Film Techniques of Alfred Hitchcock

Independent film director Jeffrey Michael Bays, a life-long fan of Alfred Hitchcock, has written these articles and the accompanying eBook to further spread the brilliant simplicity of Hitchcock's creative genius. This website has taken the Internet by storm, reaching 3,000 viewers per day and constantly expanding with the help of its readers.

How to Turn Your Boring Movie Into a Hitchcock Thriller
Filmmakers and critics alike have rejoiced at this simplified encyclopedia of film director Alfred Hitchcock's techniques. From his notorious sequences seen from the character's viewpoint, to the collage of the Psycho shower scene, and the linear simplicity of his plots, this list of his top 13 techniques is compiled directly from his interviews.

Humor: Hitchcock's Secret Weapon
With a balance of laughs and tension, Hitchcock was able to strike the perfect chord of suspense in his feature films. This article shines light on an often ignored aspect of his style: his directorial wit. It is his quirky characters, ironic situations, whimsical settings, and deliberate gags that raise his films to an unmatched Hitchcockian brilliance.

Message in a Booth: Arbogast's Last Words
One scene in the 1960 thriller Psycho creates a forward momentum of suspense throughout the final Act. Here we explore the phone call Arbogast makes from a phone both in his final hours. The Telephone Booth Scene is a simple one of construction lasting less than two minutes of screen time and comprised of only two shots, but it becomes so much more.

Creating a Hitchcockian Opening
Hitchcock could ignite our curiosity at the outset of each film in ways unlooked at until now. Here we explore the most striking moments from each opening sequence of his theatrical films and examine his strategies for pulling in the viewer. Trends emerge from his use of comical music score to his movement of camera through public space, and landscapes filled with caricatures.

The Definitive List of Hitchcock MacGuffins
We are on a quest to compile the most definitive list of the MacGuffins used in Alfred Hitchcock's feature films and TV episodes. What's a MacGuffin? Find out what Hitchcock thought of this elusive plot device. From the weapons plans of Mr. Memory, to the goverment secrets being stolen by Van Damme, we've listed them all here.

Sound: Hitchcock's Third Dimension
With the production of his first sound film, Blackmail (1929), Hitchcock found new ways to manipulate the soundtrack in order to add new dimensions to the flat movie screen. Here we look at his instictive techniques of sound mixing in Blackmail as it laid the foundation for his use of sound in later works - from kept secrets to silent murders.

The Cameo: Appearing in Your Own Film
As a part of an intense publicity effort, Hitchcock put his face on anything he could in order to shape an air of credibility that would permanently launch the Master of Suspense into the public consciousness. From scene transitions, crowd insertions, and a bond with the audience, here we look at what makes his film cameos tick.

Hitch20: TV Episodes Directed by Hitchcock
Watch our new web series exploring the film techniques used in the twenty episodes of television Hitchcock directed himself. Much has been said about the 52 feature films he directed, but his TV episodes are often overlooked as standalone films in their own right. Come back for future episodes in the series.

Jeffrey Michael Bays is producer of the award-winning radio special Not From Space (2003) heard on SiriusXM Radio. He recently directed an homage to Alfred Hitchcock's techniques entitled Offing David (2008), an Australian film starring Nathaniel Buzolic and Asha Kuerten. A graduate of Webster University, St. Louis, he just completed a Master of Arts in Cinema at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia. His has just completed a book on the art of scene transitions. Email all comments and suggestions to: