The undisputed ‘Master of Suspense’, Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980) was at the front of cinema almost from its very beginnings, yet throughout his long career he remained a thoroughly ‘modern’ filmmaker with a singular grasp of the technology and an affinity with his stars. With classic movies such as The Lodger, Blackmail, The 39 Steps, Rebecca, Notorious, Vertigo, Strangers on a Train, North by Northwest, Psycho, The Birds and Frenzy, he topped box offices across the world, his name always above the title. In the 1950s and 1960s he conquered the new medium of television of ‘Alfred Hitchcock Presents’ series, and became the most instantly recognisable film director in the world, thanks in part to his darkly humorous cameo appearances in all his movies.
Lavishly illustrated, as befits a biography of this most ‘visual’ of moviemakers, this fascinating book examines Hitchcock’s relationships with a series of ‘Hitchcock Blondes’, including Tippi Hedren, Janet Leigh, Kim Novak, Ingrid Bergman and Grace Kelly, in the light of the director’s background and upbringing, and how his complex attitudes to crime, guilt, innocence and sex recur as an intriguing subtext to the dazzling film-making of one of the greatest figures in cinema history.
QUENTIN FALK, editor of the BAFTA magazine Academy, is the author of books on Anthony Hopkins, Albert Finney, Graham Greene and the Ranak Organisation. A former editor of Screen International, he has been film critic for the Daily Mail and the Sunday Mirror, as well as a regular contributor to newspapers and magazines for more than 30 years.