Happy Birthday to Alfred Hitchcock, the Master of Suspense

The master helped director shape both modern cinema, and the minds of a generation


Were he still walking this Earth, Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock would be 113 today. His career spanned more than half a century and gave us jewels like cinematic voyeurism, cameo appearances, icy blondes and deranged, child-pecking sea gulls. Besides leaving his mark as “one of cinema’s most significant artists,” Hitchcock also molded young minds. In celebration of Alfie’s birthday, Brain Pickings shared this touching letter, penned by an elementary school principal after Hitchcock visited to film part of “The Birds” in 1962:

The real purpose of this letter is to inform you what your deed of kindness did for a boy to whom you gave your drawing and autograph. This boy is quite shy and does not participate readily in class activities, such as sharing his experiences before others during sharing time. He was so thrilled and moved by his experience that he proudly shared his experience and autograph not only with his own class, but in every classroom in the school. The boy never before has done such a thing. Many times it takes such a spark as this to help a youngster out of his shell and on the road to confidence. You don’t realize what your act of kindness has done for this child.

And here’s a Hitchcockian birthday celebration:

Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds Birthday Party Scene

More from Smithsonian.com:

Behind the Lost Hitchcock Film

The White Shadow and Streaming Restored Films Online

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