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Alfred Hitchcock

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Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was born on 13 August 1899 in Leytonstone, England.

On one occasion, Alfred's father sent him to the local police station with a letter. The police officer read the letter and immediately locked the young Alfred in a cell. After ten minutes, he released the boy explaining that this is what happens to people who do bad things. As a result of this episode, Alfred was frightened of police for the rest of his life - he even wanted the inscription on his tombstone to be "This is what we do to bad little boys." (In fact, it reads "I'm in on a plot.")

He began his career in films in 1919 at the Paramount studios in London where he began as an illustrator of title cards for silent films. There he learnt script writing, editing and art direction. In 1922, he became an assistant director and began directing his first film, Number 13, which was never finished.

He worked for a time as an assistant director at the UFA studies in Germany. His first completed film was an Anglo-German co-production, The Pleasure Garden, made in 1925.

His first successful film, The Lodger, in 1925 was typical of his future films, with an innocent victim falsely accused of crimes becoming involved in a web of intrigue.

He made his first sound film, Blackmail, in 1929. Hitchcock's real commercial success began with The Man who Knew Too Much in 1934.

At the beginning of the Second World War, in 1939, Hitchcock moved to Hollywood. He was turned down by most of the major studios because they didn't believe that he could make a Hollywood-style film. Finally, he was contracted by David O Selznick to make a movie about the sinking of the Titanic but, when they couldn't find a suitable ship to sink, he was reassigned to direct Rebecca.

His success and the quality of his films increased throughout the forties and fifties.

Hitchcock made a cameo appearance in all of his films. These were near the beginning of the film because he knew that audiences looked for him and he didn't want to distract them from the plot.

During the sixties, the frequency of his films diminished as Hitchcock became more of a celebrity and less an active director. He hosted two two television series, Alfred Hitchcock Presents from 1959 to 1962, and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, from 1963 to 1965.

Alfred Hitchcock directed his last film, Family Plot, in 1976. He was knighted in January 1980 and died on 28 April that year.

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