About Alfred Hitchcock

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Alfred Hitchcock is a British film director who is widely regarded as a master of suspense and presentation of his films. He was born in London in 1899 and directed over fifty films during his career. Hitchcock uses film elements of motion and devices such as pacing, structural movements, and recording to maximize presentiment in his viewers and create tension in their feelings. Notably, Hitchcock's works are focused on arousal in psychology, and he provides his audience with a stimulating condition rooted in meticulous arousal, which is important in inducing and entertaining audiences. Undoubtedly, the technique of arousal used by Hitchcock in his movies creates concentration and attention. He thus manages to dominate the person’s consciousness and consequently imparting the intended message to the audience which unconsciously gets to the viewer’s mind through identification.

Alfred Hitchcock and his Works

1934 was deemed to be a splendid outbreak for Hitchcock as he became globally famous owing to his mastership of thriller types of movies. It was during this time that he managed to reach a marvelous suspense on the stage in his dramatic movies and accomplished the place of a magnificent director. Undisputedly, the suspense created in Hitchcock works do play a significant role in attracting the viewers. The question is how does he manage to create suspense that entertains the audience at the same time passing his intended message? This is hidden in real knowledge of motives and human desires. Calabrese identifies Hitchcock to be a “discoverer who guides to a depth of metaphysical anxieties” (Calabrese 12). Calabrese further alludes that Hitchcock is categorized to be a film maker who is the most “conscious individual in having knowledge of general audiences” (Calabrese 14). Indeed, his captivating ability to capture the opinions, thinking of the public and the capability to manipulate their feelings are related to his personification.

Hitchcock movies featured interesting recurring plot devices and themes. His plot devices and themes are created through the important literary device of suspense build tension in the audience making them question what will occur when the characters come to know the truth. Many of his films utilize public places as a scene of terror and suspense. Hitchcock significant makes use of food and death plot devices that are interrelated in his films, creating imagery. This is mainly featured in, Frenzy, where the killer runs a vegetable and a fruit stall, strangles his victim and ends up eating all the sandwich. He then hides the body in a potato truck. These plot devices are also evident in other films like To Catch a Thief, Strangers on a Train and Shadow of Doubt. Additionally, there are birds and staircase images in almost all films of Hitchcock. They are seen in Vertigo, Sabotage, Blackmail, psych and many others. The staircases images create symbolism of escape which is a central device in the movies.

MacGuffin is also one of the critical devices that Hitchcock utilizes in driving the plot in his film stores. This feature has significantly enhanced suspense along with inciting desire and curiosity. Notably, MacGuffin fuels the plot and communicates the character motives in films. For instance, in Vertigo film, "Carlotta Valdes" is a MacGuffin. The audience never sees this character and details surrounding her death appear to be insignificant. However, the story concerning her possession of Madeleine Elster and the investigation clouds the plot of the story. State secrets of different kinds which serve as MacGuffins are seen in The Man Who Knew Too Much, The Lady Vanishes and The 39 Steps. In many of his films, Hitchcock is fond of placing an ordinary individual in an extraordinary circumstance (Madison 21). For instance, Richard Hannay who is the protagonist in The 39 Steps film is driven into an espionage web after meeting a female spy in the theater and gets killed in his apartment. In The Wrong Man, Psych and The Man Who Knew Too Much, some of the characters find themselves in extraordinary situations that make the audience to empathize with them.

His works also have recurring themes. Evidently, the aspect of placing the ordinary person in extraordinary circumstance creates a theme of wrong man and wrong woman which leads to mistaken identity. Violence and murder are also themes that are seen in almost all the films. There are many assassinations that happens in the films such as The Man Who Knew Too Much and Sabotage. His films are also seen to depict the theme of sexuality. “The modest conventions of his era caused him to convey sexuality in an emblematic fashion” as seen in North by Northwest (Madison 10). Also, the use of blondes in his works are related to distant and emotionally damaged together with serving as an obsession for the male protagonist.

His movies have two distinguishing feature of great expressionist which is a testimony to creativity. Kindem and Spoto stipulate that Hitchcock “uses all techniques of dialogue, play, scene, color, and space and his movies are presented in a good visual look” (Kindem and Spoto 8).The inner emotional feelings that emanate from the images along with the terror and fear themes are rooted in tormenting the audience. The themes of love, treason, suspicion, temptation together with imagination are evident in the movies. Besides, his works contain the theme of the chase and escape which is comprehensively deterministic. The themes result into the “consciousness and sub consciousness clash” of the human mind which is aided by suspense arousal (Hitchcock 16). Hitchcock observes dominant cause and effect structure in his works. Evidently, the theme of anger that is seen in many characters culminates into other detrimental themes like violence, crime, and murder.


Alfred Hitchcock is labelled to be the master of suspense, apprehension, and fear who manages to entices his viewers through simulation over cinema curtain. The majority of his moves build suspense in the audience in the very first minutes which is a propensity that attracts attention. Undoubtedly, Hitchcock lays his hand on the attention of the audience, directs the film while at the same time convey his messages. Hitchcock was in deed an enigmatic film director who superbly knew how to engage his are dunce by making the film to be interesting. Through the increased vigilance, his significant motives, themes, and devices shaped the pot of the films.

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Works Cited

Calabrese, John Anthony. "The "Art" Of Alfred Hitchcock: How Hitchcock Lampoons Modern Art In "The Trouble With Harry"." The International Journal Of The Image, vol 8, no. 3, 2017, pp. 35-39. Common Ground Research Networks, doi:10.18848/2154-8560/cgp/v08i03/35-39.

Hitchcock, Alfred, and Bill Krohn. Hitchcock At Work. London [U.A.], Phaidon, 2003,.

Madison Davis. "Alfred Hitchcock, Creator And Creation: Fictionalizing The “Master Of Suspense”." World Literature Today, vol 87, no. 1, 2013, p. 9. World Literature Today, doi:10.7588/worllitetoda.87.1.0009.

Kindem, Gorham, and Donald Spoto. "The Art Of Alfred Hitchcock, Fifty Years Of His Motion Pictures." Cinema Journal, vol 17, no. 1, 1977, p. 49. JSTOR, doi:10.2307/1225471.

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