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Alfred Hitchcock: Behind the Curtain of Suspense

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Alfred Hitchcock: Behind the Curtain of Suspense

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Wednesday, June 26, 2024 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET
Code: 1K0484
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Alfred Hitchcock, 1955

Legendary master of screen tension Alfred Hitchcock shocked, thrilled, amused, and delighted moviegoers and TV viewers throughout his half-century directing career. The meticulous planning that went into his productions resulted in more than 50 tension-filled films—among them Shadow of a DoubtNotoriousVertigo, To Catch a Thief, Rear Window, North by Northwest, and Psycho—that continue to grip audiences in the 21st century. 

Signature Hitchcockian moments are among the most famous in film history: ominous crows gathering on a playground jungle gym to await the exodus of schoolchildren; repentant embezzler Janet Leigh taking a fateful shower in a dreary motel; James Stewart spying from a wheelchair on one neighbor too many in his Greenwich Village apartment; Cary Grant facing off with a crop-dusting biplane; emotionally damaged police detective Stewart making the fatal mistake of falling in love with mysterious Kim Novak; and Grace Kelly defending herself with scissors.

There are deadly pursuits up the Statue of Liberty and harrowing plummets from Mount Rushmore, corpses floating in the Thames, and strangulations reflected in fallen eyeglasses. In a Hitchcock film, a political assassination can occur under a sea of umbrellas or during the clash of cymbals.

Unlike most Hollywood film directors, Alfred Hitchcock was instantly recognizable to ticket buyers in part due to his legendary walk-on appearances in his films; as the morosely entertaining host of “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” and “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour” and by his colorful media interviews where reporters were regularly subjected to the Master of Suspense’s trademark wit and gallows humor.

Film historian Max Alvarez traces Alfred Hitchcock’s professional and artistic development from silent filmmaker in 1920s England to a Hollywood commercial force to be reckoned with during the 1940s and ’50s. He includes electrifying selections from the director’s filmography and rare behind-the-scenes archival material illustrating how key Hitchcock productions evolved from page to screen.

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