Cineaste (2013) - To catch a filmmaker: The Girl, Hitchcock, and Hitchcock
- magazine article: To catch a filmmaker: The Girl, Hitchcock, and Hitchcock
- author(s): Thomas Doherty
- journal: Cineaste (2013)
- issue: volume 38, issue 2, page 4
- journal ISSN: 0009-7004
- publisher: Cineaste
- keywords: Alfred Hitchcock Presents (TV), Alfred Hitchcock, Alma Reville, Anthony Hopkins, Anthony Perkins, Bernard Herrmann, Bodega Bay, California, Camille Paglia, Danny Huston, Donald Spoto, Farley Granger, Foreign Correspondent (1940), François Truffaut, Grace Kelly, Helen Mirren, James D'Arcy, Janet Leigh, Jessica Biel, Joan Fontaine, Joseph Stefano, Lew Wasserman, Marion Crane, Marnie (1964), Motion picture directors & producers, Motion pictures, Movie reviews, North by Northwest (1959), Paramount Pictures, Patricia Hitchcock, Peggy Robertson, Peter Bogdanovich, Production Code Administration, Psycho (1960), Robert Bloch, Robert Montgomery, Robert Walker, Robin Wood, Sacha Gervasi, Scarlett Johansson, Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Spellbound by Beauty: Alfred Hitchcock and His Leading Ladies (2008) by Donald Spoto, Stephen Rebello, Strangers on a Train (1951), Suspicion (1941), Television programs, The Birds (1963), The Dark Side of Genius: The Life of Alfred Hitchcock (1983) by Donald Spoto, The Making of Psycho (1997), Tippi Hedren, Vera Miles, Vertigo (1958)
In the classical Hollywood epoch, when job-of-work directors toiled in obscurity, denied the glory of marquee credit, Alfred Hitchcock's name was not just above the title but synonymous with a brand. As early as the Thirties, American film reviewers, alert to the distinctive style of his British imports, had coined the term "Hitchcockian." By the early Fifties, the brush-stroke signature of his one cameo appearance per film was widely enough known for the phrase "pulling a Hitchcock" to enter the pages of TV Guide when actor-producer Robert Montgomery played a bit part on his anthology series Robert Montgomery Presents (1950-1957). The director's brand-name recognition soared into the stratosphere with Alfred Hitchcock Presents, the CBS television show that ran from 1955 to 1962. Entering the small-screen space sideways in black silhouette and backed by theme music that conjured up "a syncopated elephant prancing along a narrow side-street in London" (as the critic and future director Peter Bogdanovich wrote), the genial master of ceremonies framed each episode of mystery, mayhem, and murder with a mordant introduction and pithy kiss-off. He lent his portly outline and bald noggin to one-sheet posters, he shilled his latest attraction in direct-address trailers, and he bantered with Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show and the gushing host of The Dick Cavett Show (Cavett leafed through a copy of François Truffaut's black-jacketed Hitchcock to show he had boned up on his auteurism). Of course, the morbid shtick was all in good fun. Like the milquetoast Walter Mitties in Shadow of a Doubt (1943) or the daffy old biddies in Strangers on a Train (1951), he might vicariously entertain the notion of committing the perfect murder, but in reality the great director was so harmless-why, he wouldn't even hurt a fly.
Hitchcock's image as a droll raconteur and outrageous ham was given a post - humous knife in the torso by the biographer- critic Donald Spoto, whose [[T...