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The Great Directors: Vol. 3

Mar 9th, 2011

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Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980)

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The first English-language on our Great Directors list, Alfred Hitchcock is an elder statesman of old-fashioned Hollywood motion pictures. Adored by the critical community as one of the film industry's biggest subversive storytellers and embraced with a kind of mass popularity that few directors have seen since (maybe Spielberg?), Hitchcock was - and remains - a filmmaker that pretty much everybody likes in one way or another.

And in addition to this, there's something almost fantastical about how well Hitchcock's movies have aged. Sometimes the act of revisiting mid-century Hollywood pictures must be done while constantly reminding one's self of the cultural syntax of the age, but in revisiting pictures like Shadow of a Doubt, Rear Window and even Psycho it's clearly apparent that the guy was way ahead of his time.

Hitchcock's complete oeuvre on DVD and Blu-ray, though, is a slippery beast. Studios are moving painfully slowly in bringing the director's films to Blu-ray (only two so far? For shame...), and between fantastic Criterion DVD editions being out of print and Hitchcock's oldest films having been released and re-released a trillion times (with varying quality), it's hard to figure out which Hitch pictures to add to the library.

So let us guide you through the numerous multi-DVD box sets, the hard-to-find curios and the Blu-ray advantages of ol' Hitch. Every cineaste has her/his own particular favorites - some choose Vertigo over North by Northwest; others would dream of doing so - but all would agree that Hitchcock's major works are quite simply mandatory viewing for anyone serious about film appreciation.

Memorable Hitchcock quotes:

“There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.”

"Always make the audience suffer as much as possible."

"Film your murders like love scenes, and film your love scenes like murders."

"To make a great film you need three things - the script, the script and the script."

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