The most comprehensive volume ever published on Alfred Hitchcock, covering his career and legacy as well as the broader cultural and intellectual contexts of his work. Contains thirty chapters by the leading Hitchcock scholars Covers his long career, from his earliest contributions to other directors’ silent films to his last uncompleted last film Details the enduring legacy he left to filmmakers and audiences alike
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Focuses on the career and achievements of the director who envisioned a new kind of thriller.
Alfred Hitchcock's films have had an impact on scholars of all critical persuasions to the extent that the study of his works is synonymous with the study of 20th century cinema itself. These essays reflect the length and breadth of this scholarship.
Who was Hitchcock? A fat man who played practical jokes on people? A control freak who humiliated others to make himself look better? A little boy afraid of the dark? One of the greatest storytellers of the century? He was all of these and more - twenty years after his death, he is still a household name; most people in the Western world have seen his film, and he popularised the action movie format we see every week on the cinema screen.
From the beginning of his career, Alfred Hitchcock wanted to be considered an artist. Although his thrillers were immensely popular, and Hitchcock himself courted reviewers, he was, for many years, regarded as no more than a master craftsman. By the 1960s, though, critics began calling him an artist of unique vision and gifts. What happened to make Hitchcock's reputation as a true innovator and singular talent? Through a close examination of Hitchcock's personal papers, scripts, production notes, publicity files, correspondence, and hundreds of British and American reviews, Robert Kapsis here traces Hitchcock's changing critical fortunes. Vertigo, for instance, was considered a flawed film when first released; today it is viewed by many as the signal achievement of a great director. According to Kapsis, this dramatic change occurred because the making of the Hitchcock legend was not solely dependent on the quality of his films. Rather, his elevation to artist was caused by a successful blending of self-promotion, sponsorship by prominent members of the film community, and, most important, changes in critical theory which for the first time allowed for the idea of director as auteur. Kapsis also examines the careers of several other filmmakers who, like Hitchcock, have managed to cross the line that separates craftsman from artist, and shows how Hitchcock's legacy and reputation shed light on the way contemporary reputations are made. In a chapter about Brian De Palma, the most reknowned thriller director since Hitchcock, Kapsis explores how Hitchcock's legacy has affected contemporary work in—and criticism of—the thriller genre. Filled with fascinating anecdotes and intriguing excerpts, and augmented by interviews with Hitchcock's associates, this thoroughly documented and engagingly written book will appeal to scholars and film enthusiasts alike. "Required reading for Hitchcock scholars...scrupulously researched, invaluable material for those who continue to ask: what made the master tick?"—Anthony Perkins
Alfred Hitchcock rigorously controlled his public image, drawing certain carefully selected childhood anecdotes into full focus and blurring out all others. In this gripping short biography, Peter Ackroyd wrests the director’s chair back from the master of control to reveal a lugubriously jolly man fond of practical jokes, who smashed a once-used tea cup every morning to remind himself of the frailty of life. Iconic film stars make cameo appearances throughout Hitchcock’s story, just as the director did in his own films: Grace Kelly, Cary Grant, James Stewart and, perhaps most famously of all, Tippi Hedren, who endures cuts and bruises from a fearsome flock of real birds. Perceptive and intelligent, Alfred Hitchcock is a fascinating look at one of the most revered directors of the twentieth century.
Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho: A Casebook collects some of the finest essays on this groundbreaking film--a film that is ideal for teaching the language of cinema and the ways in which strong filmmakers can break Hollywood conventions. Psycho is a film that can be used to present the structures of composition and cutting, narrative and genre building, and point of view. The film is also a highpoint of the horror genre and an instigator of all the slasher films to come in its wake. The essays in the casebook cover all of these elements and more. They also serve another purpose: presented chronologically, they represent the changes in the methodologies of film criticism, from the first journalist reviews and early auteurist approaches, through current psychoanalytic and gender criticism. Other selections include an analysis of Bernard Hermann's score and its close relationship to Hitchcock's visual construction; the famous Hitchcock interview by François Truffaut; and an essay by Robert Kolker that, through the use of stills taken directly from the film, closely reads its extraordinary cinematic structure. Contributors include Robert Kolker, Stephen Rebello, Bosley Crowther, Jean Douchet, Robin Wood, Raymond Durgnat, Royal S. Brown, George Toles, Robert Samuels, and Linda Williams.
Alfred Hitchcock's American films are not only among the most admired works in world cinema, they also offer some of our most acute responses to the changing shape of American society in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. The authors of this anthology show how famous films such as Strangers on a Train, Vertigo, North by Northwest, and Rear Window, along with more obscure ones such as Rope, The Wrong Man, and Family Plot, register the ideologies and insurgencies, the normative assumptions and the cultural alternatives, that shaped these tumultuous decades. They argue that, just as these films occupy a visual landscape defined by the grand monuments of American civic life--Mt. Rushmore, the Statue of Liberty, the United Nations--they are also marked by their preoccupation with the social mores and private practices of mid-century America. Not only are big-city and suburban life the explicit subjects of films like Rear Window and Shadow of a Doubt, so are the forms of experience that emerge within these social spaces, whether the urban voyeurism examined by the former or the intertwining of banality and violence depicted in the latter. Indeed, just about every form of American life that was achieving social power at this time--the national security state; the science and art of psychoanalysis; the privileging of the free-wheeling, improvisatory self; the postwar codification and fissuring of gender roles; road-culture and its ancillary creation, the motel--is given detailed, critical, and mordant examination in Hitchcocks films. The Hitchcock who emerges is not merely the inspired technician and psychological excavator that critics of the past two generations have justly hailed; he is also a cultural critic of remarkable insight and undeniable prescience.
After a decade of successful films that included Rear Window, Vertigo, North by Northwest, and Psycho, Alfred Hitchcock produced Marnie, an apparent artistic failure and an unquestionable commercial disappointment. Over the decades, however, the film s reputation has undergone a reevaluation, and both critics and fans alike have come to appreciate Marnie s many qualities. In Hitchcock and the Making of Marnie, Tony Lee Moral investigates the cultural and political factors governing the 1964 film s production, the causes of its critical and commercial failure, and Marnie s relevance for today s artists and filmmakers. Hitchcock s style, motivation, and fears regarding the film are well-documented in this examination of one of his most undervalued efforts. Moral uses extensive research, including personal interviews with Tippi Hedren and Psycho screenwriter Joseph Stefano as well as unpublished excerpts from interviews with Hitchcock himself to delve into the issues surrounding the film s production and release. This revised edition features four new chapters that provide even more fascinating insights into the film s production and Hitchcock s working methods. Biographies of Winston Graham the author of the novel on which the film is based and screenwriter Jay Presson Allen provide clues into how they brought a feminist viewpoint to Marnie. Additional material addresses Hitchcock s unrealized project Mary Rose and his efforts to bring it to the screen, the director s visual style and subjective approach to Marnie, and an exploration of the real Alfred Hitchcock. The book also addresses criticisms of the director following the HBO television movie The Girl, which depicted the filming of Marnie. With newly obtained access to the Hitchcock Collection Production Archives at the Margaret Herrick Library, the files of Jay and Lewis Allen, and the memoirs of Winston Graham as well as interviews in 2012 with the Hitchcock crew this new edition of Hitchcock and the Making of Marnie provides an invaluable look behind the scenes of a film that has finally been recognized for its influence and vision. It contains more than thirty photos, including a storyboard sequence for the film."
It contends that Hitchcock can be seen as a matrix-figure who absorbed much of the first decades of cinema and in turn greatly influenced film noir, the French New Wave, and directors as innovative as David Lynch, Roman Polanski and Wong Kar-Wai, and whose legacy is still evident in the work of contemporary filmmakers all around the world."--Jacket.