Today, August 13 marks Alfred Hitchcock’s 113 birthday. Earlier we posted an article about a couple of movies due this year about the genius of cinema. This time we want to remember Hitchcock with a 1999 documentary made to celebrate his centenary.
Hitchcock directed more than fifty feature films in a career spanning six decades. Often regarded as the greatest British filmmaker; he did more than any director to shape modern cinema, which would be utterly different without him. He pioneered the use of a camera made to move in a way that mimics a person’s gaze, forcing viewers to engage in a form of voyeurism. He framed shots to maximise anxiety, fear, or empathy, and used innovative film editing.
Alfred Hitchcock once said that all art is emotion, and that the task of the filmmaker is to use the tools of his medium to manipulate the audience’s emotional experience.
The following British documentary covers The life and films of Alfred Hitchcock in two parts: Alfred, the Great and Alfred, the Auteur. Surviving collaborators and colleagues are interviewed. The documentary also includes footage from Kaleidoscope Frenzy, an original screenplay about a necrophiliac serial killer in New York City.
Hitchcock showed his script to his friend François Truffaut. Though Truffaut admired the script, he felt uneasy about its relentless sex and violence. Unlike “Psycho”, these elements would not be hidden behind the respectable veneer of murder mystery and psychological suspense; the killer would be the main character, the hero, the eyes of the audience.
Universal wasn’t keen on the film either, despite Hitchcock’s assurances that he would make the film for under a million dollars with a cast of unknowns. The film – alternately known as “Frenzy” or the more “sixties”-ish “Kaleidoscope” – would not be made, but some of the ideas – and the title – would be recycled into his 1972 thriller “Frenzy”.