Dear Noel: One difference between Hitchcock and Welles in their handling of material is that, though both are concerned with the effects of total or totalitarian power over humans, Welles always shows compassion for the victims and a certain pity for the villain (whom he often chooses to play). It is hard to find much of that in Hitchcock, who is taken up almost entirely with cleverness, irony, cynicism (and concealed sadism running underneath).
Hitchcock, as you point out, had a long apprenticeship in film, but he was not known much in America until, say, THE 39 STEPS (1935), a story which Welles was also interested in producing the actual John Buchan story as a spy drama for his Mercury Theater on the Air three years later. Rather than THE SECRET AGENT (1936) or THE LADY VANISHES (1938), it was JAMAICA INN (1939), not much to look at today, that was rare given fairly wide distribution in America, rare for a British film at the time. Welles, in these years, had become one of the most widely known personages in the Arts of the Western World. All of this activity, of course, attracted the attention of voracious David O. Selznick to both of them.
I'm sure I don't really have to remind you, Noel, of the cat and mouse game, rather honorable in the Arts, which continued between Selznick and Hitchcock with Welles for the next twenty years.
Selznick, an inveterate student of Radio for shorthand ideas, heard the Welles' first Campbell Radio Playhouse production of Rebecca in January 1939, which allowed him to figure a way to cut the DuMaurier's novel down to movie size. He wanted Welles to direct, better yet to star. Failing that, he brought Hitchcock over to make REBECCA (1940).
There was talk of Welles starring, too, in Hitchcock's SHADOW OF A DOUBT (1943), written by Welles' old friend Thornton Wilder. Mercury Player Joseph Cotton, under contract to Selznick after Welles' departure for Brazil, was hired instead. A few years later, Welles made THE STRANGER (1946), a film thematically very similar to SHADOW OF A DOUBT.
Meanwhile, upon his return from South America, Welles starred in (some say, produced, wrote and directed, in part) JANE EYRE (1944), a David O. Selznick package deal with Robert Stevenson (Hitchcock's supposed replacement) sold to 20th Century Fox; it was another story Welles had done for the Campbell Playhouse in Radio. He co-starred with Selznick's REBECCA "discovery," Joan Fontaine, joining Mercury Players Agnes Moorehead and Eustace Wyatt (music courtesy of Bernard Herrmann).
Welles then wrote and spoke the narration for David O. Selznick's DUEL IN THE SUN, which starred Joseph Cotton, and Selznick's new find Jennifer Jones, as well as his old friend from New York stage, Walter Huston, father of John.
There was talk of Welles writing, directing and starring in THE THIRD MAN (1949), but Selznick had cooled on Welles, exiled to Europe by that time. Mogul of equal British rank Alexander Korda and Director Carol Reed held out for Welles at least for the villain, and Selznick dropped back, retaining the American distribution rights (and trimming the film, to later viewers' dismay). And so, Welles once more played the (criminally) powerful villain to Joseph Cotton's Graham Greene "hero."
True, Selznick never was associated with Welles closely again, but Hitchcock obviously continued to watch Welles' work closely.
[Selznick transferred his interest to Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, which revived a similar cat and mouse game between Hitchcock and them, but that is the subject for another thread.]
It is pretty clear that, when Welles returned to the United States, after completing MR. ARKADIN(1955), a film about a Harry Lime figure grown old and powerful, and made TOUCH OF EVIL (1958), that film was a major influence on Hitchcock's PSYCHO, two years later, not only in the featuring of Janet Leigh and the motel setting, but figure of Norman Bates of Anthony Perkins, very like the motel night man of Dennis Weaver, all "borrowed" from TOUCH OF EVIL. (And of course, by this time, Bernard Herrmann had become Hitchcock's major composer.)
Of course, Anthony Perkins starred in Welles' THE TRIAL in 1962.
Sorry, for calling all this a cat and mouse game. Just my little conceit.
Sorry, too, Noel, that in my ignorance, I had never realized David O. Selznick was a non sequitur.
I beg your pardon.