Alfred Hitchcock’s 117th Birthday — #Hitchcock117

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Just as an off the cuff, here are my one hundred and seventeen reasons to celebrate Alfred Hitchcock on this day:

  1. his countless contributions toward creating the language of film.
  2. the MacGuffin (that plot device which has little significance to the audience, but which appears to motivate the characters)
  3. the double-chase (the protagonist wanted by the authorities, but also being pursued by the villain)
  4. the shower scene in Psycho
  5. the crop duster scene in North by Northwest
  6. the Statue of Liberty scene in Saboteur
  7. Grace Kelly
  8. Bernard Herrmann’s score for Vertigo
  9. San Francisco never looked better than it does in Vertigo
  10. Uncle Charlie
  11. Bruno’s strangulation of Miriam reflected in her fallen eyeglasses in Strangers on a Train
  12. the moment Thorwald looks directly at Jefferies (and us) in Rear Window
  13. that he managed to make Cary Grant a murderer in Suspicion despite studio and censorship pressure
  14. the location photography in I Confess
  15. great last lines, To Catch a Thief: “So this is where you live. Mother will love it here.”
  16. the runaway car scene in Family Plot
  17. his suspense over shock credo
  18. the false flashback in Stage Fright 
  19. Jefferies fending off Thorwald with flashbulbs in Rear Window
  20. Melanie Daniels (Tippi) slapping the hysterical mother in The Birds
  21. the drunk prophesying “the end of the world” in The Birds
  22. Stella McCaffery (Thelma Ritter) in Rear Window (with much assistance from John Michael Hayes’s dialogue)
  23. that he kept Joseph Stefano around after he suggested starting Psycho with Marion and killing her off a third of the way in
  24. the auction scene in North by Northwest (with much assistance from Ernest Lehman’s dialogue)
  25. shooting through a glass ceiling to reveal Mrs. Bunting’s agitated lodger in The Lodger
  26. the theremin in Spellbound
  27. directing James Stewart in four memorable roles
  28. the long takes in Rope
  29. his long collaboration with cinematographer Robert Burks
  30. the confined space of Lifeboat 
  31. Rusk and Babs on the potato truck in Frenzy
  32. the crane shot in Young and Innocent
  33. his persistent use of point-of-view editing
  34. the emerald ring in Shadow of a Doubt
  35. turning in a respectable screwball comedy with Mr. and Mrs. Smith
  36. Gromek’s killing in Torn Curtain
  37. Jefferies watching Miss Lonelyhearts preparing dinner for an imaginary lover in Rear Window
  38. fireworks, literal and otherwise, in To Catch a Thief
  39. any of Hitchcock’s cameos
  40. Louis Bernard’s facepaint smearing on Ben’s hands in the marketplace scene in The Man Who Knew Too Much
  41. Bernard Herrmann’s score for North by Northwest
  42. keeping the camera in the alley outside the Blaney Matrimonial Agency for the discovery of Brenda Blaney’s body in Frenzy
  43. the moment Annie Hayworth (Suzanne Pleshette) turns her head away from the camera when Melanie (talking to Mitch on the phone) decides she will stay for Cathy’s birthday party in The Birds
  44. the silence as we wait for Marnie’s shoe to drop as she tiptoes past the cleaning lady in Marnie
  45. his preference for conveying the story through visual means rather than through dialogue
  46. the way Hitchcock makes us completely abandon our allegiance to Marion when we are relieved that her car (and corpse) sinks into the swamp behind the Bates Motel in Psycho 
  47. Lila Crane discovering Mrs. Bates in the fruit cellar
  48. the way Hitchcock makes us root for Bruno to retrieve the dropped cigarette lighter from the sewer drain which he intends to use to frame Guy in Strangers on a Train
  49. the depleting champagne bottles in Notorious
  50. Jo’s friends being left behind and in the dark in The Man Who Knew Too Much
  51. Edith Head’s costume designs
  52. all those pairs and references to “two” in Shadow of a Doubt
  53. all those references to pairs in Strangers on a Train
  54. the “knife” scene in Blackmail
  55. Charles Laughton in Jamaica Inn 
  56. directing Cary Grant in four memorable roles
  57. Nova Pilbeam
  58. great last lines, Frenzy: “Mr. Rusk, you’re not wearing your tie.”
  59. Richard Hannay discovering the Professor’s missing finger in The 39 Steps
  60. the bullet stopped by the Bible in The 39 Steps
  61. the milkman helping Hannay escape in The 39 steps
  62. Mr. Memory
  63. Ernie’s restaurant
  64. Patricia Hitchcock as Barbara Morton in Strangers on a Train
  65. Pretty nearly every filmmaker who has copied Hitchcock since
  66. the bomb explosion on the bus in Sabotage
  67. the Albert Hall sequence in both versions of The Man Who Knew Too Much
  68. when Fred Hill gets hit in the eye his first time on the ship’s deck in Rich and Strange
  69. Mrs. Danvers showing Rebecca’s negligee to the second Mrs. DeWinter in Rebecca 
  70. the bird attack on Melanie in the attic
  71. Hank whistling “Whatever Will Be” so his parents can find him in The Man Who Knew Too Much
  72. William Devane in Family Plot
  73. a bomb in a birdcage in Sabotage
  74. Mrs. Verloc thinking she sees her dead brother Stevie multiple times in Sabotage
  75. Hitchcock’s opening prologue to The Wrong Man
  76. Saul Bass’s title designs for VertigoNorth by Northwest, and Psycho
  77. the dolly-zoom shot in Vertigo
  78. the Mount Rushmore scene in North by Northwest
  79. Claude Rains in Notorious 
  80. those many long, wordless sequences
  81. the flashback/letter-writing scene in Vertigo
  82. his ability to transform innocent objects into something menacing—e.g. the blood-stained doll in Stage Fright
  83. the drummer’s twitching eyes in Young and Innocent
  84. the red gunshot flash in Spellbound
  85. the umbrella scene in Foreign Correspondent
  86. the glass of milk in Suspicion
  87. Bernard Herrmann’s score for Psycho
  88. the high angle shot of “Mrs. Bates” attacking Arbogast atop the stairs in Psycho
  89. the use of mirrors in Vertigo
  90. Caldicott and Charters
  91. Ingrid Bergman
  92. his decisions on when to move the camera
  93. the auction scene in The Skin Game
  94. the Crofter and his wife in The 39 Steps
  95. the sideshow freaks in Saboteur
  96. Bernard Herrmann’s appearance in The Man Who Knew Too Much
  97. Leo G. Carroll
  98. John Williams (the actor, not the composer)
  99. his speech at the AFI tribute thanking Alma
  100. that he tossed aside making The Wreck of the Mary Deare in favor of what became North by Northwest
  101. that he tossed aside Flamingo Feather in favor of what became Vertigo
  102. The Trouble with Harry
  103. the food motif in Frenzy
  104. great last lines, Psycho: “I’m not even going to swat that fly. I hope they are watching… they’ll see. They’ll see and they’ll know, and they’ll say, ‘Why, she wouldn’t even harm a fly.'”
  105. Lisa Carol Fremont’s entrance in Rear Window
  106. Francie Stevens’s clothes in To Catch a Thief
  107. Jennifer Rogers’s “short fuse”
  108. Bernard Herrmann’s score for Marnie
  109. a sedated Jo’s reaction to learning Hank has been kidnapped
  110. casting Kim Novak in Vertigo when Vera Miles backed out
  111. his self-designed caricature
  112. his prologues and epilogues to Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour
  113. his respect for the audience
  114. his restrained and intelligent use of 3D in Dial M for Murder
  115. the jungle gym scene in The Birds
  116. the interrogation scene in The Wrong Man
  117. the wine cellar scene in Notorious

Feel free to share your own.

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