Sunday, June 28, 2015
Alfred Hitchcock was born a few years after the advent of cinema and just before the twentieth century began, on August 13, 1899. He grew up in East London, the child of a hard-working, serious Catholic family. His father owned and ran a greengrocer's shop and the family lived above it; the father, with his brothers, also had an interest in a wholesale fruit and vegetable business. The Hitchcocks were not rich, not poor; they were rising in the world, but there wasn't far for them to rise. Their class had dignity and self-respect, but it didn't have the privileges of the upper orders and the haute bourgeoisie, and it didn't have the solidarity and burgeoning energy of the newly self-conscious working classes (the British Labour Party would be founded in 1900). Margaret Thatcher, born a quarter century later and decidedly not a member of the Labour Party, belonged to much the same class as the Hitchcocks and could be said never to have left it in her manners, dress, and assumptions - only her (diligently acquired) accent and pitch of voice suggested a personality accustomed to command. I don't want to claim that class, even in England, determines everything or even most things, but it's worth noting that members of the Hitchcock/Thatcher category are likely to have certain perspectives in common: an eye for the market, a distrust of the state, a healthy disapproval of people who are too posh and people who are too disreputable, and a firm conviction that if you want something done you should do it yourself.
-Michael Wood, Hitchcock: The Man Who Knew Too Much