Let’s talk logo and the infamous silhouette. According to author Robert Kapsis, he details in Hitchcock’s Reputation that in 1927 Hitchcock sketched the outline himself and made a wooden jigsaw puzzle for his friends and colleagues as a gift. Today the silhouette is instantly recognizable by millions. Hitchcock always believed it’s the quality of work you put out into the public eye and that how important it was for the director to be known in the public eye for excellent quality. He would be known to say actors come and go, but directors stay. He knew how to create an emotional connection between his name, image, and audience’s desires for the most memorable and best cinematic experience. However, Hitchcock always made sure he worked with the best talent on and behind the screen. The savvy did not stop there as he built a brand in the children’s market and famous Monster Museum, a series of books, and Ghostly Gallery and television series. Establishing a solid brand identity is the key to success, with over 50 featured films in his resume, like the ever-popular apocalyptic story of friendly birds that turn into terrifying assailants. Hitchcock has received numerous awards in film and television, and he has two stars on the Hollywood walk of fame, and 1972 he was awarded the Cecil B. Demille award. Two fun facts in the 1960’s Alfred Hitchcock asked Walt Disney if he could film in his newly opened park in Anaheim, California, disgusted by the 1960 movie Psycho Walt Disney refused him. Alfred Hitchcock, the iconic legend, never received an Academy Award for Best Director. What? Were they living in the Twilight Zone?
“A boy’s best friend is his mother.”— Norman Bates
It was a scorching kind of day full of sweat and perspiration, so humid and sticky it’s as if people glowed and radiated the sun’s happy aura. The sky was a brilliant corn-flower blue with not a cloud in sight, and it officially felt like summer in the “Big Apple.”
Madmen of the ad world, riots in Harlem, station wagons for days, and Greenwich village’s hip artists welcome to 1960 in New York City. Dwight D. Eisenhower is president, but it’s an election year, and there is a prime democratic hopeful named John F. Kennedy to look on the lookout for. Everyone is signing Cathy’s Clown by the Everly Brothers. However, the focus today, June 16, is in Times Square and on the theater and film industry along with director, writer Alfred Hitchcock and his new film about to debut at The DeMille Theater called Psycho.
Psycho, an American classic and a 1960’s thriller, showed Hitchcock go into darker and more shocking territory than ever before that also has some of the most famous and iconic sequences in the genre. Hitchcock would battle with the American censorship over censorship for violence regarding the infamous shower scene. A young woman is fleeing from a robbery of her boss in Arizona to California, and she ends up at Bates Motel. She is murdered in the shower by a disturbed young hotel owner who dresses and talks like his deceased mother.
Hitchcock would shoot the scene with an average of 78 camera setups and around 52 edits in the sequence. The character build-ups, the way he shot the scene close-ups, along with a terrific score, made the movie look and feel more gruesome and the visual horror more terrifying than any other film to date. He captivated the audience and sent their minds spiraling down a dark hole of terror. It was like a thrill ride through a haunted house with a mixture of screams, laughter, shrieks, and fainting in your seat or bolting for the nearest exit.
Another fun fact the infamous shower scene would also be the first time an audience saw a toilet in a movie, and the blood in the background was a watered-down Hershey Chocolate Syrup.
“Always make the audience suffer as much as possible.”— Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock would receive the American Film Institute Lifetime Achievement Award in 1979 and sadly would die of natural causes on April 29, 1980, at the age of 80, as an iconic brand identity. He made a commitment and stayed committed along with all aspects of the journey. Hitchcock’s true power was emotion, and his legacy is still influential today.