Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Friday, September 20, 2013


A YEAR OF HITCHCOCK: 52 Weeks with the Master of Suspense. Jim McDevitt and Eric San Juan. Rowman and Littlefield; 2009.

This volume looks at the films of Alfred Hitchcock with a fresh and often discerning eye, from his very first films up to classics like Vertigo and Psycho, and his later films such as Marnie and Frenzy. The authors make it clear that Hitchcock was often competing with himself, that you expect so much from the "Master," that you're disappointed if you see little imperfections, even though even Hitchcock's lesser films are often much better than those of lesser directors. Some of the authors' assertions are a little surprising, such as "Strangers on a Train is not one of Hitchcock's most well-known movies," but the book seems to be geared less for the serious Hitchcock fan than for newcomers to his work. Long-time fans of the Master may not find too much that is new, but the authors' analyses [while you won't always agree] are good, and they often make interesting points about a particular movie. One unfortunate aspect to the book, and which may make it seem like "Hitchcock Lite" to the casual observer, is the use of trendy sidebars as if this were "Hitchcock for Dummies." Still, the book is a good read whether you're new to Hitchcock or already very familiar with his work.

Verdict: Solid look at the films of Alfred Hitchcock. ***.

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