Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was born in London on August 13, 1899. His father, William Hitchcock, a grocer, and his mother, Emma Whelan Hitchcock, brought him up. As a young boy he loved to travel, and by the time he was eight he had ridden every bus line in London and explored all of its docks and shipping terminals. His parents were devoted Catholics and made sure their son had a proper upbringing. He attended St. Ignatius College, a Jesuit preparatory school in London, where he started on a course that would prepare him to become an electrical engineer. He eventually was forced to give up his courses at the University of London to help support his family by working as a technical clerk in a cable-manufacturing company. Not to be deterred, he rose from the lowly job to the advertising department. But Alfred had a love for movies. He set out for a job in the filmmaking industry. In 1920, his first break came. With help from an actor, he was able to get a job as a title designer and before long he became head of the titling section of a newly organized American firm. By 1923, he was a scenario writer for Gainsborough Pictures in Islington, England, and that same year he saw his first credit as art director for a film called
Ideas that consist of "a small town appears placid on the surface but reveals dark tensions underneath, an innocent man finds himself suddenly the object of guilt and suspicion, a wholesome-looking motel clerk is actually a crazed killer who impersonates his dead mother, and chases culminate at such familiar landmarks as the Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore. However, Hitchcock found his greatest success with suspenseful thrillers. The playwright, who is known for his verbal wit, was obviously better on the stage, and the silent film proved boring without sound. This time, while the men still do not know the bomb is there, the audience does know. One of his favorite practical jokes was describing a particularly bloody killing while he was riding a crowded elevator. However, it wasn"tmt enough to sustain it and the film was never completed. One would think that he would have missed this after so many glorious thrillers, instead Hitchcock replies, "I can hear them screaming when I'm making the picture. In 1980 Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom knighted him, though he had long been a naturalized citizen of the United States. In fact, he rarely sat in a theater with an audience watching one of his films. A year later Hitchcock got his first break. The picture was a slight melodrama, but it obtained good reviews and brought attention to Hitchcock as a capable director. He liked to create them on paper, figuring out every shot, every technical problem, and every movement of the camera and the actor.
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