www.cosmopolis.ch
No. 13, January 2001
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Copyright 2001  www.cosmopolis.ch  Louis Gerber  All rights reserved.


Alfred Hitchcock: Murder! 1930. Get it on DVD from:
- Amazon.com
 

Alfred Hitchcock: The Man Who Knew Too Much, 1934. Get it on DVD from:
- Amazon.com 
-
Amazon.de
 

Alfred Hitchcock: The 39 Steps, 1935. Get it on DVD from:
- Amazon.com 
- Amazon.co.uk
- Amazon.de
 

Alfred Hitchcock: The Lady Vanishes, 1938. Get it on DVD from: 
- Amazon.com 
- Amazon.co.uk
 

Alfred Hitchcock: Rebecca 1940. With Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine. Get it from: 
- Amazon.com 
- Amazon.co.uk
- Amazon.de
 

Alfred Hitchcock: Bon Voyage & Aventure Malgache, 1944. Get it from:
- Amazon.com
 

Alfred Hitchcock: Spellbound, 1945. With Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck. Get it from:
- Amazon.com 
- Amazon.co.uk 
- Amazon.de
 

Alfred Hitchcock: Notorious, 1946. With Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergaman. Get it on DVD from:
-
Amazon.com 
- Amazon.co.uk
- Amazon.de
 

Alfred Hitchcock: Strangers on a Train, 1951. With Farley Granger. Get it from:
-
Amazon.com 
- Amazon.co.uk
 

Alfred Hitchcock: Vertigo, 1958. With James Stewart, Kim Novak. Get it from:
- Amazon.com 
- Amazon.co.uk 
- Amazon.de
- Amazon.fr
 

Alfred Hitchcock: North By Northwest, 1959. Get it from: 
- Amazon.com 
- Amazon.co.uk
 

Alfred Hitchcock: Psycho, 1960. Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles. Get it on DVD from:
- Amazon.com
- Amazon.co.uk
- Amazon.de
- Amazon.fr
 
Alfred Hitchcock, 3 DVD set: Vertigo (1958): Collector's Edition, Psycho (1960): Collector's Edition, Alfred Hitchcock Presents (4 episodes: Lamb To The Slaughter, Case Of Mr. Pelham, Back For Xmas and Banquo's Chair). Get it from:
- Amazon.com
 

Alfred Hitchcock: The Birds, 1963. Get it from: 
- Amazon.com 
 

Alfred Hitchcock: Marnie, 1964. Get it from:
- Amazon.com
 

John Russell Taylor: Hitch: The Life and Times of 
Alfred Hitchcock
. A biography, Da Capo Press, 1996. Get it from
Amazon.com.
Alfred Hitchcock and Art
Fatal Coincidences - until March 18, 2001
The exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
Biography, filmography and DVDs
 
Alfred Hitchcock and Art: Fatal Coincidences
 
The exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts explores the complex universe of Alfred Hitchcock. He was "an artist of anxiety, a designer of dread, an architect of uncertainty." The curators conceived the exhibition not chronologically, but as an entertaining melding of cinema, visual arts, music, mise-en-scène and photography. They assembled some 200 works of art, frame enlargements and never-before-seen film clips, props, posters and storyboards and arranged them in 14 scenes.
 
In gallery 1, one can find 21 inanimate objects like a bread knife (Blackmail), a glass of milk (Suspicion) and a key (Notorious), which, when given symbolic power or "fetishized", constitute the curators' entry point into the film-makers universe. They are accompanied by the music of Bernard Herrmann, the composer of the scores for Vertigo, North by Northwest and Psycho.
 
In gallery 2, the exhibition showcases 32 images of Hitchcock himself. In gallery 3, one can find Hitchcock having fun with his wife and daughter, playing "horsey", carrying his little girl on his back and imitating Charlie Chaplin. It is a space dedicated to his life and career.
 
Gallery 4 shows how Hitchcock's imagination was nurtured early on by the last vestiges of the Romantic and Symbolist movements in art and literature as well as by Victorian England. The dark and disquieting world of Edgar Allan Poe's stories and poems play a central role, exemplified in the fantastical illustrations by Beardsley, Rackham, Martini, Previati and Redon, one of Hitchcocks favorite painters by whom he owned a number of works.
 
Gallery 5 is dedicated to moving pictures by filmmakers like Fritz Lang, whose impact is felt in Rebecca and Psycho; by Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, who Hitchcock met in Berlin and whose style is evident in Saboteur; by Surrealist filmmaker Luis Buñuel with whose work Vertigo resonates and by Jean Cocteau, whose retelling of the Orpheus myth influenced The Birds. These images unfold simultaneously on two large screens.
 
A projected spiral greets visitors in gallery 6. Scenes like the killing in The 39 Steps and the chase through the movie theatre in Saboteur illustrate Hitchcock's universe. Voyeurism as a key theme is summed up in Rear Window with James Stewart as the injured photographer, hidden in his apartment, who observes his neighbours through his camera lens and is transformed form passive voyeur into an active party.
 
In gallery 7, the visitor is confronted with the abyss of the senses and of passion, illustrated by works by Magritte, Munch, Weiss and Rossetti as well as by four famous screen murders and four famous screen kisses by Hitchcock. Gallery 8 is dedicated to references to Catholicism, from confession to sacrifice and original sin, present in the movies Topaz, I Confess and The Lodger.
 
Gallery 9 discovers the femme fatale, icy and distant, so present in Hitchcock's work. Ingrid Bergman, Kim Novak, Grace Kelly, Tippi Hedren and Eva Marie Saint embody unattainable and enigmatic beauties of apparent coldness. Rossetti, Magritte, Man Ray and other artists with similar female types are confronted with Hitchcock's women.
 
Gallery 10 is devoted to the imagery of Dark Romanticism and Symbolism, apparent in Rebecca and Psycho. Late 19th century legends and tales, paintings by Redon, Vuillard, Coburn and Hammershoi as well as by Max Ernst and De Chirico explore the same theme.
 
The world of dreams as presented in Spellbound is at the center of gallery 11. Hitchcock asked Salvador Dalí to imagine "dreams with great visual sharpness and clarity, shaper than the film itself." Terror and fright, the horror off-screen, such as in Bates' Motel in Psycho, are evoked in gallery 12. The highlight on view is the original prop head of Norman Bates' mummified mother, surrounded by paintings by Munch, Martini, Frédéric and Dix.
 
Gallery 13 is devoted to Hitchcock as an architect of images who had mastered dizzying, labyrinthine perspectives of earlier masters of the turn of the century. Klee and Duchamp are painters who influenced the director in this regard. The final gallery with 40 posters from various countries retrace the cinematic voyage of Alfred Hitchcock.
 
Biography of Alfred Hitchcock 1899-1980
 
Alfred Hitchcock was born in London in 1899 as the youngest of three children. His father was a wholesale grocer. Alfred attended a Jesuit school which he left when his father died in 1914. He entered the School of Engineering and Navigation. At 19, he took an office job with a manufacturer of electrical cables and telegraph wires and began attending evening classes in, among other subjects, art history, later complemented by drawing and painting classes, which enabled him to transfer to the company's advertising department as a graphic designer. Soon after, he took a part-time job as title card illustrator in the editorial department of the American film company Famous Players-Lasky, which had recently set up a shop in Great Britain. He wrote intertitles for several silent films and made the acquaintance of the famous director George Fitzmaurice, who became Hitchcock's first mentor. He, too, had studied painting and believed that cinema had affinities with visual arts (Nathalie Bondil-Poupard).
 
1920-22, Hitchcock made drawings and sets. Then, he directed Number Thirteen, a film which remained unfinished due to lack of funds. At this time, he met the film editor and script girl Alma Reville, who became his wife when he was 27. Their only daughter later had small parts in a few Hitchcock movies. The name of Alfred's wife appeared in the credits of her husband's films for many years. She was his artistic and economic adviser. Only death separated the apparently happily married couple. In Hitchcock's movies, tall, cool and unattainable blondes became an obsession of the director - but Alma Reville was small and red-haired, far from this type of woman.
 
In 1924, the German producer Erich Pommer invited Hitchcock to Berlin to work as art director on the Balcon-Pommer co-production Die Prinzessin und der Geiger, rel. 1925). In Berlin, Hitchcock met Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau (1888-1931), a master of the silent movie. Murnau contributed to the Symbolist, metaphysical and dream dimension of Hitchcock's work. The fantastical imagery of the Expressionists and the visual readability of the Kammerspiel films were absorbed by Hitchcock. The Hitchcocks were interested in art, mainly by modern painters such as the Mexican David Alfaro Siqueiros and the Cuban Fidelio Ponce León. In later years, they purchased works by Raoul Dufy, Maurice de Vlaminck, Maurice Utrillo, Georges Rouault, Chaïm Soutine, Albert Gleizes, Milton Avery, Pierre Soulages, Auguste Rodin, Georges Braque's "birds series" and Paul Klee, who he called once his favorite painter.
 
According to some specialists, Hitchcock was a fat young boy, condemned to live in "fear" and to observe life. His upbringing in a Catholic school and as a "Cockney" gave him a guilt complex and, at the same time, a rebellious character.
 
In 1925, Hitchcock shot his first movie in the UK, The Pleasure Garden, released in 1927. But it was with The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog, a variation on the Jack the Ripper story, that one could first grasp the greatness of the Hitchcock to come. The visual narrative technique and attention to lighting he inherited from German cinema were confirmed to Blackmail (1929) and Murder! (1930). In 1935 and 1937, Hitchcock directed his first masterpieces, The Thirty-nine Steps and The Lady Vanishes. Both movies combined humour and suspense, were box-office successes and caught the attention of Hollywood.
 
Hitchcock was influenced by the German and Soviet film schools of his time. According to Guy Cocheval, "the scene in the London Underground in Rich and Strange (1932), with employees robotically repeating the same gestures while the protagonist is completely of of synch with them, can be read as a humoristic take on Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1926)". The scene in Hitchcock's Secret Agent (1936) in which panic suddenly sweeps through a Swiss chocolate factory shows the influence of Pudovkin.
 
In 1940, Hitchcock's first American movie, Rebecca, made at the instigation of David O. Selznick, was released. From then on, his American career was unstoppable. Spy movies, crime thrillers and black comedies followed. In the 1950s, his films came to visual and philosophical maturity. "At the same time, his conception of the hero became clouded for lack of guidelines in the postwar years". Vertigo, North by Northwest, Psycho and The Birds are considered masterpieces; among the films which followed later, only Frenzy stands out. Hitchcock rejected all naturalism, he favored the simplification of the actor's performances as well as of their costumes and hairstyles, his storytelling was schematized, the sets were theatrically stylized (Robert Daudelin).
 
At the age of 76, Alfred Hitchcock made his last movie, a comedy entitled Family Plot, released in 1976. Four years later, he died in Hollywood. He had never received an Oscar as a director. The Oscar for Rebecca in 1940 went to producer David O. Selznick. Instead, in 1967, Hitchcock received the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award.
 
Filmography of Alfred Hitchcock
 
- Number Thirteen, UK, unfinished, 1922
- The Pleasure Garden, UK, prod. 1925/ released 1927
- The Mountain Eagle, UK, prod. 1925, released 1927
- The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog, UK, prod. 1926, released 1927
- Downhill, UK, prod. and released 1927
- Easy Virtue, UK, prod. and released 1927
- The Ring, UK, prod. and released 1927
- The Farmer's Wife, UK, prod. 1927, released 1928
- Champagne, UK, prod. and released 1928
- The Manxman, UK, prod. 1928, released 1929
- Blackmail, UK, prod. and released 1929
- Juno and the Paycock, UK, prod. and released 1930
- Murder!, UK, prod. and released 1930
- The Skin Game, UK, prod. 1930-31, released 1931
- Number Seventeen, UK, prod. 1931, released 1932
- Rich and Strange, UK, prod. and released 1932
- Waltzes from Vienna, UK, prod. and released 1933
- The Man Who Knew Too Much, UK, prod. and released 1934
- The Thirty-nine Steps, UK, prod. and released 1935
- Secret Agent, UK, prod. 1935, released 1936
- Sabotage, UK, prod. and released 1936
- Young and Innocent, UK, prod. 1937, released 1938
- The Lady Vanishes, UK, prod. 1937, released 1938
- Jamaica Inn, UK, prod. 1938, released 1939
- Rebecca, USA, prod. 1939, released 1940
- Foreign Correspondent, USA, prod. and released 1940
- Mr. and Mrs. Smith, USA, prod. 1940, released 1941
- Suspicion, USA, prod. and released 1941
- Saboteur, USA, prod. and released 1942
- Shadow of a Doubt, USA, prod. 1942, released 1943
- Lifeboat, USA, prod. 1943, released 1944
- Aventure Malgache, UK, 1944
- Bon voyage, UK, 1944
- Spellbound, USA, prod. 1944, released 1945
- Notorious, USA, prod. 1945-46, released 1946
- The Paradise Case, USA, prod. 1946-47, released 1947
- Rope, USA, prod. and released 1948
- Under Capricorn, UK, prod. 1948, released 1949
- Stage Fright, UK, prod. 1949, released 1950
- Strangers on a Train, USA, prod. 1950, released 1951
- I Confess, USA, prod. 1952, released 1953
- Dial M for Murder, USA, prod. 1953, released 1954
- Rear Window, USA, prod. 1953, released 1954
- To Catch a Thief, USA, prod. 1954, released 1955
- The Trouble with Harry, USA, prod. 1954, released 1955
- The Man Who Knew Too Much, remake, USA, prod. 1955, released 1956
- The Wrong Man, USA, prod. and released 1956
- Vertigo, USA, prod. 1957, released 1958
- North by Northwest, USA, prod. 1958, released 1959
- Psycho, USA, prod. 1959-60, released 1960
- The Birds, USA, prod. 1962, released 1963
- Marnie, USA, prod. 1963-64, released 1964
- Torn Curtain, USA, prod. 1965-66, released 1966
- Topaz, USA, prod. 1968-69, released 1969
- Frenzy, UK, prod. 1971, released 1972
- Family Plot, USA, prod. 1975, released 1976
___________________________

This article is based on the information provided by the exhibition catalogue Alfred Hitchcock and Art (Edizioni Gabriele Mazzotta, Milan, 2000, 498 p.) from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in Canada.
 
For more articles on directors, actors and movies: Film.
 

www.cosmopolis.ch
No. 13, January 2001
current edition & archives
Art  Film  Music  History  Politics  Archives
Links  For Advertisers  Feedback  German edition  Travel

Copyright 2001  www.cosmopolis.ch  Louis Gerber  All rights reserved.