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Hitchcock's Music Hardcover – December 1, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; First Edition edition (December 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300110502
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300110500
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 6.4 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,124,946 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A wonderfully coherent, comprehensive, groundbreaking, and thoroughly engaging study of perhaps the most underexamined important element of Hitchcock''s artistry."—Sidney Gottlieb, editor of Hitchcock on Hitchcock: Selected Writings and Interviews


(Sidney Gottlieb)

"Hitchcock''s sophistication about and control of film music is an important aspect of his greatness, and one that separates him from other pantheon directors. This deeply researched and keenly written book fills a void and should be indispensable to passionate Hitchcock scholars—and fans."—Patrick McGilligan, author of  "Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light"
(Patrick McGilligan)

"Hitchcock was a master of film music as well as cinema suspense, and Sullivan''s spirited study lives up to its fascinating topic on every page. A milestone in Hitchcock criticism."—David Sterritt, author of "The Films of Alfred Hitchcock" 
(David Sterritt)

"Jack Sullivan shows in arresting detail how Hitchcock and his gifted composers used music ingeniously not only to build suspense and punctuate the action but to amplify the whole emotional atmosphere of his films."—Morris Dickstein, CUNY Graduate Center
 
 
 
 
 
(Morris Dickstein)

"A richly evocative study that combines important new scholarship with sparkling sensibility. Sullivan vividly documents Hitchcock''s restless eclecticism and bold interweaving of musical styles—popular, classical, avant-garde, and electronic."—Camille Paglia, author of Sexual Personae and The Birds (BFI Film Classics)
(Camille Paglia)

"We might think Hitchcock needed music less than other filmmakers, but Jack Sullivan, in this lovingly researched and articulated book, shows he needed it more. Music said everything Hitchcock couldn''t say, even in pictures, and Mr. Sullivan expertly proves that the master''s every soundtrack tells an intricate and often romantic story."—Michael Wood, Princeton University



 

(Michael Wood)

About the Author

Jack Sullivan is director of American Studies and professor of English at Rider University.  He is the author of New World Symphonies: How American Culture Changed European Music, published by Yale University Press. He lives in New York City.


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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By R. Hardy HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on January 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Probably the most memorable musical sound in cinema is the slashing strings of the shower scene in _Psycho_, a supreme example of how music can heighten image. It isn't too surprising that the example should come from a Hitchcock film; over the past two decades, critics and academics have paid increasing attention to how Hitchcock used music because he was so good at doing so. In _Hitchcock's Music_ (Yale University Press), Jack Sullivan, a professor of English and of American studies, has given a guide to the music (or frequently, silence) in all of Hitchcock's sound films, with stories about Hitchcock's work with composers and how soundtracks became formed as particular pictures progressed. Sullivan knows the films better than almost all of his readers will, and while much of Hitchcock's music is memorable, Sullivan writes of it in such detail that even Hitchcock fans will find themselves wishing that they had instant recall of each particular phrase or tune. I myself went back to listen to the early talkie _The 39 Steps_ after reading Sullivan's chapter about it, because although I have seen the movie many times, I could not remember the music or how important it was to the plot of the film. This then is a wonderful reference book, and it will drive Hitchcock fans back into their DVDs to attend to the master with new ears.

Sullivan begins, of course, with Hitchcock's first picture after his silent days, _Blackmail_. Hitchcock used the music in this initial film the same way he would use it throughout his career, like using a harp for a demonic sequence (when harps are usually angelic) and using cheerful music as an irony to what is being shown on the screen. Using a musical tune as an important part of the plot is one of Hitchcock's many tricks.
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Format: Hardcover
If you're a Hitchcock fan, you already know how well Hitchcock used music in his films. Hitchcock was the ultimately leader/collaborator--he knew what he wanted for his films and had a strong instinct which collaborators would do the best job of bringing their talent to his films. His work with Herrmann is celebrated but he worked well with other film composers as well. When Hitchcock's instincts betrayed him (as the author of this book points out) it's usually because his commercial instincts took the lead over his artistic ones; "Torn Curtain" a flawed Hitchcock film with a number of marvelous set pieces would have been much improved with the original music that Bernard Herrmann composed. Hitchcock fired Herrmann when he didn't deliver a commercial score with a hit song or melody that could pull in a lucrative profit. Sullivan also accurately points out that while Hitchcock was great at collaboration he ultimately was THE boss and would get rid of things he felt didn't fit in with his decisions (right or wrong) for a film.

Hitchcock at his best (as Sullivan accurately points out) knew the impact of music to enhance a film not distract from it. Once Hitchcock had control of his films, he pushed the various composers he worked with (from Steiner, Rozsa to Herrmann)to follow their muse just making sure that it fit in with his ultimate vision for the film. He may have been a micromanager but he gave the composers that worked on his films tremendous freedom on some projects. For example Herrmann envisioned the "score" for "The Birds" to primarily be the sounds (electronically created) of the creatures themselves. Herrmann's instincts were in perfect synch with Hitchcock's and the result was a great film "score" that perfectly complimented the film.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bob Shaw on May 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Author Jack Sullivan is a modern-day prophet. His writings about horror, music, & films are all top-notch. This book on Hitchcock is just amazing! After reading Sullivan's chapter on each film, I'm watching (or re-watching) those films that I can find, and seeing them with new insight. This is one of the best books on film & music that I have ever read. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a big fan of Hitchcock & of movie music in general. This books was absolutely perfect and I enjoyed it tremendously. Even bought a copy for a friend. Highly recommended!
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