Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hitchcock Birthday Bash: Guest Blogger Steven DeRosa author of "Writing with Hitchcock"

I really enjoyed this post by Steven DeRosa from Writing with Hitchcock (and also a Hitchcock/writing community on Facebook). It's all about the writing/the writers in Hitchcock films and how they connect to Sir Alfred. UTTERLY FASCINATING! Thank you so much Steven for the submission! It's amazing!


Alfred Hitchcock himself said that his favorite part of making movies was the time spent in his office with the writer when they plotted, invented, and devised new ways to thrill an audience. To me this has always been the most intriguing aspect of Hitchcock’s work, because it’s when the creative energies and ideas were their most pure—before the necessary compromises of budget, casting, performance, and the million and one other things that can go wrong during the making of a movie come into play.

The writers that worked with Hitchcock have been overlooked in large part because more attention in Hollywood is paid to stars and directors. The politics of the Hollywood studio system and the widening acceptance of the auteur theory downplayed the significance of the screenwriter’s contribution to the art of filmmaking. Frank Capra’s most successful films were all scripted by Robert Riskin , yet few people are familiar with Riskin’s name. Similarly, Ernst Lubitsch collaborated with Samson Raphaelson on nine films, and John Ford collaborated with Dudley Nichols on eleven. Again, these screenwriters never received the recognition enjoyed by the “auteurs” for whom they wrote. But the director who has been most often canonized as an auteur is Hitchcock. And Hitchcock never went out of his way to correct the myth that he was the sole creator of
his movies.

This is also the reason why Hitchcock’s films were frequently adapted from lesser-known novels and plays. Hitchcock learned a valuable lesson from his first Hollywood production, Rebecca, which was billed as "David O. Selznick's production of Daphne du Maurier’s celebrated novel ... directed by Alfred Hitchcock.” Thenceforth, whatever the source material, Hitchcock would make it his own. After all, it was “Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window," not “Alfred Hitchcock’s film of Cornell Woolrich's classic suspense story...”

In terms of writing I'd say that Hitchcock's films work so well and endure because there's a distinction between plot and story, which I explored in a recent video on

Without question Alfred Hitchcock has had an impact on the art and language of cinema like no other director. His signature style was rooted in the way he tells his stories visually. So often we’ll see these long, wordless sequences. And through these, he is able to put the audience into the mind of the character. He had a deep understanding of point of view editing—something you’ll see in nearly all of his films. Thus, he was never merely directing the action … but more interested in directing the audience. And that was really his genius.

See, isn't it fascinating!

I have a couple other guest posts all lined up, but I'd love to have even more! :-D Send your submissions to classicforeverblogger {at} yahoo {dot} com!


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