Always make the audience suffer as much as possible - Alfred Hitchcock (flim director)

The master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock was known for his edge of your seat films.

The Suspense film genre is so different today than the work Alfred Hitchcock produced. Back then, you didn't need blood, guts, and gore to be scared out of your wits. Known as the "Master of Suspense" he directed over 50 films and his TV series, 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents' which aired for 10 years. Most of his films are well known to anyone who considers themselves a film buff and 'Hitch' perfected the camo appearance in his films, often as subtle as the before and after model in a weight loss ad in a newspaper held by one of the characters in Lifeboat (1944). You often had to pay close attention so as not to miss him. This form of subtlety has been tepidly imitated by today's directors and producers who seem to prefer a more in your face technique, never achieving the same artistic flair. He developed a style of camera movement that mimics a person's gaze, turning viewers into voyeurs, framing the shots to maximize anxiety and fear, dubbed 'Hitchcockian'. He was an accomplished artist whose film career began designing sets, and filled in when the director for 'Always Tell Your Wife' (1923) fell ill. His career took off from there.  When I started this post I quickly realized I've seen and loved so many Hitchcock films, if I list my favorites it would take up the entire page. Instead, I tried to whittle down to my top 6 all time most watched, no small feat. In no particular order: 

The Birds (1963) based on a short story by Daphne du Maurier, sudden attacks by birds on small town Bodega Bay, upon it's towns people. Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren)  meets Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor) in a San Francisco pet store and decides to follow him home. She brings with her the gift of two love birds he ordered for his neice's birthday and attacked by a seagull while attempting to deliver. Her visit seems to conicide with a series of gradual unexplained attacks by various species of birds. This movie scared the hell out of me as a child.

Rear Window (1954) takes place entirely in the backyard of photographer, L.B. Jeffries (James Stewart) who is confined to a wheelchair due to an injury sustained while on the job. Racked with boredom he soon takes to watching his neighbors through the window of his Greenwich Village apartment He sees what he believes to be a murder and with his girlfriend and housekeeper attempts to solve the crime himself.  This movie includes heavy hitters of the time, Grace Kelly, Raymond Burr, and Thelma Ritter (mother of John Ritter). 

Psycho (1959) Secretary Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) embezzles money from her employer to run away with her boyfriend, Sam Loomis (John Gavin). Now a fugitive, taking back roads to avoid detection by the police she gets caught in a rainstorm and stops at the dilapidated Bates Motel run by shy, socially awkward Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), a young man with a difficult relationship with his mother. Mystery ensues as everyone is looking for Marion who isn't seen again afterwards. This movie is ranked among one of the best of all time.

North by Northwest (1946) New York City ad executive Roger O. Thornhill (Cary Grant) is pursued by relentless spy Phillip Vandamm (James Mason) after he is mistaken for a government agent. Hunted by Vandamm and his associates, the desperate Thornhill ends up on a cross country odyssey, crossing paths with a beautiful and mysterious woman played by Eva Marie Saint. Vandamm's goons close in on Thornhill which result in some iconic action sequences.

Rebecca (1940) A shy, reserved young woman who works as a professional companion marries a captivating widower only to discover she must live in the shadow of his former wife, Rebecca, who died mysteriously several years earlier. The young wife must come to grips with the secrets of her handsome, glacial husband portrayed by Laurence Olivier. She also must deal with the overbearing, obsessed housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers who will not accept her as the new mistress of the house.

Suspicion (1941) Charming scoundrel, Johnnie Aysgarth (Cary Grant) woos wealthy but plain Lina McLaidlaw (Joan Fontaine), who runs away with him despite the warnings of her disapproving father. After their whirlwind marriage, Johnnie's spending and risky financial ventures cause Lina to suspect he's become involved in unscrupulous dealings. When his dear friend and business partner, Beaky dies under suspicious circumstances on a business trip, she fears her husband might kill her for her inheritance.


  1. Some years ago I finally watched "The Birds". It was very interesting. I imagine had I watched it as a child I'd be terrified, too. I must admit after watching it, I was a bit leary of seeing flocks of birds.

  2. The latter three I don’t think I’ve ever seen. Guess it’ll be a Hitchcock binge weekend!

    1. We had one of those not too long ago when I introduced Hitch movies to the hubz and he loved them!


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