Hitchcock Versus Spielberg
After seeing The Goonies, Steven Spielberg became one of the most influential filmmakers in my life.
As a result, I realized that I wanted to make movies. I worshiped Spielberg because of films such as Saving Private Ryan, Amistad, Minority Report, War of the Worlds, Catch Me If You Can, Jaws.
But, as I got older I saw better films by better directors and that admiration decreased greatly.
Then it all changed. I was 18- years- old when I saw North by Northwest directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
It was full of iconic imagery and high octane energy. The image of Cary Grant being chased by a crop duster was epicly smeared into my brain.
Then one year later, I saw Psycho, a film I heard great things about, but never seen before. It was about a murderer that pretended to be his mother and blamed her for the murders he committed.
Visually, the film was beautiful and gothic looking. The narrative was rich and creative. Then, I fell in love with Hitchcock.
Spielberg has not made movies long enough to be considered great, I thought. As a film student, most film students love him and want to be like him.
But I want everyone to know that there are better filmmakers —–Alfred Hitchcock may be the best.
Both filmmakers come from two different upbringings. Alfred Hitchcock was born in London to William Hitchcock and Emma Jane Whelan and raised as a Catholic.
In 1920, he had a job as a title designer for an up- and- coming studio. Subsequently, Hitchcock directed his first film in 1923 when the former director of Always Tell Your Wife fell ill.
The studio chiefs were impressed by his first outing. So, they gave him a chance to direct his real first film, Number 13.
For the next 50 years, Hitchcock continued to make films—inspiring people like Spielberg and Martin Scorsese works of suspense.
In 1946, Spielberg was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. He went to California State University Long Beach but dropped out before earning a bachelor’s degree.
The legendary director was a military brat and constantly moved around the country because of his father’s service. Unlike Hitchcock, he began making short films that showed off his young talent. Short films like Battle Squad, Firelight, and Amblin’—especially Amblin’ ——gave him his big break at Warner Bros.
Then, he began directing television shows such as Night Gallery and Marcus Welby M.D. Incredibly, his first major film was Jaws in 1975 that would become the first blockbuster in cinema history.
To this day he is among the most popular filmmakers of this century. And his works have raked in billions at the box office.
Both filmmakers have a natural love for movies, but they lived and worked in two different periods. The director’s job is to tell actors how to act, tell the cameramen where to be, and to make the script tangible.
However, Spielberg adapted to the new role for directors serving as a businessman selling a product to studios.
According to the Internet Movie Data Base, Hitchcock made 67 films from 1922-1980.
As a product of the studio system, directors like him were hired based on talent and demand. In this system, the major studios, such as MGM, would create popular films in genres such as crime and thriller, and distribute the projects to directors.
In most cases, directors had no input on the writing of the script. Now, Spielberg has a great deal of power and influence—- he can pick and choose films he wants to direct.
The Jurassic Park director has the power to influence scripts, budgets, and almost every stage of pre and post-production.
But the most glaring difference between the two is the genres they direct. Spielberg directs war, sci-fi, historical, comedy, disaster, and children’s films.
Hitchcock was only allowed to direct thrillers. Films like Vertigo, Rear Window, and The Birds were a few of his most notable works. Because of the times, he eventually set the standard for suspense thrillers.
They both worked as producers—–created memorable television shows and series. Hitchcock was famous for creating the Alfred Hitchcock Hour and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. In addition, he has produced films he worked on as well as the two television shows.
In some ways, Spielberg may be a better producer than director.
He served as producer on films such as Back to the Future, Jurassic Park, the Gremlins, Men in Black, Transformers movies and many television shows such as Tiny Toon’s Adventures, Animaniacs, Band of Brothers and ER.
As a producer, Spielberg outdoes Hitchcock, because he knows how to rake in the money and he has a surplus of golden ideas.
The work of both filmmakers is appreciated worldwide. In America, the Academy Awards nominated both for Oscars in Best Director’s category. However, only Spielberg walked away with two.
Hitch was nominated for his films Rebecca, Lifeboat, Psycho, Rear Window, and Spellbound and died without an award.
He has directed nearly a dozen films that have been nominated for Best Picture, but Hitch never won as the best director. Furthermore, Spielberg won Oscars for directing Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan.
From the 1920s -1980s there where many great directors such as Howard Hawks (Red River, Rio Bravo), John Ford (The Searchers), Orson Welles (Citizen Kane, Touch of Evil), John Huston (The Maltese Falcon), Akira Kurosawa (Yojimbo, Seven Samurai), and Stanley Kubrick (2001: Space Odyssey) who influenced the film industry.
To say that there was stiff competition is an understatement. All of these directors made movies that inspired directors like Spielberg and film theory.
Today there are only a few directors that influence popular culture and win awards for doing it.
There are a lot of great filmmakers throughout history. Some are overrated and some not appreciated enough. Hitchcock falls under the latter. For six decades, the Englishman made films that are still viewed and analyzed by film students today.
His work is celebrated and copied because his films are visually amazing and are innovative for their time.
When I was younger, I loved Spielberg. But now I have come to idolize Hitchcock because his films are like pieces of literature that do not rely on special effects and giant budgets.
Hitchcock is truly the master of suspense and the master of movies.