Posted: February 26th, 2023
I. Alfred Hitchcock: One of the Greatest Directors of All Time
1. Known as “the Master of Suspense” Hitchcock is notably one of the most influential and extensively studied filmmakers in the history of cinema.
2. Alfred Hitchcock was also a brilliant technician who deftly blended sex, suspense and humor while creating a number of motifs and devices – most famously the MacGuffin – to advance his intricate plots in addition to being a talented director.
1. Alfred Hitchcock was born in Leytonstone, England on August 13, 1899. He was the youngest of three children born to William and Emma Jane Hitchcock. Over the years some have tried to suggest Hitchcock’s Catholicism as the source of the twisted themes he explored in his work. Film critics have traced his recurring cinematic motifs of guilt and fear to his Catholic sensibilities.
2. After attending a technical school at 15, Hitchcock spent the first years of his career as a draftsman, advertising designer, and writer. An interest in photography led to him working in London’s film industry, first as a title card designer for silent movies and, just five years later, as a director.
1. Hitchcock’s career began in the reign of Queen Victoria and ended in the presidency of Jimmy Carter, moving from London to Hollywood, from a title designer on silent movies to becoming one of the world’s most famous directors. The first movie he directed was the silent Number 13 (1922); his last was the much noisier Family Plot (1976).
2. During his career, he created over fifty feature films in a career that saw not only the development of Hitchcock’s own distinctive directorial style, but also landmark innovations in cinema. Hitchcock has been credited with pioneering many camera and editing techniques for peers and aspiring directors to emulate.
Honors and Awards
1. Hitchcock collected many professional accolades including two Golden Globes, eight Laurel Awards, and five lifetime achievement awards. He was a five-time Academy Award nominee for Best Director and in 1940, his film Rebecca won the Oscar for Best Picture.
2. Hitchcock was granted a knighthood by Queen Elizabeth in 1980, shortly before his death. A knighthood is a title that is given to a man by a British king or queen for his achievements or his service to his country.
1. Academy Awards, USA. 1968. Winner. Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award. 1961. Nominee. Oscar. Best Director. Psycho (1960) Golden Globes, USA. Primetime Emmy Awards. BAFTA Awards. Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA.
2. In 2008, four of his movies were named in American Film Institute’s Top 10 Mystery Films of all time: Dial M for Murder (No. 9), North by Northwest (No. 7), Rear Window (No. 3) and Vertigo (No. 1).
1. In 2012 when the film critics polled by Sight and Sound voted “Vertigo” the greatest film of all time, kicking Orson Welles’s “Citizen Kane” from a top spot it had enjoyed for decades.
2. Wellesians bit their knuckles, and the rest of us scratched our heads. “Vertigo” is not Hitchcock’s best, but rather, with its lush morbidity, somnolent pace, poor box office and relative scarcity of jokes, the Hitchcock film for those who most wish he were French. Flops make film critics feel useful — they are the film-crit equivalent of the deserving poor. What else can you do with a gleaming hit maker except overpraise his misses?
1. Since his death in 1980, books have multiplied like gravestones, now numbering in the hundreds, with his biographers falling into two camps. There are those who side with Donald Spoto in “The Dark Side of Genius” (1983), who had him pegged as a troubled man whose deepest creative energies were coupled with fear, lust, sadism and a thoroughly unwholesome interest in his actresses — a creep with a movie camera.
2. A man of “exaggeratedly delicate sensibilities,” according to John Houseman,
driven by fear, guilt and loathing of his own body, yet dainty to the point of effeminacy in his gestures and attitudes, wielding his bulk with the grace of Fatty Arbuckle. “Never ruffled, never gave any sign of being worried, was always in control,” Karl Malden said of working with the director.
Alfred Hitchcock. No introduction necessary really. One of the greatest directors of 20th Century cinema, to this day he is still a huge influence to directors and film students around the world; his films just as popular with audiences now as back when Cary Grant was scrabbling across rooftops on the Riviera or running away from malicious biplanes. Motel owners are still very much on the fence about him however.
Alfred Hitchcock. (n.d.). This website provided information in regards to the early life and legacy
of Alfred Hitchcock. This website provided early life information and details about his early education. It provided essential data integral to research for my final research paper.
Alfred Hitchcock. (n.d.). This website provided information in regards to the various awards
Alfred Hitchcock was nominated.
Alfred Hitchcock’s Early Career. (2015, August 13). Retrieved from
This website provided information in regards to the early life and career of Alfred Hitchcock.
Alfred Hitchcock. (2016, May 24). This website provided information in regards to the various
Oscar nominations for various Alfred Hitchcock movies. As I stated in my proposal, Hitchcock never won an Oscar, but this website provided details in regards to the many nominations.
Alfred Hitchcock: TV Guide. (n.d.). This website provided additional information pertaining to
Alfred Hitchcock’s biography. Although there were many sources that provided biographical information pertaining to Hitchcock’s life and career, the TV Guide provided some unusual information.
Mystery. (n.d.). This website provided information about Alfred Hitchcock’s films that ended up
in the top ten mystery films of all times. This was no small feat as there were many mystery films eligible for this category. Once again, this proves why Hitchcock is one of the greatest directors of all time.
The Man Who Knew His Faith: The Catholicism of Alfred Hitchcock. (n.d.). This website
provided a wealth of information in regards to Alfred Hitchcock’s Catholic faith and how it impacted his filmmaking.
Final Project Part 2
Cinematic Analysis of Schindler’s List
Can films have greater impacts on its audience by relying on realisticness and authenticity over specially effects?
Schindler’s List (1993) is historical drama based on the novel
Schindler’s Ark written by Thomas Keneally. The film tells the emotional story of a German businessman and a member of the Nazi party named Oskar Schindler savings more than one thousand Jewish refugees during World War II.
This film is directed by Steven Spielberg, one of the Hollywood’s most celebrated film directors – in terms of both commercial success and critical acclaims. Spielberg is associated with many of the box-office blockbusters either as director, producer, or writer, such as
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981),
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), and
Jurassic Park (1993). Such thriller and adventure films made Spielberg a household name.
Spielberg is also heavily involved in other types of film, drama films such as
The Color Purple (1985),
Savings Private Ryan (1998) and
Based on his success and contribution to the film industry, Spielberg was named as one of the Time 100 in 2013. He also received multiple Academy Awards nominations and won three times and in 1995, Spielberg received the AFI Life Achievement Award.
This film was produced by Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment and distributed by Universal Pictures. The film had a budge of $22 million and was shot from March through May 1993 in Poland.
The film was released in December 1993 in the U.S., grossed $96.1 million domestically and $321.3 million worldwide.
In terms of awards and recognitions, this film received a total 12 Academy Awards nominations, winning 7 major categories including: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing and Best Music Original Score. In addition, the film also won 3 Golden Globes Awards and 6 BAFTA awards.
Summary of review by film critics, one from the original release and one from recent period.
The most noticeable cinematography element in this film is the use of black-and-white films over color film, which in my opinion, makes this film a masterpiece. The director and cinematographer’s decision of shooting this film in black-and-white, as some critics have suggested, is to give the film a documentary visual style. I think this serves two other purposes effectively: it makes the historical context more relevant to modern film viewers; it also heightened the sense of death and lifelessness that the film makers want to express.
Light on the main character
As Schindler walks into the club and sits down at the table, the light is projected on his face, while the surroundings and other characters are in the dark and seem blurry. This is very effective on illuminating and establishing the protagonist.
This happens again in the scene which Schindler tries to convince Stern to find potential business partners, even though they’re in the same room and sit across the desk from each other, Schindler’s close-up is much brighter than the rest of the room.
The film also used colorization on limited objects, such as the little girl’s red coat and the yellow candle flame during the Sabbath at Schindler’s factory. Both are significant symbolism – red coat signifies the love, passion, and blood; yellow candle flame signifies life, hope, and brighter future.
The director also uses high contrast shots to signify the threatening and uncertain path the prisoners face: for example, when the train arrives at Auschwitz at night, everything in the shot appears to be dark and gloomy, except for the fire and smoke coming out of the chimney, which indicates their horrifying destiny.
After Schindler sits down at the table, a pan shot is used with medium and close-up shots focus on his eyes. This reveals the character’s unspoken intention – observing the surroundings, seeking a target, and calculating his next move – while Schindler himself tries to hide it. I think the restaurant scene is very significant, as it ultimately reveals the nature of the protagonist – an opportunist.
Used at the beginning when the refugees arrive at the station and announce their name, while their names are being typed out. I think this technique connects the names and faces of the refugees for the audience and helps to establish and emphasize the identities of the victims.
This technique is repeated toward to the end when Schindler pays off Goeth and names of the people who Schindler saves are called from the list.
At the opening scene, the director uses multiple dissolve transitions: the shot of family that gathered at the table dissolves into an empty table; three more shots that focus on the candle quickly dissolve, with zoomed in camera angle with each dissolve. This does not only express the passage of time, but perhaps also symbolizes the six million lives that were lost.
Also, in the restaurant scene, montage is used to reveal Schindler’s opportunistic nature and intention. As he surveys the room, shots cut between Schindler’s eyes, the female photographer, and the Nazi officers – the director essentially reveals Schindler’s plan to gain publicity.
The director uses cross cutting for a scene which shows a Jewish family is forced to give up their home and Schindler moves into the same home simultaneously. This signifies what is about to happen to the Jewish community – their lives will be turned up-side-down, and their properties are to be given to the German. It is effective to show how helpless the Jews must had felt as they face uncertainty.
Special Camera Technique
Handheld camera shots without stabilizer
Multiple scenes have destabilized handheld camera shots, for example, the Nazi troops marching down the street; the Jews walking towards the ghetto; Stern recruits workers for the ghetto. Overall, by shooting certain scenes with destabilized shots, it creates the sense of chaos and volatility and brings the audience closer to the event as if they were there.
Sound and Music Element
When the Nazi troops go into the ghetto and start killing people who were hiding, the scene cuts to a Nazi officer playing piano. This sound element effectively enhances the chaotic nature and fast pace of the killing.
The collaboration between Steven Spielberg and John Williams continues with this film. The main score comes on at the end of the film as Schindler sets to flee, the main score reflects the emotional state from different characters: Schindler’s feeling of failure as he blames himself for not able to save more people; the workers feeling relieved that war and their nightmares are finally over, at the same time, their gratitude for Schindler; for the audience, feeling sorry for what the prisons and refugees endured and the horrific crime against humanity.
Spielberg incorporates several cinematic techniques to showcase the brutality and cruelty of WW2 and the genocide against the European Jews by the Nazis. Without any special effects, the heart-wrenching story captures the audience’s attention by using documentary like camera work and shooting techniques. It is evident that filmmakers can resonate with viewers’ emotion without extravagant special visual effects, all that is required is realistic cinematography with a good story that reflects our humanity, such as what Schindler’s List conveys – all human life is sacred.
Brokaw, Tom. “The 2013 Time 100.”
Time, 18 Apr. 2013, time100.time.com/2013/04/18/time-100/slide/steven-spielberg/. Accessed 13 June 2020.
Time is an American news magazine published weekly since 1923. Its website contains its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. This brief article of Steven Spielberg’s biography is written by Tom Brokaw, an American journalist who was the Anchor and managing editor for NBC Nightly News for over 20 years. This source is credible and highlights Spielberg’s achievement and influence.
Bullock, Paul. “Schindler’s List and Documenting History Through a Movie Camera.”
Medium, 21 May 2017, medium.com/from-director-steven-spielberg/schindlers-list-and-documenting-history-through-a-movie-camera-d891780d290e. Accessed 21 June 2020.
Medium is an online publishing platform owned by A Medium Corporation and launched in 2012. It features both professional and amateur writers on its blog host. This article is written by Paul Bullock, who is the Editor of From Director Steven Spielberg. This source analyzes Spielberg’s cinematic techniques from various films and is a credible source.
Clark, Travis. “All 30 Steven Spielberg Movies, Ranked by How Much Money They Made at the US Box Office.”
Business Insider, 27 Mar. 2018, www.businessinsider.com/all-steven-spielberg-movies-ranked-by-box-office-gross-2018-3#17-schindlers-list-1993-14. Accessed 13 June 2020.
Business Insider is an American financial and business news website founded in 2007, owned by German publishing house Axel Springer since 2015. This article ranks the films directed by Spielberg by US box office and is a credible source.
Di Mattia, Joanna. “‘Schindler’s List’: One of the Most Visually Powerful War Films Ever Made.”
SBS Movies, Special Broadcasting Service, 6 Apr. 2017, www.sbs.com.au/movies/article/2017/03/31/schindlers-list-one-most-visually-powerful-war-films-ever-made. Accessed 14 June 2020.
Special Broadcasting Service is the Australian public broadcasting corporation owned by the Australian government. Its service ranges from radio, online and television. This article is written by Australian based film critic Joanna Di Mattia and analyzes the symbols and images used by Spielberg in Schindler’s List. This is a credible source.
Gottlieb, Akiva. “Commentary: Why ‘Schindler’s List’ Remains Brilliant and Troubling 25 Years After Its Release.”
Los Angeles Times, 5 Dec. 2018, www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-et-mn-schindlers-list-25-20181205-story.html. Accessed 21 June 2020.
The Los Angeles Times is a California based daily newspaper publication found in 1881. It has the fifth largest circulation among US newspapers. This commentary on the Schindler’s List was published in December 2018, 25 years after the film’s original release.
IMDb. “Schindler’s List (1993).”
IMDb, 15 Dec. 1993, www.imdb.com/title/tt0108052/. Accessed 13 June 2020.
IMDb, also known as Internet Movie Database, is an online database that contains information related to films and television programs. The site was purchased by Amazon in 1998 and has approximately 6.5 million titles and 10.4 million personalities in its database. This article provides cast and production information on Schindler’s List and is a credible source.
—. “Steven Spielberg.”
IMDb, www.imdb.com/name/nm0000229/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm. Accessed 13 June 2020.
IMDb, also known as Internet Movie Database, is an online database that contains information related to films and television programs. The site was purchased by Amazon in 1998 and has approximately 6.5 million titles and 10.4 million personalities in its database. This article provides Steven Spielberg’s biography and career highlights and is a credible source.
Mark, Mary E. “Shades of black and white FILM / If cinematographers are our 20th-century painters, black-and-white cinematographers are our Impressionist masters – or so say a small but growing coterie of directors, who are turning away from the slick appeal of colour.”
Globe & Mail, [Toronto, Canada], 12 Apr. 1994, p. D2,
https://link-gale-com.ezproxy.umgc.edu/apps/doc/A163770272/WHIC?u=umd_umuc&sid=WHIC&xid=a9ab5b77.. Accessed 14 June 2020.
The Globe and Mail is a Canadian newspaper originally found in 1844 and one of the most circulated newspaper publications in Canada. Mary Ellen Mark is an American photojournalist. Originally published in 1994, this newspaper article discusses the growing trend of black and white films at that time and is a credible source.
Maron, Jeremy. “Affective Historiography: Schindler’s List, Melodrama and Historical Representation.”
Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies, vol. 27, no. 4, Summer 2009, pp. 66-94,
Shofar is a peer-reviewed academic journal published by Purdue University Press and is the official journal of the Midwest and Western Jewish Studies Associations. The author Jeremy Maron is a researcher-curator at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. This paper explores how melodrama operates as a specific mode of historical representation in Schindler’s List.
Tabraiz, Anas. “The holocaust as film and literature in Schindler’s List.”
Creative Forum, vol. 21, no. 1, Jan. 2008, p. 159,
Creative Forum is a peer-reviewed journal publication focuses on contemporary literature and language. Anas Tabraiz is an Assistant Professor at Delhi University. This paper analyzes the Schindler’s List from a literary perspective and is a credible source.
The creative life of Steven Spielberg
ARTH 334 Section 6380
(a) You should select a director who was active (directed more than 3 movies) during the time period of 1950 – 2000. In your term paper, give me the basic details of the director’s life and career. Identify some of the director’s most important films. What honors and awards did the director receive? Provide a sampling of critical opinion about the director’s work (i.e. film reviews or articles). View at least two films by your director and comment on them (one of them can be a film you would have watch previously for the class).
Do not summarize any plots. Write about how this director used the following in these films: Editing (montage), Sound and Music, Cinematography, Special Camera Work (steady cam, hand held, optical effects), Special Effects (this can include stunt work).
The creative life of Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg is an American film director, producer, and screenwriter widely regarded as one of the greatest filmmakers in the history of cinema. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1946, Spielberg first became interested in film as a child, and went on to study film at California State University, Long Beach.
Some of Spielberg’s most important films include “Jaws” (1975), “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” (1982), “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981), “Schindler’s List” (1993), “Saving Private Ryan” (1998), and “Lincoln” (2012). His films are known for their entertaining and thrilling storytelling, as well as their emotional impact.
Steven Spielberg has received numerous awards and honors throughout his career, including:
1. Academy Awards: He has won two Academy Awards for Best Director, one for “Schindler’s List” (1993) and the other for “Saving Private Ryan” (1998).
2. Golden Globe Awards: He has won several Golden Globe Awards, including Best Director for “Schindler’s List” and “Saving Private Ryan”.
3. BAFTA Awards: He has won two BAFTA Awards for Best Director, one for “Schindler’s List” and the other for “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” (1982).
4. Kennedy Center Honors: He was honored with the Kennedy Center Honors in 1999 for his contributions to American culture through the arts.
5. American Film Institute Lifetime Achievement Award: In 1995, he received the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
6. DGA Awards: He has won multiple DGA Awards, including Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for “Saving Private Ryan”.
Critical opinion of Spielberg’s work has been mixed, with some calling him a master of populist filmmaking, while others criticize his films for being too formulaic and sentimental. Regardless, his impact on the film industry and film as an art form has been significant, with many aspiring filmmakers citing him as a major influence.
One of Spielberg’s signature techniques is his use of editing, particularly in his action films. In “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” for example, the film’s iconic truck chase scene was created through a series of fast-paced cuts between different angles and close-ups, building tension and excitement for the audience. In “Saving Private Ryan,” Spielberg used editing to create a sense of chaos and confusion during the film’s intense battle scenes.
Spielberg’s use of sound and music is also a key aspect of his filmmaking style. In “Jaws,” the film’s iconic two-note theme became synonymous with the film and its shark, helping to build tension and suspense. In “E.T.,” John Williams’ memorable score helped to create an emotional connection between the audience and the film’s alien character.
Spielberg’s cinematography is known for its use of sweeping, expansive shots and its attention to detail. In “Schindler’s List,” the film’s black-and-white cinematography helped to create a sense of historical authenticity, while in “Lincoln,” the film’s careful compositions and lighting helped to create a sense of grandeur and weightiness.
Special camera work, such as steady cam and hand-held cameras, has also been a staple of Spielberg’s films, particularly in his action films. In “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” for example, the film’s use of hand-held cameras during its chase scenes helped to create a sense of immediacy and excitement for the audience. In “Saving Private Ryan,” the film’s use of a steady cam during its battle scenes helped to create a sense of realism and intensity.
Spielberg’s films have also made use of special effects, from the groundbreaking animatronic shark in “Jaws” to the computer-generated images in “E.T.” and “Jurassic Park” (1993). His attention to detail and willingness to push the boundaries of what was possible in film have helped to create some of the most memorable and visually stunning films in the history of cinema.
In conclusion, Steven Spielberg is a master storyteller who has had a profound impact on the film industry and on popular culture. His use of editing, sound and music, cinematography, special camera work, and special effects have helped to create some of the most thrilling, entertaining, and emotionally resonant films in the history of cinema.
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