Alfred Hitchcock

Hitchcock, Sir Alfred

Sir Alfred Hitchcock, 1899–1980, English-American film director, writer, and producer, b. London. Hitchcock began his career as a director in 1925 and became prominent with The 39 Steps (1935) and The Lady Vanishes (1938). In 1940 he began working in the United States. In his suspense thrillers, Hitchcock unsettled audiences through the use of intense set pieces and suggestions that normality as usually defined masks humanity's true and much darker nature and that the veneer of civilization conceals a world of deadly menace. Hitchcock's style is so distinctive that any filmmaker working in the suspense genre invariably risks comparison to him. His best films include Strangers on a Train (1951), in which a tennis player is invited by a fellow rail passenger to trade murders; Rear Window (1954), a thriller about voyeurism; Vertigo (1958), an obsessive romance in which a woman uncannily resembles the dead beloved; North by Northwest (1959), in which an advertising executive is chased across the United States by foreign agents as a result of a mistaken identity; and Psycho (1960), a terrifying work that has had enormous influence on film and cultural history in which a mother-obsessed transvestite murders a beautiful thief. His other films include Rebecca (1940), Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Notorious (1946), The Birds (1963), Frenzy (1972), and Family Plot (1977). Hitchcock also had two successful television series (1955–62 and 1963–65). One of the best known directors of his time, he often made humorous cameo appearances in his own films. He was knighted in 1980.

See F. Truffaut, Hitchcock (1967, rev. ed. 1985); biographies by J. R. Taylor (1978), D. Spoto (1983), P. McGilligan (2004), and P. Ackroyd (2016); studies by R. Durgnat (1974), D. Spoto (1976, repr. 1992), P. Conrad (2001), R. Wood (1969 and 1989, rev. ed. 2002), D. Thomson (2009), and M. Wood (2015).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Alfred Hitchcock: Selected full-text books and articles

Alfred Hitchcock: Filming Our Fears By Gene Adair Oxford University Press, 2002
Hitchcock's Films Revisited By Robin Wood Columbia University Press, 1989
An Eye for Hitchcock By Murray Pomerance Rutgers University Press, 2004
After Hitchcock: Influence, Imitation, and Intertextuality By David Boyd; R. Barton Palmer University of Texas Press, 2006
Hitchcock and Philosophy: Dial M for Metaphysics By David Baggett; William A. Drumin Open Court, 2007
Hitchcock and the Censors By Leff, Leonard J The World and I, Vol. 14, No. 8, August 1999
Hitchcock's Rear Window: The Well-Made Film By John Fawell Southern Illinois University Press, 2001
Torturing Women and Mocking Men: Hitchcock's Rear Window By Fawell, John The Midwest Quarterly, Vol. 44, No. 1, Autumn 2002
You Ain't Heard Nothin' Yet: The American Talking Film: History & Memory, 1927-1949 By Andrew Sarris Oxford University Press, 1998
Librarian's tip: "Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980)" begins on p. 235
The Men Who Knew Too Much: Henry James and Alfred Hitchcock By Susan M. Griffin; Alan Nadel Oxford University Press, 2012
Noir, Now and Then: Film Noir Originals and Remakes, (1944-1999) By Ronald Schwartz Greenwood Press, 2001
Librarian's tip: Includes discussion of Alfred Hitchcock in multiple chapters
Encounters with Filmmakers: Eight Career Studies By Jon Tuska Greenwood Press, 1991
Librarian's tip: "Alfred Hitchcock" begins on p. 65
Looking for a topic idea? Use Questia's Topic Generator
Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.