History Of Thriller Films

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  • 1. By Lamar Johnson
  • 2. • A man called Alfred Hitchcock made his first thriller, this being his third silent film in 1926 this was called “The Lodger” a Jack The Ripper type story filled with suspense.• His next thriller in 1929 was a film called “Blackmail” this was notable for being his and Britains first sound film.• From 1935 most of Hitchcocks outputs were Thrillers.• In 1928 on of the earliest spy films was made, this was by Fritz Lang and this film was called “Spies” this film projected the James Bond films of the future.• In 1931 yet another film by Fritz Lang called “German Film” starring Peter Lorre. The film was a story of the serial killer Peter Kurten and his life.• Yet Another crime thriller called “Murders In The Zoo” by Edward Sutherland was produced in 1933 where Lionel Atwill played a murderous and jealous Zoologist.• There were various other notable British Directors who produced Thriller type films such as, Walter Forde, Victor Saville, George A. Cooper and the young Michael Powell. Forde Making nine films, Victor seven between 1932 and 35, Cooper six in the same period and Powell also the same.
  • 3.  In the 1940s Hitchcock continued to direct suspense thrillers, in this year he produced two films one of which was Oscar winning, these films were “Foreign Correspondent” and “Rebecca”, Rebecca being the film which was Oscar Winning. In 1941 he then went on to release a film called “Suspicion” This was about a women in danger from her own husband. He then went on to release Saboteur in 1942 and Shadow of a Doubt in 1943 which was Hitchcocks own personal favourite, a film which was based on a true case of the a 1920s serial killer known as The Merry Widow Murderer. George Cukors psychological Thriller “Gaslight” of 1944 was a film about a husband who plotted to make his own Wife go insane in order to inherit her inheritance. The second film by George of this year was a film called “Noir” which was about a thrilling murder investigation made by police detective Dan Andrews. In the 1940s there were man other thrillers released such as, The Spiral staircase in 1946 The Lady From Shanghai in 1948, Sorry, Wrong Number in 1948, and The Third Man In 1949
  • 4.  In 1950 Hitchcock still continued to produce thriller adding “Technicolor” to his collection. He produced more classic films such as “Strangers On A Train” in 1951 which was about two train passengers who both staged a battle of wits and traded murders with each other. Another was “Dial M For Murder” in 1954 which was about a husband who attempt to murder his wife, yet another was “Rear window” in again 1954 which was about a man who was convinced his neighbour was a killer. Other movies by Hitchcock in this period were: To Catch a Thief (1955) and Vertigo (1958) Non Hitchcock thrillers which were made in the 50s were movies such as “Niagara” 1953 by Henry Hathaway this movie starred the famous Marilyn Monroe who plays a character who plots to kill her husband. Other films were Robert Aldrichs’s “Kiss Me Deadly” 1955 and Charles Laughtons “The Night of The Hunter” 1955 which was about a preacher who victimized two young children with a secret, finally Orson Welles’ unique crime thriller “Touch Of Evil” 1958.
  • 5.  Director Michael Powells “Peeping Tom” 1960, which was about a psychopathic cameraman, this film was released prior to Hitchcocks “Psycho” 1960 which was about a loner and mother fixated motel owner. J.Lee Thompson released a production called “Cape Fear” in 1962 which featured a menacing character seeking revenge. Stanley Donens stylish thriller of 1963 called “Charade” which had numerous plots and twists starring a pair of character on the search for hidden loot which takes them to Paris. Roman Polanski in 1965 released his first film in English the frightening and surrealistic “Repulsion” which featured a young woman who goes increasingly mad. Terrence Youngs “Wait Until Dark” of 1967 was a famous Thriller of its release date which was about a victimized blind woman in her Manhattan apartment and a evil con man in search for drugs. Films such as the “Harry Palmer spy trilogy were inspired by 007. Other spy films emerged and these were ”The Spy Who Came In From The Cold” of 1965, “The Deadly Affair” 1967 and “The Triple Cross” 1967.
  • 6.  There was a violent wave of Thrillers in this period. In 1972 was “Frenzy”, Hitchcocks first British film in almost two decades, given a rating “R” for its explicit content. Steven Spielbergs low budget early TV movie “Duel” 1971, In this period brought the first film about a individual being disturbingly obsessed with their idol, this came in Clint Eastwood’s “Play Misty For Me” 1971. John Boormans “Deliverance” followed in 1972. Director Nicolas Roegs macabre “Don’t Look Now” of 1973 emerged a tale of despair in Venice as a couple grieving the death of their daughter. Other 1970 Thrillers include: Francis Fords Coppolas tense thriller, “The Conversation” (1974), Irvin Kershner, “The Eyes of Laura Mars” (1978) and Brian De Palmas psycho-thriller “Sisters” (1973) The 80’s approached bringing us Dressed to Kill (1980), the assassination thriller “Blow Out” (1981) and “Body Double”
  • 7.  The 90s started with Rob Reiners “Misery” 1990 which was absed on a book by Stephen King, then in 1991 came “Sleeping With The Enemy”. “The Hand That’s Rocks The Cradle” by Curtis Hanson was brought to us in 1992, the plot was of a nanny who was seeking revenge against her dead husband patient. The famous Jonathan Demme’s brought us “The Silence Of The Lambs” 1991 where a young FBI agent is in a psychological war against a cannibalistic psychiatrist named Hannibal Lector, David Fincher brought us “se7en” in 1995 which was about a search for a serial killer who conducted the seven deadly sins. Approach present times, we are brought the best Thrillers to date such as: Eden Lake (2008), The Last House on the Left (2009), P2 (2007), Captivity (2007) and Funny Games (2008) Joy Ride (2001), Unknown (2011), Hostage (2005), Cellular (2006), A History of Violence (2005) and Firewall (2006)