From Hitchcock To Tarantino (And the Decades In Between)
In my youth, I was a big Hitchcock fan(with only a few reservations.)
Right now, I am a big Tarantino fan(with somewhat more reservations.)
The answer is easy of course: Hitchcock made, and QT makes -- thrillers. Somebody is always getting killed in ALMOST all of their movies. In Hitchcock, nobody gets killed in Waltzes from Vienna(as far as I know) or in Mr. and Mrs. Smith(which is a screwball comedy) but the rest of the time..somebody dies. Often very violently.
QT "upped the ante" on bloodshed considerably over Hitchcock. By the time we reach Kill Bill Part 1, we're talking wholesale slaughter. Funny: QT's most recent film "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" ALMOST plays without murder -- until the bloody and satisfying climax, where the Manson Family killers get killed in a most satisfying way.
There is this division between Hitchcock and QT: Hitchcock stated somewhere "I have no interest in making movies about gangsters." Hitchcock's thrillers are, indeed , very particular to HIS view of the world. He made no gangster movies, but he made a lot of spy movies, and he made most of those when the Nazis were real life bad guys in the 30's and World War II 40's.
QT sort of makes gangster movies -- organized crime(in Los Angeles!) is a part of Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. International organized crime is part of Kill Bill. But QT has also shifted his violence into WWII (Inglorious Basterds, mainly a war movie, but with a couple of undercover spies) and the Western(Django, The Hateful Eight, even the "TV series part" on OATIH.)
When Hitchcock wasn't making movies about spies(with both Nazis and later Communists as the villains) he was making movies about: psychos. Like Psycho. And Frenzy. And Strangers on a Train. And Shadow of a Doubt. And also: Rear Window and Rope and The Lodger. Take out the spies and the psychos in Hitchcock, and there isn't much left. Wife killers, I suppose(Suspicion sorta; Dial M, Vertigo...) Thieves(To Catch a Thief, Marnie.)
No, Hitchcock was his own "universe" and QT isn't really carrying that on - with the exception, maybe, of one movie -- Death Proof -- because that one is about a serial killer(Kurt Russell driving a car that kills from inside and out.)
Someone characterized QT's modern day movies as "crime movies" rather than gangster movies, and I suppose realistic, low-level down-and-dirty crime is what Hitchcock AVOIDED. Hitch wanted plots in which "this could happen to YOU" and YOU aren't dealing in crime. YOU are an ad man who stumbles into a spy ring; a photographer in a wheelchair who spies on his neighbors; a vacationing couple whose child is kidnapped, etc.
Now, a shift: between Hitchcock (particularly around Psycho) and QT(still practicing today, one film away -- he says - from the end)...who ELSE has caught my fancy as a director of thrillers and crime?
Between Hitchcock and QT, there have been a lot of "one or two hit wonder" classic thrillers, but their directors didn't make a habit of thrillers. To wit:
John Frankenheimer(The Manchurian Candidate, Seven Days in May, Black Sunday.)
Stanley Donen (Charade and Arabesque.)
Terrence Young(Wait Until Dark...and a coupla Bond films.)
Peter Yates(Bullitt, The Deep.)
Francis Coppola(Dementia 13, The Godfathers, The Conversation.)
Steven Spielberg(Duel, Jaws, Jurassic Park, Minority Report.)
John Schlesinger (Marathon Man)
Sydney Pollack(Three Days of the Condor, The Firm.)
Curtis Hanson(LA Confidential and some minor thrillers)
David Fincher(Se7en and Zodiac)
Jonathan Demme(Silence of the Lambs and really bad remakes of Charade and The Manchurian Candidate)...
...and many many more "one or two hit" thriller makers.
But still, between Hitchcock and Tarantino, who else has SPECIALIZED in thrillers or crime pictures?
No one, really, but these folks come close:
DON SIEGEL: Invasion of the Body Snatchers(1956) is SciFi, but it plays like Hitchcock: Friends, family and neighbors "change for the worse." "They won't believe him!"
Around 1964, less a few Westerns, Don Siegel became a "crime thriller specialist." The Killers(Lee Marvin as a hit man; Ronald Reagan as a crime boss.) Coogan's Bluff(Eastwood as a cowboy cop in NYC); Dirty Harry(a cop movie with Hitchcockian psycho overtones); Charley Varrick(a robber movie with Walter Matthau against type and a Hitchcockian tightness of narrative and visuals); The Black Windmill(Michael Caine, spies and a child kidnapping); The Shootist(John Wayne's final film, with an ornate saloon built by Hitchcock's frequent art director, Robert Boyle); Telefon(Charles Bronson in a late Cold War spy thriller); Rough Cut(Burt Reynolds doing Cary Grant - literally in one scene -- in a To Catch a Thief derivative) Jinxed(the final Siegel film; Bette Midler wants to kill her husband.)