Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Alfred Hitchcock

Yesterday I took a photo walk through Islington and Shoreditch, with a goal of finding the Gainsborough Studios, where Alfred Hitchcock launched his career as a director way back in the 1920s. Today the property consists of apartment blocks around a courtyard featuring a huge bust of Hitch by sculptor Antony Donaldson.

Seeing this photo, Dave said he would have guessed the sculpture was of Buddha -- an apparently common mistake. Buddha usually doesn't look quite so downcast, though.

Hitchcock only worked in the neighborhood for a short time, before moving on to new digs in West London and then, of course, to Hollywood, where some of his biggest films were made. Still, the area is full of Hitchcock references.

Across the street in Shoreditch park, there's a metal disc called "Hitchcock's Reel." The park itself is a huge open space left over after German rockets flattened houses in the area during World War II.

I didn't go in this pub, but I would be tempted, despite the intermingling of Hitchcock films. (There's a neon "Bates Motel" sign in the window, and the screaming face of Janet Leigh is etched onto the glass!)

The last Hitchcock film I saw was "Rear Window," I'm pretty sure. Dave and I have it on DVD and watch it every now and then. I haven't seen any others in ages, and in fact I'm not a huge fan of some of his later ones. "The Birds" always struck me as a bit silly. Anyway, maybe it's time for a household Hitchcock film festival!


  1. Glad you have that interesting open space and sculpture and Hitchcock's face is priceless. The park nearest me has been permanently shut do to sinkholes...I wish it could be fixed as we are short green space here. I never liked The Birds, either.

  2. All I can remember about "The Birds" was the heroine spent most of her time screaming her head off ! Silly film. The book was slightly better - by Daphne du Maurier, I think?

  3. Looking closely at the Hitchcock/Buddha " sculpture, he seems to have had the top of his skull removed like a boiled egg.... I thought "The Birds" was brilliant for its time.

  4. I've always felt a bit unsure whether I like Hitchcock or not. I don't know. I guess he's very representational of his time. The older I get, the more I realize that so much of what we "like" is based on milking our fears whether it's religion or movies or Donald Trump.

  5. These are all great finds that I had no idea existed. There are so many interesting things to see in London! I haven't seen a Hitchcock film in ages and ages.

  6. That sculpture of H's head creeps me out! I think it's partly that it's only half there. What lies beneath? :)

  7. Yes, "The Birds" was incredibly silly, Psycho scared the ever lovin out of me , I was just a child when I went to see it with my girlfriend, we were traumatized by the smile at the end. and of course never trusted showers ever again.

  8. I thought it was Buddha too... maybe on a more Serious Contemplative day?! Love Hitchcock, and really anything Dark of that Era... something about horror in Black and White was just more Horrific and suspenseful. Blessings from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

  9. E: Is that Lake Park? I didn't know it was permanently closed!

    Coppa's: I've never read the book, but I loved Du Maurier's "Rebecca," so maybe I should try it?

    YP: Yeah, I'm not sure what's going on with the top of his head. Apparently there's an office inside this structure (the head and platform).

    Ms Moon: Some of it works, some of it doesn't. I think Psycho is a pretty effective movie, and I liked "Lifeboat" a lot. I watched "North by Northwest" years ago and fell asleep -- maybe I should try it again? I think you're right that we "like" movies that touch something within us.

    Sharon: I just became aware of them myself!

    Jenny-O: Yeah, it is kind of weird. As I told YP above, I understand there's an office of some kind inside the head/platform.

    Linda Sue: I can see how "Psycho" would be terrifying for a child. By the time I saw it, cinema had become more explicit and I'd already seen worse, so it didn't scare me THAT much. But I still think it's a good movie.

    Bohemian: Hello! Yes, black and white horror movies DO seem more "horrible." When blood runs black instead of red it's especially creepy!

  10. And now that the comments have been commented upon I will say this: that lower lip could only belong to Hitchcock.