Thursday, May 4, 2017

Hitchcock by the Numbers.

I recently finished reading Patricia Highsmith's Strangers on a Train and I linked it in my mind to Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca. Both were written by women and both were darker in tone and plotting than their corresponding Hitchcock films. With The Birds as another example immediately springing to mind, I asked myself, how many Hitchcock films came from source material written by women?

Suggestions for my blog are always welcome.


So: Hitchcock by the Numbers.

In a career spanning 1925 to 1976, Hitchcock directed 54 feature films. You will find slight variations in this number being cited. The film Mary (1931) was filmed simultaneously and on the same sets as Murder! (1930) but with German actors and a German version of the script. I count this as two films. Some, when discussing the content of Hitchcock films leave out The Mountain Eagle (1927). The film is lost to history so we don't know, for example, whether Hitchcock made a cameo.

With that in mind, here goes.

  • Directed 54 feature films.
  • 40 were mysteries or thrillers.
  • -  11 of these were spy thrillers.
  • 10 were dramas or melodramas.
  • -  1 was a sports melodrama.
  • 3 were comedies and 2 more were mystery/comedies.
  • 1 musical.

  • 26 were adapted from novels.
  • 12 were from original screenplays or stories original to the screen.
  • -  1 of these won an Oscar for John Steinbeck (Lifeboat).
  • 11 were adapted from plays.
  • 2 were adapted from short stories.
  • 2 were adapted from non-fiction sources.


  • 39 had Hitchcock cameos.
  • 6 films included Leo G. Carroll
  • 4 films included Cary Grant or Jimmy Stewart
  • 3 films included Grace Kelly or Ingrid Bergman

From: http://news.muckety.com/2012/10/26/hitchcocks-favorite-actors/38751

As to crediting the writers, I looked at the source material, i.e., Rebecca was du Maurier and not those who worked on the screenplay. If the story was written directly to screen, then the screenplay writers or original story writers were counted. I limited my count to the credited writers. Hitchcock and his wife, Alma Reville, often had a hand in shaping scripts. When three collaborated, a one-third value was given. When two, a one-half value. (Hence 5/6ths, 1/2 plus 1/3).

  • From male writers: 42 and 5/6ths.
  • From female writers: 11 and 1/6th. 
(Many of the best films were from female writers, beginning with Hitchcock's breakthrough film, The Lodger.)

IMDB ranking.

IMDB allows those registered to rate films from one to ten. With 42 million visitors per month it is the 48th most visited site on the internet. The films of Alfred Hitchcock have received a total of 2.5 million votes for an averaging rating of 7.0. Presented below are the films as ranked. While I disagree with some of the ordering, for example, Dial M for Murder is too high, overall, the list has merit. Psycho probably received first place because it is the most modern and highest impact Hitchcock film (it certainly has the most memorable soundtrack). Some were probably upvoted because they appeal to film enthusiasts for their experimentation (Rope). My personal favorite is Notorious.

Film title original (year released) IMDB rating, IMDB votes.

  1. Psycho (1960) 8.5, 453037
  2. Rear Window (1954) 8.5, 338201
  3. Vertigo (1958) 8.4, 268112
  4. North by Northwest (1959) 8.4, 233195
  5. Dial M for Murder (1954) 8.2, 115226
  6. Rebecca (1940) 8.2, 93236  
  7. Strangers on a Train (1951) 8.0, 103272   
  8. Rope (1948) 8.0, 101123  
  9. Notorious (1946) 8.0, 76970    
  10. Shadow of a Doubt (1943) 8.0, 47715
  11. The Lady Vanishes (1938) 7.9, 37720
  12. The 39 Steps (1935) 7.8, 41802   
  13. Lifeboat (1944) 7.8, 21427   
  14. The Birds (1963) 7.7, 136624
  15. Spellbound (1945) 7.6, 34644
  16. Foreign Correspondent (1940) 7.6, 14342   
  17. To Catch a Thief (1955) 7.5, 49068  
  18. The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) 7.5, 44830   
  19. Frenzy (1972) 7.5, 32557   
  20. The Wrong Man (1956) 7.5, 20022   
  21. Suspicion (1941) 7.4, 25006   
  22. I Confess (1953) 7.3, 15267   
  23. The Lodger (1927) 7.3, 7286   
  24. Marnie (1964) 7.2, 35784   
  25. The Trouble with Harry (1955) 7.2, 26347   
  26. Saboteur (1942) 7.2, 18534   
  27. Sabotage (1936) 7.1, 11,670   
  28. Stage Fright (1950) 7.1, 9879
  29. Blackmail (1929) 7.0, 7461   
  30. Young and Innocent (1937) 7.0, 6838   
  31. The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) 6.9, 13296   
  32. Family Plot (1976) 6.8, 16276   
  33. Torn Curtain (1966) 6.7, 19688   
  34. Secret Agent (1936) 6.6, 6381      
  35. The Paradine Case (1947) 6.5, 7871
  36. Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941) 6.5, 7563
  37. Murder! (1930) 6.4, 4359   
  38. Topaz (1969) 6.3, 13325      
  39. Jamaica Inn (1939) 6.3, 6873   
  40. The Manxman (1929) 6.3, 1913
  41. Under Capricorn (1949) 6.2, 4921
  42. The Ring (1927) 6.2, 2381
  43. Downhill (1927) 6.2 1321
  44. The Farmer's Wife (1928) 6.0, 1838  
  45. The Pleasure Garden (1925) 6.0, 1499
  46. Waltzes from Vienna (1934) 6.0, 877
  47. Mary (1931) 6.0, 414           
  48. Rich and Strange (1931) 5.9, 3139   
  49. Number Seventeen (1932) 5.8, 3583   
  50. The Skin Game  (1931) 5.8, 2164
  51. Easy Virtue  (1928) 5.7, 1935
  52. Champagne (1928) 5.6, 1459   
  53. Juno and the Paycock (1930) 4.8, 1627
  54. The Mountain Eagle (1927) lost film, zero votes.

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 Martin Hill Ortiz is the author of Never Kill A Friend, Ransom Note Press.





Never Kill A Friend, Ransom Note Press

Never Kill A Friend is available for purchase in hard cover format and as an ebook.
The story follows Shelley Krieg, an African-American detective for the Washington DC Metro PD as she tries to undo a wrong which sent an innocent teenager to prison.

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