This chapter provides a background of Alfred Hitchcock, whose remarkable achievements as a film-maker may be unmatched. As well as the numerous accolades, a number of Hitchcock films have proved unusually influential. Consider the chase thrillers such as The 39 Steps (1935) and North by Northwest (1959), the claustrophobic chamber pieces Rope (1948) and Rear Window (1954), the hallucinogenic romance of Vertigo (1958), the American Gothic of Psycho (1960), and the apocalyptic science fiction of The Birds (1963). While Hitchcock's status as one of the great film artists is unassailable and his reputation increases, there have always been dissenters. Traditionally, the case against Hitchcock is that he is little more than a popular entertainer, an observation he did little to counter, what with his use of genre and big stars as well as his eager adoption of the role of clownish showman. This book focuses on Hitchcock's penultimate film Frenzy (1972).
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