Thursday, August 13, 2009


Today is the birthday of Alfred Hitchcock. He was born in 1899 in London. The most formative episode in his young life took place at the age of six when his father sent him down the police station with a note instructing the officer in charge to lock him in a cell for ten minutes. Throughout his film career, respectable characters played by Cary Grant and James Stewart and Henry Fonda were repeatedly menaced by policemen, picked up and held on mysterious charges, stopped and questioned, watched, circled, pursued, and occasionally rescued, usually in a way that made the audience laugh with relief. Handcuffs became a leitmotif; sometimes you notice the stars hands, unshackled, are held as if bound. It is amazing how small incidents from our childhoods will haunt us for the rest of our lives. Alfred Hitchcock never won an Oscar for film direction, but a lot of lesser directors who wished they were half as good as him did. Alfred Hitchcock appears six times in A Book of Ages.

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