Friday, August 1, 2014

The Directors Project: #21 - Alfred Hitchcock

Scene from Cinema Paradiso
With the many lists and essays written on the subject of film, there has been one thing that The Oscar Buzz has tried to understand: Who is my favorite of the film world? For 10 weeks this summer, I will be exploring this with a countdown of the Top 50 names based on a numerical ranking of ratings from various sources, the following is a list of directors who rank above everyone else. With occasional upsets, this is intended as both a discussion opener as well as a better understanding of me as a film critic and fan. Please enjoy and leave any comments you have regarding the entry's selection.


Years Active: 1920-1976

Films as Director: 54

Oscar Wins: 0

Who: In terms of iconic directors, there are few as familiar to audiences, old and new, as the man whose prolific career managed to produce some of the greatest suspense and horror films to ever exist. In a sense, Hitchcock was a brand unto himself, even making his silhouette a piece of iconography. He not only made interesting films, he decided to market them with his own branding of complicated trailers and specific theater etiquette that remains the stuff of legend. It is tough to determine if the man or his work is more popular. Even then, his films pushed genres forward while creating tropes and establishing shots that continue to be referenced by professional directors to this day. He packs visceral sensations into every one of his films and managing to impact the mainstream cinema in ways that were ambitious and even when compared to Steven Spielberg, did so much that it is impossible not to like the guy.

Scene from Rear Window
-- Rear Window (1954) --

Flickchart Ranking: #87 (850 points)
IMDb Total: 6/10 (60 points)
Perks: None
Total: 910 points

-- Psycho (1960) --

Flickchart Ranking: #205 (700 points)
IMDb Total: 6/10 (60 points)
Perks: None
Total: 760 points

-- North By Northwest (1959) --

Flickchart Ranking: #219 (700 points)
IMDb Total: 6/10 (60 points)
Perks: None
Total: 760 points

-- Strangers on a Train (1951) --

Flickchart Ranking: #321 (600 points)
IMDb Total: 6/10 (60 points)
Perks: None
Total: 660 points

-- Vertigo (1958) --

Flickchart Ranking: #469 (450 points)
IMDb Total:  3/10 (30 points)
Perks: None
Total: 480 points

OVERALL TOTAL: 3570 points

Scene from Strangers on a Train
While there is a portion of me that wants to undermine Hitchcock, I do realize that I have seen very few of his movies. Most of them leave a definitive impression. Some may be dated, but for the most part, there is craft and something ambitious going on that seems unprecedented for a director of his stature today. He made cinema exciting and unique and I slowly have realized that while I have seen some of the classics, I haven't seen all of the classics, and it feels impossible to criticize him knowing this. The man didn't have a golden period. He was consistently releasing films that became iconic. What I'm saying is that I clearly need to see more Hitchcock, but right now, he is really an enviably impressive director to me.

UP NEXT: A visceral filmmaker who is overtly emotional with his imagery while dealing with deeper philosophical subjects.

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