Hitchcock’s Storyboards from 13 Classic Films

Hitchcock was known for his extensive storyboarding down to the finest detail of production. He was reported to have never even bothered looking through the viewfinder, since he didn’t need to do so. Looking at his storyboards versus the finial film it’s safe to say that is a vast overstatement.

Hitchcock trained as a draughtsman and worked in advertising before his first job in the film industry; designing title cards for silent films. Perhaps this influenced his pre-visual style. While he was an experienced illustrator he always hired a storyboard artist. These included legendary artists as Saul Bass, Harold Michelson, among others.

Family Plot (1976)

Storyboard by Thomas J.Wright for the cemetery scene for Family Plot and the pursuit of Mrs. Maloney by Lumley.

Topaz (1969)

Thomas Wright’s “Topaz” storyboard.

Marnie (1964)

Storyboard sketch from “Marnie” by Harold Michelson.

The Birds (1963)

Harold Michelson “The Birds” storyboard.

Psycho (1960)

Saul Bass prepared storyboards for the shower scene, and was on the set during at least part of the filming. After Hitchcock’s death, Bass asserted that he had directed the scene at Hitchcock’s invitation–a claim definitively contradicted by both Janet Leigh and Assistant Director Hilton Green. Bass’s partisans have subsequently held that Hitchcock merely mechanically filmed shots already laid out by Bass. Comparing the storyboards to the filmed scene shows that to be untrue. On the other hand, the most crucial elements of the scene, such as the drain-eye matchcut and the tracking shot that follows it, are in the storyboards. That proves nothing about the author of the scene, however, since Bass drew the storyboards after extensive discussions with Hitchcock about the design of the scene.

North by Northwest (1959)

Pre-production sketch by Robert F Boyle of the Vandamm house in “North by Northwest”.

Sketch showing camera angles in “North by Northwest”.

Vertigo (1958)

The kiss by the ocean storyboards for “Vertigo”.

Spellbound (1945)

Pre-production drawing of Salvador Dali’s dream sequence in “Spellbound”.

Lifeboat (1944)

Storyboard with shooting script from “Lifeboat”.

Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

Pre-production drawings for “Shadow of a Doubt”.

Saboteur (1942)

John Decuir’s storyboards to the Statue of Liberty sequence in “Saboteur”.

Storyboard sequence from “Saboteur”, drawn by Alfred Hitchcock.

Foreign Correspondent (1940)

Pre-production drawing for “Foreign Correspondent”.

The 39 Steps (1935)

Ray Simm’s storyboard sketch from “The 39 Steps”.