Hitchcock’s films during the 1940s were diverse, ranging from the romantic comedy Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941) to the courtroom drama The Paradine Case(1947) to the dark and disturbing film noir Shadow of a Doubt (1943). Suspicion (1941) marked Hitchcock’s first film as both a producer as well as director. Although the film was set in England Hitchcock used the north coast of Santa Cruz, California, for the English coastline. This film was Cary Grant’s first picture with Hitchcock, and it is notable as one of the few times that Grant would be cast in a sinister role.
The 1950’s was an amazingly productive decade for Hitchcock. He made several films that would become minor classics including; Dial “M” for Murder (1954), Strangers on a Train (1954), and To Catch a Thief (1955). He also made four movies that are considered to be some of his best work: Rear Window (1954), Vertigo (1958), and North by Northwest (1959).
In 1960 Hitchcock created his best known film, Psycho. Psycho was a low budget film for Hitchcock with a budget of $800,000; it was shot in black-and-white on a sparse set. The unprecedented violence of the shower scene, the early death of the heroine, and the innocent lives snuffed out by a disturbed murderer became the defining hallmarks of Hitchcock’s new horror genre. Psycho was followed by The Birds (1963) and the romantic psychological drama Marnie (1964).
By the 1970’s Hitchcock’s career was winding down. Frenzy was released in 1972, a tale centered around a string of “Necktie Murders”. His final film was released in 1976 with Family Plot.