He is the Master of Suspense…
‘In Hitchcock’s world we are all tainted by original sin and therefore fair game for attack,’ says the narrator of the recent UK TV documentary ‘Interview with the Master’.
From ‘The Birds’ (1963), highlighting the apocalyptic sentiment of the 1960’s, to the psychological discourse of ‘Vertigo’ (1958) and ‘Psycho’ (1960) or the high octane chase of ‘North By North West’ (1959), Hitchcock had ways to send chills down anyone’s spine.
To be sure, Hitchcock’s work is easily recognisable by its features – the beautiful, but culpable young women; afflicted dualistic characters; affable villains; long drawn out suspense sequences; the deliberate watchful eye of the camera; his own cameo appearances; psychological theories and diagnoses; noir lines and shadows; patterned titles and amelodic tones etc.
But is Hitchcock an auteur by singularity or an auteur by collaboration? Saul Bass designed many of Hitchcock’s title sequences and Bernard Herrmann composed music for all but a couple of his films. If the style of a film is a sum of its parts, then without Hitchcock’s collaborators, would his films be quite so iconic?
James Cameron and Woody Allen like to cast the same actors and crew in repeated films.
Auteurs by collaboration or auteurs by singularity?
Small print disclaimer: these are some of my favourite filmmakers so please note that I am not trying to take anything away from their work, just putting the question out there as discussed by Aliens&Others.