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Movie buffs know Alfred Hitchcock, of course, mostly for his American films- "Rebecca", "North by Northwest", "The Birds", "Marnie", "Vertigo", and "The Man Who Knew Too Much" (among others). But, what really sets Hitchcock apart - beginning with his earliest films done in England prior to World War II, is the fact that he was as much a writer as a director, even if the screenplay was actually "written" by someone else.

"Although one aspect of Alfred Hitchcock's rhetoric drastically privileged the image over the word, he also insisted that it was during the screenwriting that his most serious work was done. He defined the screenwriting process as the space where all fundamental directorial decisions have already been made; he did not think of "writing" apart from the work he planned for the camera to do. Screenwriting meant not only creating the imagery that would be the bone-structure of the story but also forming a total system where the literary and visual elements of the movie would be designed in a dynamic interaction" (Gross, 1999, p. 34). In other words, Hitchcock was so involved in the creation of the script- not just the words per se, but how they would be spoken, and from what angle they would be filmed, that he was literally a one-man production "crew" in the planning stage. Even from his earliest films, he never gave the actors or other crew members more than a puppet status. Does this make him what the French refer to as "auteur"?

The word "auteur" has slipped from common usage when describing an artist of film. Perhaps, and there are critics that would rebut it, today only Woody Allen and Spike Lee are left as someone who is involved in every creative process of film making. While surely there were auteurs in the early days- D.W. Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, Mack Sennett and Cecil B. deMille, maybe Selznick and Welles, today, we consider that the term was "invented" for Hitchcock. For more than half a...

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ALFRED HITCHCOCK. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 06:38, May 31, 2020, from