psycho-hitchcockIt’s not his birthday, or any other notable date in his life, so why March 12 is his National Day is puzzling. Just like the man himself on


Like his movies, you don’t always know why some things are happening, you just sort of accept the premise.

Considered one of the best directors of all time, Alfred Hitchcock was the master of psychological thrillers and suspense, and an innovative film pioneer whose career began in the Silent Movie Era in his native England, and lasted for 50 years.

Hitchcock was a film artist with a wry brand of gallows humor, and demanded a lot of his audiences. There was usually a complicated story to follow, and you had to be sharp to keep up.

He worked mostly in black & white, and his innovative camera angles, continuous action scenes and mood-setting cinematography are required study in film schools everywhere. He loved baffling us, scaring us, not always giving his characters (or the audience) enough information until he was good and ready, and could build suspense like no other filmmaker.

He was also the master of the instant shock with a scene lasting mere seconds, coming out of nowhere and completely unexpected, so watching a Hitchcock film is a physical experience as well as an interesting mental exercise. Alfred Hitchcock also drew great performances from his actors, some of the best of their careers. Hard to pick a favorite, so here’s all of them:

The Pleasure Garden, 1925
The Mountain Eagle, 1926
The Lodger: a Story of the London Fog, 1926
Downhill, 1927
Easy Virtue, 1927
The Ring, 1927
The Manxman, 1928
The Farmer’s Wife, 1928
Champagne, 1928
Blackmail, 1929
Juno and the Paycock, 19930
Murder! and Mary, 1930
[Mary is a German-language version of
Murder! made at the same time]
The Skin Game, 1931
Number Seventeen, 1932
Rich and Strange, 1932
Waltzes from Vienna, 1933
The Man Who Knew Too Much, 1934
The 39 Steps, 1935
Secret Agent, 1936
Sabotage, 1937
Young and Innocent, 1937
The Lady Vanishes, 1938
Jamaica Inn, 1939
Rebecca, 1940
Foreign Correspondent, 1940
Mr. and Mrs. Smith, 1941
Suspicion, 1941
Saboteur, 1942
Shadow of a Doubt, 1943
Lifeboat, 1944
Bon Voyage and Aventure Malgache, 1944
[two short films in French made in support
of the Allied effort during World War II]
Spellbound, 1945
Notorious, 1946
The Paradine Case, 1948
Rope, 1948
Under Capricorn, 1949
Stage Fright, 1950
Strangers on a Train, 1950
I Confess, 1951
Dial M for Murder, 1954
Rear Window, 1954
To Catch a Thief, 1954
The Trouble with Harry, 1956
The Man Who Knew Too Much, 1956
The Wrong Man, 1957
Vertigo, 1958
North by Northwest, 1959
Psycho, 1960
The Birds, 1963
Marnie, 1964
Torn Curtain, 1966
Topaz, 1969
Frenzy, 1972
Family Plot, 1976

•Suggested Activities: Watching out for the MacGuffin,and Hitchcock’s cameos.

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