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Hitchcock on Hitchcock: Selected Writings and Interviews Paperback – November 4, 1997


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; . edition (November 4, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520212223
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520212220
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,030,098 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

No one knew more about manipulating a movie audience than Alfred Hitchcock, the legendary master of suspense. But while many film directors have written books about their ideas and techniques, Hitchcock discussed his personal theories almost exclusively in the short articles he wrote throughout his long life. Here, for the first time, most of these hard-to-find pieces have been collected. Sidney Gottlieb's well-edited volume features Hitchcock's thoughts on actors ("they should be treated like cattle"), effective film editing, the power of the thriller, proper uses of a director's talents, and the keys to any good suspense film: sex and murder. Gottlieb's introduction and running commentary is illuminating and helpful. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Although Hitchcock worked mainly within the suspense genre he experimented endlessly with the form, and few film directors were as clear-eyed about the strengths and limitations of the medium. Every element in his films was carefully planned, with audience involvement essential to the experience. Not surprisingly, Hitchcock constantly explained himself, and this book collects interviews and essays from both his early British and later Hollywood periods. Rare and important pieces include "Why I Am Afraid of the Dark," "Why Thrillers Thrive," and a whimsical but revealing essay, "Women Are a Nuisance"?Hitch claimed men were better actors. Not nearly as entertaining as Truffaut's extended interview, Hitchcock (S. & S., 1967), this book still deserves a place in any important film collection.?Stephen Rees, Bucks Cty. Free Lib., Levittown, Pa.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 15, 1997
Format: Hardcover
A collection that promises much but proves repetitive and unsatisfying. The pieces were mostly aimed at a broad popular audience and contain little to interest today's more informed cinema-lovers. The account of the technical challenges posed by "Rope", though, is fascinating and almost worth the price of admission by itself. Most Hitchcock buffs will be better off with Truffaut's book of interviews
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By darragh o'donoghue on May 31, 2001
Format: Paperback
So few of the great directors from Hollywood's Golden Age wrote about their craft, either its theory or practice, so this collection of articles, interviews, speeches, lectures and publicity pieces from Alfred Hitchcock is very welcome, even if most were ghost-written.
The volume covers his career from humble menial in 1919 to aging maestro in the 1930s, and includes his thoughts on acting, plots, the studio system, producers, production, technicians, genre audiences, Britain, and, of course, style.
There are some priceless anecdotes about Hitchcock's early directing days in the haphazard British film industry, a short story parodying Poe and sensationalist horror stories; the important essay 'Why I am Afraid of the Dark', acknowledging his debt to Poe and the Surrealists; an hilarious interview with a wannabe auteurist who doesn't even know what a cut is (Interviewer: 'our magazine is for 'the intelligent motion picturegoer''. Hitch: 'Are there intelligent picturegoers'!); and an intriguing transcription of a screenwriting session for 'Marnie' with Evan Hunter.
The great problem with this book is its editing. Firstly, Gottlieb's claims for the material are ludicrously disproportionate, and his lengthy introductions overstretch what is largely superficial material. Hitch's ruminations on the audience and narrative, say, do not look forward to the current interests of film studies as if he were some kind of soothsayer, but reflect the concerns of all film-makers working in the same periods. As Truffaut's book on Hitchcock proved in any case, it would be unwise to take everything the Master said at face value; and there is a typical unwillingness in these pieces to discuss the 'meaning' of his work.
More seriously, there is far too much repetition of material, as we watch Hitchcock recycling the same insights, stories and examples for different readerships; no amount of editorial sophism can prevent the reading becoming tedious.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Cuckoo Pine Nut on July 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
Yes, some of it dragged a bit. But overall I found it very interesting indeed. There was a chapter on the making of "Rope", as well as a speech Hitchcock made at a dinner which is worth buying the book for. His sense of humour is very humourous. It was fascinating to read all the things he had to say about filmmaking and how to please the audience. I read it straight through except that once I jumped ahead and read the chapter on Rope, but it's more the type of book where you read a chapter here and another there - whatever interests you at the moment. I thought it very good and I recommend it.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By "tluk" on July 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
This should have been a great book. However, this collection of interviews, essays and writings from Alfred Hitchcock develops into an almost utterly incoherent mess that has no shape and is hard to get into.
The editor clearly loves Hitchcock and his work, it's just a shame this love is so poorly expressed. The constantly changing, unconnected 'chapters' will leave you confused and losing interest in finishing the book.
However, I endured all the way to the end. Whilst it's nowhere near the satisfying read it should be, there are a few - repeat a few - interesting tidbits of information. But unless you're a die hard Hitchcock fan you're better off avoiding this book.
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