As an adult, Hitch rigorously controlled the press's portrait of him, drawing certain carefully selected childhood anecdotes into full focus and blurring all others out. In this quick-witted portrait, Ackroyd reveals something more: a lugubriously jolly man fond of practical jokes, who smashes a once-used tea cup every morning to remind himself of the frailty of life. Iconic film stars make cameo appearances, just as Hitch did in his own films: Grace Kelly, Cary Grant, and James Stewart despair of his detached directing style and, perhaps most famously of all, Tippi Hedren endures cuts and bruises from a real-life fearsome flock of birds.
Alfred Hitchcock wrests the director's chair back from the master of control and discovers what lurks just out of sight, in the corner of the shot.
- ISBN-13: 9780385537414
- ISBN-10: 0385537417
- Publisher: Nan A. Talese
- Publish Date: October 2016
- Page Count: 288
- Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.6 x 1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-06-13
- Reviewer: Staff
“Why another book about Alfred Hitchcock?” is the question readers may ask themselves before beginning the latest offering from Ackroyd (Wilkie Collins). The answer becomes clear in the opening chapter, which stresses the significance of the acclaimed director’s strict Catholic upbringing in early 20th century London. Hitchcock, “the Master of Suspense,” is introduced as a fearful, eccentric, and solitary figure whose life and work were profoundly impacted by his Jesuit education. The author, himself a Londoner who was raised as a Catholic, is the perfect candidate to explore this fascinating aspect of the director’s character, but Ackroyd often changes course while trying to cram his subject’s 80 years into a single slim volume. The book’s pacing feels rushed as Ackroyd introduces an array of Hitchcock’s famous friends and collaborators, including producer David O. Selznick, costume designer Edith Head, and filmmaker François Truffaut. Despite the limited scope of this condensed account, it should find an audience with Hitchcock novices eager to consume a vigorous and immensely readable study of a consummate film craftsman. (Oct.)