Alfred Hitchcock enjoyed a long and successful career. He began making movies in 1921 and continued until 1976. Starting out with silent films, he gradually climbed his way to the top and at the end of career even had his own television series (Sterritt, 1993).
His movies are suspenseful, humorous, insightful into the human condition, and are considered a work of genius. From his camera movements that simulated a person’s gaze to his unyielding impression of the human condition, his works are timeless and true.
While he had some main themes to his movies, they changed over time and were representative of fears experienced through society as well as within each individual audience member. His stories allowed the audience to easily identify with the characters while still knowing crucial information that provides suspense for viewers (Spoto, 2008).
It is important to differentiate between the psychological thriller and the psychoanalytical thriller. According to Spoto, Hitchcock clearly differentiated between the two types o
f thrillers: “The psychological film is quite a different thing from the psychoanalytical. If by psychological film you mean a particular way of telling a story, by trying to get at the characters, then I think it is inevitable that the psychological approach to the? story will be employed more and more” (2008, p. 143)
Hitchcock did not think that psychoanalytical films had any place in the theater, and aside from his early movie Spellbound, he believed his films to be strictly psychological thrillers. This change can be attributed to Hitchcock’s belief that “Psychoanalytical films…stories about illness, doctors, patients and treatment, [were] dismissed
as a passing phase” (Spoto, 2008, p. 143)
The following pages are set up chronologically to aide you in your discovery of Alfred Hitchcock’s works and how they relate to psychological theory.