Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Master of Images: The Use of Art by Alfred Hitchcock

For the entire month of July, I'm going to dedicate posts to my all-time favorite director, Alfred Hitchcock. If you haven't been able to tell, I am a huge Hitchcock fan- but really, who isn't? Personally, watching his masterful films like Rear Window and Strangers on a Train encouraged me to delve into the world of classic cinema. And here we are today.

I'm titling this theme "The Master of Images" because I feel that Hitch was master of far more than only suspense. We've already delved into some of his more famous uses of art in film, but I've barely touched the surface. Still, I'm including links to those earlier posts here, in case you are interested.
By the way, Hitch was more than a great director. I've talked about the art of a caricature and no one understood this more than Hitch. He beat everyone to the punch, using his own formidable artistic talents (which granted, don't quite come through here) to create his own silhouette which famously appeared on Alfred Hitchcock Presents. What can capture Hitch's paunchy, self-confident face more than his own drawing?! Hitch would sign some autographs with this silhouette, which are quite valuable.

Anyhow.... look forward to some in-depth Hitchcock in the coming month and enjoy the links to older posts below!

Hitch's first American-produced film (which was based on an excellent British best-seller) was a winner, in the Academy Award sense. I studied the use of a ghostly painting of an ancestor that plays a pivotal role in the famous costume-ball scene. Except some more Rebecca shortly. 

Hitchcock employed famous artist Salvatore Dali's crazy, Freudian dream sequences, which worked perfectly with this very psychological drama starring Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck.

The infamous Carlotta painting plays a huge part in this film, starring Kim Novak and Jimmy Stewart. Hitch employs a common tactic of using a painting to stand in for a ghostly, supernatural character. In fact, this technique was mirrored in an earlier film, Rebecca (see above). 

Psycho (1960)

Also of note is a post I wrote about famed graphic designer, Saul Bass, whose work featured in many of Hitchcock's films in the form of title sequences, including Psycho

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