1899 - 1980
Alfred Hitchcock was born on August 13th. Happy Birthday! According to astrology this Leo baby gravitates toward the unique, the strange, the unusual because it allows him to play out his own inner conflicts.
For many of us our first memories of Hitch might be his weekly television show and his droll introductions to a variety of frightening and funny stories. Hitchcock is a director who entertains the masses while moving critics to search for superlatives. He shocked, fascinated, confounded and entertained audiences in his long, prolific career and will continue to do so.
I'm crazy about the guy and the titles of some favourites explain why. North by Northwest (1959), the ultimate chase and cinematic offspring to The 39 Steps (1935). Rear Window (1954) that tests and mocks the movie-goers voyeurism. The wonderful character studies in Lifeboat (1944). The exuberant joy of The Lady Vanishes (1938) and the terror of happenstance in Strangers on a Train (1951). Murder most civilized in Dial M for Murder (1954) and the cheeky The Trouble With Harry (1955). The tortured minds of Uncle Charley in Shadow of a Doubt (1943) and Norman Bates in Psycho (1960).
Today I am not going to encourage you to rewatch your favourite Hitchcock or seek out a new one in celebration. I want to turn your attention to the late American author George Baxt (1923 - 2008). A prolific mystery writer of a unique sensibility Baxt wrote a series of novels wherein Hollywood celebrities became detective protagonists (Bette, Bogie, Powell & Loy, Gable & Lombard, Astaire & Rogers, Dorothy Parker, Tallulah Bankhead). His take on Hitch as he and wife Alma become mixed up with spies is an absolute delight in The Alfred Hitchcock Murder Case, published 1986. Discover a new classic and bake a cake with a file in it.