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Having helped define the idea of the cinematic thriller, Alfred Hitchcock is revered as one of the most prolific directors in history, and he even has his own holiday. Celebrated on March 12 — no one is sure why — Hitchcock Day is an ode to the “Master of Suspense,” and a catalog of iconic films such as “Rear Window,” “Psycho,” “The Birds,” “Marnie,” “North by North West,” “Vertigo,” “The Man Who Knew Too Much,” and “Rebecca.”
Hitchcock released more than 50 films over his 60-year career, and although he never won a Best Director Oscar, he cemented his place as a force in cinema. Beyond virtuosic camera techniques that allowed for unique points of view and ways of identifying with his characters (even when they’re doing terrible things), Hitchcock was known for the suspenseful themes of which he was seemingly obsessed. He had a love for putting the average man in bizarre situations and scaring audiences into believing that the same thing could happen to them. Another Hitchcockian trademark, was that he made cameos in his own films, a move that has been followed by other directors. Hitchcock’s purposefully mundane TV guest appearances, and somewhat mysterious life, transformed him into a celebrity figure in his own right.
Born in England in 1899, Hitchcock was one of three children, but he mostly described his childhood as isolating, and lonely. Many of his phobias (he was petrified of eggs, and feared the police forever after his father took him to a local police station where he was locked in a cell for a few minutes as punishment for misbehaving), and traumatic childhood experiences spilled over into his films. Although many of Hitchcock’s most popular films were in black and white, he adapted to new lighting techniques once color technology came into the picture. As Hitchcock detailed in a 1961 interview, he overcame the “two-dimensional effect” of color by shooting with reflected lighting, instead of direct lighting. The act stripped the glossy overlay away from his films, but the technique itself highlights his methodical approach to filmmaking.
Because it’s Hitchcock Day, this is a perfect time to revisit some of the English director’s films. We rounded up a list of box sets, books, posters, and more Hitchcock-related merchandise to add to your collection.
This box set collection is a great way to keep all of your favorite Hitchcock films in one place. “Alfred Hitchcock: The Ultimate Collection” Blu-ray box set features 15 legendary Hitchcock films including “North by Northwest,” “Rear Window,” “Psycho,” “The Birds,” “Vertigo,” and more.
Looking for a cheaper Blu-ray option? The Alfred Hitchcock Classic collection is a cheaper option with many of the essential movies from his catalog, and a special edition of “Psycho.”
A dream guide for film buffs interested in learning more about Hitchcock’s early life and career, “Alfred Hitchcock: The Complete Films” explores Hitchcock’s movies from the silent era all the way up to his final film, “Family Plot,” in 1976. The book also features a collection of essays illumining Hitchcock’s onscreen suspense tactics, photos of his work, and illustrations of his infamous movie cameos.
Author Patrick McGilligan takes readers inside Hitchcock’s life by serving up intel into his relationships with the Hollywood icons that he put in his movies, such as James Stewart, Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Tippi Hedren, and Grace Kelly. Hitchcock’s film inspirations in the thriller genre are featured in the books, as well as his 54-year marriage to screenwriter and film editor Alma Reville. The couple collaborated on several films including “Suspicion” and “Shadow of a Doubt.”
The intricately-designed Alfred Hitchcock limited edition black-and-white bobble head makes a great desk accessory for cinephiles. The figurine stands at 4.25 inches tall, and showcases Hitchcock in his signature black suit and skinny tie.
A skimpier film collective, the “Alfred Hitchcock Collection” box set features three of the director’s films from the ‘50s: “Dial M for Murder,” “North by Northwest” and “Stranger on a Train.”
If you’ve been spending more time at home lately, here’s an activity that will keep you occupied (it also doubles as a good game night activity). The 1,000 pieces jigsaw puzzle is its own mystery, complete with clues hidden within the puzzle pieces. To start, users will read a booklet about an obsessed Hitchcock fan before assembling the puzzle, and unlocking clues to solve the mystery.
In 1999, Clue released a special edition Hitchcock-themed board game in celebration of his centennial. The game centers around six characters (just like in regular Clue games) who are invited to appear in a Hitchcock film but a murder mystery unfolds instead. Besides the specially designed game board, the box includes six suspect tokens, six weapons, a confidential case file, and a detective notepad.
Any true Hitchcock fan has probably seen “Rear Window,” the 1954 mystery thriller about a professional photographer confined to a wheelchair who finds himself passing the time by peeking at his neighbors from his apartment window, and subsequently witnessing a murder. This custom movie poster, inspired by the film, is set against a natural white matte background. The design is available in sizes ranging from x-small to x-large.