Steven Spielberg and Alfred Hitchcock - influences

Essay by btransformerB-, May 2008

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Steven Spielberg and Alfred Hitchcock are two directors who have been influenced by their time. Hitchcock was influenced from early 19th century. Spielberg was influenced from the middle of 19th century. Spielberg has been influenced by technology and historical events. Hitchcock has mainly been influenced by current events and art movements. Different influences revolutionize and create change in the directors' films.

Hitchcock was a member of the London Film Society which showed French, German and Soviet art films, as well as early and new American films. This provided a unique opportunity where Hitchcock could observe and gain different ideas and techniques. The London Film Society influenced Hitchcock and many other aspiring British filmmakers. (Spoto, 1983) Another early influence was German director F.W. Murnau. Murnau was a strong influence for Hitchcock. While filming the film, "Der Letze Mann" Hitchcock visited the set and observed Murnau at work. The unchained camera and his pursuit of telling the story in visual terms alone were Murnau's main points of interest.

This had become a lifelong interest for Hitchcock.(Haeffner, 2005)Two predominant influences of Hitchcock were German Expressionistic style and American films. During the silent period of film making Hitchcock was working in a German studio. When he first began making films, he saw a collection of Fritz Lang's silent films. During World War 1 the German film industry found it difficult to create films that could match Hollywoods. German Expressionist created their own style which included the use of symbolism and mise en scene that created more depth and meaning. Hitchcock's first thriller, "The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog" was Hitchcock's first film to use elements of Expressionist. (Spoto, 1983)Another influence in Hitchcock's career was Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis. During Hitchcock's career Freud was informing the world of his...