On This Day in 1899

We Celebrate Hitchcock's Birthday with A New Excerpt from Douglas Gordon

So great was the figure he cut, the mere silhouette of British film director Alfred Hitchcock was enough to become his iconic logo—a lasting symbol of nail-biting suspense and mordant wit. “Hitch” produced nearly 70 films in a career spanning more than 50 years, producing the definitive horror fests Psycho, Vertigo and The Birds, alongside two hugely successful “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” TV series and a widescreen remake of his own The Man Who Knew Too Much, two decades after it first premiered. There are more classics in his canon—including Suspicion, Rear Window, The 39 Steps, North by Northwest and Notorious—than in most studios’ entire catalogs, and his oeuvre continues to enthrall viewers and critics (and to overwhelm college survey classes). Hitchcock’s pioneering use of the subjective camera, simulating a character’s viewpoint, and his taut construction of psychological suspense were watersheds in the history of cinema. Without his work, stars such as Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, Grace Kelly and Anthony Perkins would perhaps have shone less brightly––and showers would certainly be less terrifying, Mount Rushmore would be infinitely less thrilling, and birds would get a better rap. Today we celebrate the great man’s birthday by demonstrating his influence in another sphere: the art world. In this two-minute montage of excerpts from Turner Prize-winning video artist Douglas Gordon’s breakthrough 1993 work 24-Hour Psycho, the excruciating suspense of Hitchcock’s classic thriller is rendered as a mesmerizing day-long film, its most tense moments transformed into a silent marathon of agony and ecstasy. The full-length version of Gordon’s film is showing this fall at the São Paolo Biennale from September 21 before his collaborative exhibition with Jonathan Monk opens at Galleria Sonia Rosso, Turin, on November 4.  

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