- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Random House (11 May 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0701169931
- ISBN-13: 978-0701169930
- Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 2.5 x 20.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,49,774 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Alfred Hitchcock Hardcover – 11 May 2015
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"Shelves of serious biographies have been written on Alfred Hitchcock, but perhaps none as pleasurable as Peter Ackroyd’s" (Kate Muir The Times)
Peter Ackroyd turns his gimlet eye to one of the twentieth century's most revered directors.See all Product description
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I'm old enough that I studied world cinema at the University of Michigan in the mid 1970s and, of course, Hitchcock as seen through the filter of Francois Truffaut was all the rage. I've got nearly a dozen Hitchcock books on my library shelf and a good number of them were heavily influenced by the Truffaut treatment. If you're a Hitchcock fan, you know what I mean. This is especially evident in Hitchcock's own effort to dismiss his silent-era films when he talked with Truffaut. Back in the 1970s, there was precious little evidence of Hitchcock's work in the silent era. In fact, back then, serious film students were just rediscovering the value of the silents, so "skipping" this era in Hitchcock's life made sense.
The first thing that struck me as fresh and fun in Ackroyd's book is his re-evaluation of the silent era. I've now gone back and watched 9 of Hitchcock's silent films with Ackryod as my guide. So much fun! And that's a taste of what you'll find in this book -- a freshness and a different perspective on a number of films and chapters of Hitchcock's life.
This is, indeed, a concise biography. Knowing a lot about Hitchcock's life, I could fault Ackroyd for skimming over some parts of his story. But, then, if you're drawn to buy this book, you probably know something about the master director's life already. I'm giving this 5 stars and saying you're likely to enjoy this new volume.
Hitch shared a cockney view of life as stage performance shared with his fellow Londoner Charles Dickens. Hitch loved and was influenced by the macabre version of works by Edgar Allen Poe. He had one daughter with his brilliant wife Alma. Hitchcock was a fat man who hated his body; was scrabrous in his humor; fearful and enamored of women and often went to the dungeon of his complex Roman Catholic Soul to explore issues dealing with guilt, and shame and a man on the run.
Peter Ackroyd is the prolific English author of fiction and non-fiction bestsellers. This his latest book is a great way to introduce new fans of Hitch and veteran filmgoers who want to learn more about Hitchcock. A fine and fun book to read!
Author Peter Ackroyd also spent time in explaining what it was like to work with actors and actresses such as Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, Eva Marie Saint, and Doris Day Each had their quirks that they wanted satisfied before deciding to accept a role in one of Hitchcock's films. Mr. Hitchcock's final movies such as "Topaz", "Marnie", and "Torn Curtain" which were not up to the quality of his earlier efforts. His wife Alma needed care and he found himself a lonely man involved in his home as a cook taking care of his wife. Alcohol and his weight contributed to his decline in health and he passed away in 1980 with Alma following him in 1982.
I found the book to be long enough (260 pages of text) as the sub-title "A Brief Life" suggests. I would think someone who is more familiar with Hitchcock's earlier movies would enjoy the book more. Photos are spaced throughout the book.