b. Aug. 13, 1899
There is something about Hitchcock that is family friendly, not that his film subjects and themes are any indicator. I was reminded of this yesterday as I was picking up a few items from Target and spotted a Hitchcock collection nestled among the Family DVDs. Although I was confused initially, upon further consideration I realized that Hitchcock's were some of the first horror films I ever had a chance to see as a kid. The Bates Motel was even on the Universal Studios tour. He's just accepted in that way.
That being said, he also made beautiful work. Just this year, Vertigo was named the greatest film of all time by the British Film Institute after a 50 year dominance by Citizen Kane. But that was just the peak of his 50's era. In a sense, Hitchcock sort of had 4 different careers within the film industry. Beginning as a filmmaker in the 20's, he gained momentum based on his expressionist style. In the 30's he began to master suspense and caught the attention of Hollywood. In the 40's he made films that spanned genres. In the 50's he made some of his most critically acclaimed films and by the 60's he was making perfect, dark films that remain classics, recognized by nearly everyone in any culture (most notably Psycho and The Birds). His style is copied, parodied, and at best inspires filmmakers to make them their own way.
Alfred Hitchcock (with crow and trademark leer):