The Criterion Collection loves it some Alfred Hitchcock. And why wouldn’t they? The legendary director entertained, thrilled and terrified movie and TV viewers for years, and the company currently has editions of “The 39 Steps,” “Foreign Correspondent,” “The Lady Vanishes,” and “The Man Who Knew Too Much.” The director had no shortage of obsessions, and eyes are near the top of that list.
In his 1967 book, “Hitchcock,” François Truffaut quoted Hitch as saying, “Dialogue should simply be a sound among other sounds, just something that comes out of the mouths of people whose eyes tell the story in visual terms.”
We can see how truly he believed this in a new video by filmmaker :: kogonada. Featuring a score by Rob Cawley, the video essay pays tribute to the way the master of suspense focused on his characters’ eyes to reflect (with no small degree of tension) what was happening in his films.
Eyes have been called the window to the soul, and in watching the montage—heads up, some viewers might hate the looping—it’s obvious how ardently Hitch understood how a talented actor could convey the world through the right glance. Who is guilty? Who is terrified? Who is lost? And what films are those eyes from?
Watch below and see how familiar you are with Hitchcock’s eyes.