Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock KBE (13 August 1899 – 29 April 1980) was an English film director and producer, at times referred to as "The Master of Suspense". He pioneered many elements of the suspense and psychological thriller genres. He had a successful career in British cinema with both silent films and early talkies and became renowned as England's best director. Hitchcock moved to Hollywood in 1939, and became a US citizen in 1955.
Hitchcock became a highly visible public figure through interviews, movie trailers, cameo appearances in his own films, and the ten years in which he hosted the television programme Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955-1965). He also fashioned for himself a recognisable directorial style. Hitchcock's stylistic trademarks include the use of camera movement that mimics a person's gaze, forcing viewers to engage in a form of voyeurism. In addition, he framed shots to maximise anxiety, fear, or empathy, and used innovative forms of film editing. His work often features fugitives on the run alongside "icy blonde" female characters. In 1978, film critic John Russell Taylor described Hitchcock as "the most universally recognizable person in the world", and "a straightforward middle-class Englishman who just happened to be an artistic genius".
Prior to 1980, there had long been talk of Hitchcock being knighted for his contribution to film. Critic Roger Ebert wrote: "Other British directors like Sir Carol Reed and Sir Charlie Chaplin were knighted years ago, while Hitchcock, universally considered by film students to be one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, was passed over". Hitchcock later received his knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II in the 1980 New Year Honours.
Hitchcock directed more than fifty feature films in a career spanning six decades and is often regarded as one of the most influential directors in cinematic history. Following a 2007 critics' poll by Britain's Daily Telegraph in which he was ranked Britain's greatest filmmaker, one scholar wrote: "Hitchcock did more than any director to shape modern cinema, which would be utterly different without him. His flair was for narrative, cruelly withholding crucial information (from his characters and from the audience) and engaging the emotions of the audience like no one else." Hitchcock's first thriller, The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1926), helped shape the thriller genre in film. His 1929 film, Blackmail, is often cited as the first British sound feature film, while Rear Window (1954), Vertigo (1958), North by Northwest (1959), and Psycho (1960) are regularly ranked among the greatest films of all time....LESS