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Hitchcock's Films Revisited Paperback – May 15, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-0231126953 ISBN-10: 0231126956 Edition: Revised

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press; Revised edition (May 15, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231126956
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231126953
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #612,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This is really two books in one. It contains the entire text of Robin Wood's groundbreaking Hitchcock's Films and supplements it with articles and commentaries on Hitchcock that Wood wrote from the time of that book's publication until today. Tracing the trajectory of Hitchcock's career, Hitchcock's Films Revisited also allows us to follow the intellectual and emotional development of one of the cinema's major critics. Wood's close readings are always revelatory and exciting, and this volume contains probably the best single essay ever written on a Hitchcock movie, Wood's analysis of Vertigo. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In 1965, Wood, now professor of film studies at York University, authored the well-regarded Hitchcock's Films . Since then he has become an avowed Marxist and feminist, and had modified his auteurist views. From these perspectives, the work has been reprinted, extensively footnoted and "corrected" by bracketed insertions, and combined with several new essays which essentially comprise another complete book. Where the first book focuses on the director's mature works, the second one critiques somewhat less-appreciated films and provides an overall thematic context. In an illuminating new introduction, Wood extensively analyzes his and other film writers' approaches to the Hitchcock canon. Highly recommended for informed laypersons and scholars.
- Roy Liebman, California State Univ. Lib., Los Angeles
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Robin Wood, I believe has showed a continuum in his analysis of Hitchcock's work.
gobirds2
His thoughts on STRANGERS ON A TRAIN are excessively pendantic and have a forced quality, but they are none the less interesting.
Gary F. Taylor
If that's all one is concerned with, I'm not sure why it would be worth reading a book on Hitchcock at all.
Alexander Jacoby

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Alexander Jacoby on September 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
Most of the comments posted about this book are embarrassing in their refusal to engage properly with what Robin Wood is actually trying to argue. Previous readers appear to resent Wood's desire to take the cinema seriously, and suggest that we should look to Hitchcock's films for no more than "craft" and "technique". If that's all one is concerned with, I'm not sure why it would be worth reading a book on Hitchcock at all. Wood has always been firm in asserting that the experience of watching a film is both emotional and intellectual. Taking the cinema seriously doesn't mean one has to stop responding to it emotionally. Nor does Hitchcock's status as a consummate entertainer invalidate Wood's arguments that his films raise profound and troubling moral and political questions.

Wood writes beautifully. Complaints about his reliance on Freudian or Marxist terminology are wrongheaded - such terminology is in fact employed far more rarely than by most academic writers. Wood's use of language is magnificently precise and careful. It is true that he conducts his critique of Hitchcock, as of other filmmakers, from a leftwing viewpoint. One does not have to share his commitment to Marxism (a kind of reconstructed, humanistic Marxism, incidentally, which has nothing to do with the atrocities perpetrated by Mao or Stalin) in order to appreciate the strength of his analysis. Anyone who is prepared, as a reader, to engage in lively debate with a writer's ideological and moral assumptions, should be able to profit by reading Wood's book.

I certainly don't agree with everything Wood has to say either on a political or an aesthetic level. But no other writer on Hitchcock, or on the cinema, has the same depth, reach or passion for his subject. Hitchcock's Films Revisited, presenting in tandem Wood's earlier and later thoughts on one of the cinema's great masters, is not only great criticism; it is also a moving account of one man's personal and political evolution.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
I have been reading books about Hitchcock for the last 15 years and the discovery of this one written by Robin Wood has been a revelation, far better than the praised Truffaut book or the one by Donald Spoto, both of which seem to disregard the vastness of Hitchcock's timeless movies. I very much recommend this book if you really want to go beyond cinema trivia and have a look into the work of one of the best artists of this closing Twentieth century. Enjoy it before and after watching a Hitchcock movie - or just anytime you feel like a good cinema essay.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By John P Bernat on October 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
Forty years ago Robin Wood joined a then-small number of serious critics who urged that Hitchcock be taken seriously. Since many of those critics did not receive a wide reading, Wood's effort was of extreme significance in garnering Hitch the respect he deserved.

It's wonderful to note that Wood, still writing, has continued to update his first work without repudiating or diluting any of it. He made some highly daring observations in 1966, which so many writers ridiculed or dismissed. His originality and critical integrity is so notable, though, that it has weathered these attacks and survived to the present, in actually even better form.

Consider, for example, that Wood countered a then-contemporary tend in dismissing "Marnie" as a failure. Instead, in his first book and most recent edition, he insists that "Marnie" be counted in among films like Psycho, The Birds, Vertigo and North by Northwest as a masterly pairing of visual images addressing psychological elements. And who else before Wood saw the utterly original qualities of "Vertigo," or deconstructed them more effectively?

You won't be sorry to have this book in your library. It originated a critical lanugage of film, and celebrated one of film's greatest contributors in a unique way.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By gobirds2 TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
The methods of the great pioneers have often puzzled conventional minds. I am not a great pioneer. I am puzzled. And what the heck does conventional mean? Robin Wood is without question the greatest authority on the cinematic works of Sir Alfred Hitchcock. Years ago after seeing many films as I was growing up I decided to do some reading on the role of the Director. By pure chance I picked up and purchased Robin Wood's original edition of this book. Obviously it was at that time, myself still being in school very challenging reading for me. However, I was able to recognize brilliance over hypocrisy. Robin Wood has ever since remained the preeminent authority on Hitchcock's films. He has honestly admitted that his perspectives on some of his analysis have changed. This is not an outright statement that has had a change of heart or acquired a new taste in the aesthetics of Hitchcock's films. On the contrary, through ongoing analysis he has come even closer to the secret of Hitchcock's mastery of his art. An artist creates a work. A great portion of that work is constructed with conscious deliberate thought, some is intuitive and a small portion may be subconscious. Robin Wood, I believe has showed a continuum in his analysis of Hitchcock's work. Wood continues to explore the avenues of the intuitive and subconscious nature of Alfred Hitchcock, which manifests itself in his films. To this end I believe Wood has devoted a good portion of his life.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Gary F. Taylor HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 2, 2007
Format: Paperback
On the rare occasions when they bothered to contemplate him and his work, arts intelligentsia relegated Alfred Hitchcock to the status of competent craftsman of popular thrillers--until the 1960s, when a few critics began a major re-evaluation of his work. Among the best known of these was Robin Wood, who published HITCHCOCK'S FILMS in 1965. It would be among the first critical texts to give Hitchcock the status of master artist.

Republished as HITCHCOCK'S FILMS REVISITED, most of the body of the book remains the same as the originally titled HITCHCOCK'S FILMS, a critical study of eight of Hitchcock's then most recent films: STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, REAR WINDOW, VERTIGO, NORTH BY NORTHWEST, PSYCHO, THE BIRDS, MARNIE, and TORN CURTAIN. But then as now, the study is very problematic, and this has a great deal less to do with the films than with the fact that Wood is much like the Mother Goose nursery rhyme. When he is good he is very, very good, but when he is bad he is horrid.

Wood was among the first to rescue VERTIGO from the dismissive reviews and tepid audience response it received upon its debut, and his comments here are tremendously insightful; he is no less effective in his studies of REAR WINDOW and PSYCHO. His thoughts on STRANGERS ON A TRAIN are excessively pendantic and have a forced quality, but they are none the less interesting. He does not manage to convince me that I should regard NORTH BY NORTHWEST as a masterpiece, but even so he makes a good case.

In his opening remarks, Wood states that he is not among those fans for whom Hitchcock can do no wrong, and attempts to prove his point by citing several famous Hitchcock films that he considers weak.
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