Sir Alfred Hitchcock, known affectionately as “the Master of Suspense,” was an English film director and producer who changed the face of the film industry. He’s comfortably one of the most influential filmmakers ever to live, as he ripped up the script and how things were done to bring in a completely new way of, not only watching films but enjoying them. As a result of his new way of thinking, it went on to affect cinemas all around the world in the process.
One of the first things you can credit Alfred Hitchcock with is changing how audiences viewed movies at the cinema. Prior to his hit film Psycho which was released in 1960, people just turned up to watch a film no matter what point it was at. Hitchcock saw this and immediately set about changing it by in a way demanding that viewers not only arrive on time but that they don’t then inform others of the ending. This set a precedent that if you’re going to watch a movie, you arrive in good time to watch from the very beginning.
What Hitchcock became famous for was the journey that he would take viewers on throughout one of his movies, to the delight of both audiences and critics. However, it did not please everyone, with censors, on the other hand, being left dismayed. He knew what appealed to the masses, they loved nothing more than a plot packed full of thrills and suspense, and he gave it to them, sometimes even twice in the same year.
Hitchcock also popularised the term ‘MacGuffin’ which is recognized still to this very day in the industry. He did this in his film ‘The 39 Steps’, with a MacGuffin being a concept, device or object a plot revolves around, crucial to the characters in the story, but something the audience doesn’t really invest themselves in. Examples of a MacGuffin are the Holy Grail in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and the One Ring in Lord of the Rings.
You can’t underestimate Alfred Hitchcock’s influence on the film industry, with his techniques still being prevalent today. He popularised the use of the ‘dolly zoom’ where the zoom is adjusted accordingly to keep the subject the same size within the frame, as the camera is moved closer or further away, making the subject appear stationary while the background size changes. This technique was used in hit Spielberg films such as E.T. and Jaws.
We even saw Hitchcock create Rope with the illusion that it was filmed over one straight take. This is another technique which has gone on to be popular within the industry, with films such as Birdman and Victoria being filmed in the same way. It went on to inspire technology which can produce the technique for real, but it was all down to Hitchcock and his out of the box thinking so to speak.
Alfred Hitchcock really did affect the cinema in many ways. He changed how viewers went about watching films and the emotions they felt, and he did this by developing a lot of techniques while creating movies which would then go on to have the desired effect on the big screen. Today, his influence is not only seen in the film but has been used to inspire books, video titles and even a slot game developed by NextGen – one of the many online slot developers next to Microgaming. With his techniques still being used today, it shows just how much of an influence Hitchcock really had.