1920’s-1930’s• 1926: a man called Alfred Hitchcock released his third silent thriller called The Lodger which was a Jack The Ripper Story filled with suspense.• In 1929 he released another thriller film called Blackmail which was not only the first sound thriller film, but also the first sound film to be made in Britain.• In 1928 Fritz Lang’s Spies was released and were one of the earliest spy films and was the directors first independent production. The film anticipated the James Bond film’s of the future.• In 1931 the film The Chilling German by Fritz Lang was released and starred Peter Lorre in his first ever film role. The film was based on the life of a serial killer.• In 1933 another crime thriller was released called Murder’s In The Zoo and was about a murderous zoologist, played by Lionel Atwill. This film was directed by Edward Sutherland.• There were also other directors that made many thriller films within this period of time, e.g.:1. Walter Forde made nine2. Vorhaus seven between 1932 and 19353. George A. Cooper six in the same period4. and Michael Powell also made six.
1940s• Hitchcock, in 1940, continued to direct more suspense thriller films. He released Foreign Correspondent and Rebecca (which became an Oscar winning film)• In 1941 he released Suspicion which was about a woman who was in danger from her own husband. He also released his favourite out of them all called Shadow of A Doubt which was based on a true story about a serial killer.• In 1944 director George Cukor released two psychological thrillers; one called Gaslight, about a husband plotting to make his wife go insane to inherit her inheritance. The second film was called Film Noir and consisted of a murder investigation.• In 1946 films about people getting terrorised by serial murderers were released.• In 1948 a film staring Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth was released and was called The lady From Shanghai.• Sorry Wrong Number, released in 1948, a woman overheard a phone call plotting a murder which happened to be her own.• More spy films were released in 1946, such as Fritz Lang’s Cloak And Dagger, which starred Gary Cooper as an atomic scientist and was based upon a mission to discover Germany’s plans to build a bomb.• In 1947 a documentary style film was released called 13 Rue Madeleine. This was directed by Henry Hathaway and was a wartime espionage about an agent sent to France during wartime.
1950s• Hitchcock, in the 1950’s, released a few more thriller films which were the highest points of his carreer and he become a huge success. These films included:1. Strangers on A Train- 19512. Dial M For Murder- 1954 (about a viscous husband plotting his wife’s death)3. Rear Window- 1954 (about a man, convinced that one of his neighbours is a murderer)4. To Catch A thief- 19555. Vertigo- 1958 (starring James Stewart who becomes obsessed with his old friends disturbed wife)6. North By northwest- 1958 (about someone who is being chased across the country)• Whilst Hitchcock was busy making his successful films, other directors, such as Henry Hathaway and Charles Laughton released other thriller films.• In 1953 Henry Hathaway released a film called Niagara which starred Marilyn Monroe who played a character plotting to kill her husband.• Robert Aldrich’s released a film called Kiss Me Deadly in 1995, it is a very fast paced film filled with violence , suspense and chaos. It stared Ralph Meeker who played a detective.• Charles Loughton made a film called The Night Of The Hunter and it was the only film he ever made. It featured Robert Mitchum as a preacher.• Touch Me Evil is a film that was released in 1958 and the director of it also acted in the film- Orson Welles.• The Film Diplomatic Courier, directed by Henry Hathaway, was a spy film, made in 1952 and starred Tyrone Power as an undercover secret agent. The novel was based on a novel called Operation Cicero by L.C. Movzisch. The film tells the story of the secret agent searching for essential documents about the Russian Invasion.
1960s• In 1960 Hitchcock released a disturbing thriller film called Psycho which left the audience at the edge of their seats. It was about a murderous motel owner.• Other psychopathic films released in 1960 involve Peeping Tom, by Michael Powell.• Cape Fear was released in 1962 and starred Robert Mitchum . The film was directed by J. Lee Thompson.• Charade was a romantic thriller that was released in 1963 and included many twists and changes of identity which kept the audience entertained.• In 1965 a film called Repulsion was released and was directed by Roman Polanski (it was also his first film in English) It is psychological and about a woman who gradually starts to go mad.• Terence Young directed wait Until Dark in 1967. it was a famous film at the time.• The Harry Palmer trilogy was based on a novel by Len Deighton and inspired 007. It was in fact a trilogy and was released in 1965.• Other spy films released in the 1960s were:1. The Locress File2. Funeral In Berlin3. Billion Dollar Brain4. The Spy Who Came In From The Cold5. The deadly AffairAnd many more...
1970s• After two decades of foreign films, Hitchcock released an English film called Frenzy in 1972 and it was a brilliant start to the thriller genre of 1970. the film was shocking and violent and had high certificate ratings everywhere it was shown.• The film Duel was released in 1971 and directed by Steven Spielberg. It was a low budget film.• Play Misty For Me was directed by Clint Eastwood and was one of the first films about a fan having an unhealthy obsession with their idol.• In 1972 a film by John Boorman was released, it was called Deliverance.• Don’t Look Now was released in 1973 and was directed by Nicolas Roeg. It was a mystifying film with an edge to it, about a couple grieving the death of their daughter who drowned.• The conversation, released in 1974 and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, was a spy thriller film about someone who uncovered a murder whilst being spied upon.• A stalker themed film called The Eyes Of Laura Mars was released in 1978 and was directed by Irvin Kershner.
1980s• The novel The Osterman Weekend byRobert Ludlum was made into a film in1983 and was directed by Sam Peckinpahas one of his last films to direct• Defence of The realm was released in1985 and feature Gabriel Byrne.• Spy thrillers such as The FourthProtocol was released in 1987.• Phillip Noyce ended the 1980 decadeof thriller films with a film called DeadCalm. It was released in 1989 and starredNicole Kidman. This film influenced a lot ofother films in 1990 because of its use ofobsession within the film and alsoelements of trapped characters.
1990s• In 1990 the thriller film genre commenced with a film called Misery and was directed by Rob Reiner. The film was based on a novel by Stephen King. Films such as Sleeping With The Enemy, The Hand That Rocks The Cradle, Unlawful Female and many more were influenced by Miser and all were about battered wives trying to find better life from their husbands.• More thriller films about obsessions were released in this decade, such as unlawful Entry, Single White Female.• The Talented Mr. Ripley which was released in1999 was also about someone becoming obsessed with somebody else. It starred Jude Law and Matt Damon.• Other than the obsession type thriller films that were becoming popular within the thriller film industry, other themes such as FB agents and detective’s tracking down serial killers.• Jonathan Demme was famous for his crime thriller called The Silence Of The Lambs and it was released in 1991.• David Fincher also released a crime thriller in 1995 and was called Se7en- about the search of a serial killer who re-enacts the seven deadly sins.
Present Day• Until this very day, thriller films have shared ideas and themes and have similar elements within them. However, in the recent thrillers that have been made, directors try to maintain an aspect of individuality by making them stand out from the rest. They do this by adding more gore, horror, violence, blood and brutal behaviour. Thrillers used to be a lot more psychological but have now started to have horror aspects within them. Examples of thriller films that have added the above elements in them are:1. Eden Lake, released in 20082. The Last House On The Left, released in 20093. P2, released in 20074. Captivity, released in 20075. Funny Games, released in 2008• Spy thrillers contain a lot more action within them and have done for the last few years of thriller films. Films such as Hostage and Joy Ride were very much action filled but more so thriller.
I have researched the history of the thriller genre togive me an insight of how it has changed over yearsand in what ways. It also gave me an interpretationof how the styles and story lines have adapted andimproved throughout the years. I learned aboutspecific directors and how they made an impact onthriller films over the years. It has helped me withthe planning of my own film as I now have a goodidea of what type of storyline to do and how tomake my film stand out from the other thrillerfilms. I am also aware of how to modernise my film.