Alfred Hitchcock was a British director who changed the film industry forever. The movies he directed were intense thrillers that were dark and unsettling. He went to extreme lengths to carry out his views because he wanted to illuminate the dark parts of life that society wanted to shelter. The Hitchcock movies consisted of murder, rape, violence, blood, gore, things that no one ever wanted to see but became a guilty pleasure for society. Overall, Hitchcock is credited with directing 53 movies throughout the 1900s among other features he has participated in (Wood). Around half of his films were produced in Britain while the other half were produced in the United States. The majority of his movies followed an underlying common plot and shared a similar theme known as the ‘accused man’. In these movies, there is a double chase which refers to when the hero of the movie becomes the main suspect of the crime that has been committed and in order to clear his name the hero pursues the real criminal (Pattern). Over the years, his popularity skyrocketed and he helped to produce films that have stood the test of time. His most iconic film, Psycho, was released in 1960, and is bookmarked as the peak and also the beginning of the end of his career. This movie consists of mystery, conspiracy, suspense, never-used-before scare tactics, and the use of big name actors and actresses of that time (TOH!). Hitchcock thereafter followed this new intense format of film producing, testing the limits to produce one thrilling movie after the other in his years to come. Some more of Hitchcock’s well known films include Rear Window, North by Northwest, Vertigo, and Frenzy. In each of these films, there are elements that endorse but also undermine society’s values and the combination of these elements creates a masterpiece that reflects Hitchcock’s inner personality and his vision.
Soon after Psycho, Alfred moved back to London to work on one of his most disturbing films, titled Frenzy, in 1972. This movie was based on the book “Goodbye Piccadilly, Farewell Leicester Square” by Arthur La Bern which was ultimately inspired by a serial killer that terrorized London known as Jack the Stripper. This serial killer shares many similarities with Jack the Ripper because in essence, both killers raped and killed younger women that worked as prostitutes (Aurora). However, Jack the Stripper’s unique way of strangling his victims with ties is present in the movie Frenzy. Of course there was some embellishing and Hollywood added into the movie but overall the similarities are there. The movie Frenzy takes place in London and revolves around a serial killer nicknamed the ‘Necktie Murderer’. This follows the ‘accused man’ theme. The main character, Richard Blaney, discovers his ex wife strangled to death by a necktie, and soon becomes the prime suspect. He is determined to prove his innocence and clear his name (Ebert). In this thriller, no one is safe and the viewer is on the edge of their seat wondering what is going to happen next. In this exhibit, the red tie has the word ‘Frenzy’ embroidered on it. Immediately the parallels of the movie and this piece are presented. The tie is the murder weapon and the red coloring of the tie, represents the bloodshed of the victims that were mercilessly killed. This tie is a simple play on words and in one glance can give hints at what the movie entails.
This tie, along with the other items in the exhibit, all add something unique and ultimately create a cohesive collection that displays a central message. Without one of these pieces, the collection would truly not be the same. The overall theme of the exhibit is centered around old films and shed light on the movie making process and what it takes to create a successful motion picture. Some of the other pieces in this exhibit include storyboards, old handwritten scripts, old photographs of behind the scenes, production budgets, and old contracts. Each one of these pieces can be found the the Boone Special Collections located in the upstairs of the Pepperdine Library. The staff is extraordinarily knowledgeable and helpful with the collection and will be able to answer any questions. In this collection there really is something for everyone, family, friends, history buffs, people interested in films, or someone who just wants to learn. While this exhibit is informational and educational, it is also a work of art that needs to be shared.
Aurora. “5 Hitchcock Murderers and Their Real-Life Inspirations.” Once upon a Screen…, 29
Ebert, Roger. “Frenzy Movie Review & Film Summary (1972) | Roger Ebert.”
RogerEbert.com, Brian Grazer, 1 Jan. 2013, www.rogerebert.com/reviews/frenzy-1972.
Pattern, David. “Filmography.” Hollywood Reporter (1948) – Let ‘Em Play God – The Alfred
Hitchcock Wiki, 2014, the.hitchcock.zone/wiki/Filmography.
TOH!, TOH! “Alfred Hitchcock’s Top 25 Films, Ranked.” IndieWire, IndieWire, 13 Aug.
Wood, Robin. “Alfred Hitchcock.” The St. James Film Directors Encyclopedia, by Andrew
Sarris, Visible Ink Press, 1998, pp. 218–223.