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Literature Film Quarterly (2003) - Catching an Oversized Talent: All About Hitch





Thomas Leitch's superb reference work, The Encyclopedia of Alfred Hitchcock, inaugurates Facts on Files' new series, A Library of Great Filmmakers, a project supervised by James M. Welsh, longtime editor of Literature/Film Quarterly, and his colleague John C. Tibbetts. If Leitch's book is typical of others to come in the series, including recently released volumes on Stanley Kubrick and Orson Welles, then all libraries should enter a standing subscription at once.

Planned as a comprehensive resource for students, writers and scholars, the Encyclopedia exceeds expectations for books in this genre. Leitch's alphabetical entries cover four main areas: (1) individual films by Hitchcock; (2) collaborators; (3) commentators; (4) themes, motifs, and topics of general interest. The accomplishment of this ambitious agenda is aided by the wise decision not to summarize journal articles or the plots of films, both of which are already available in Jane Sloan's Alfred Hitchcock. (To his credit, Leiten does summarize the less familiar plots of the twenty segments Hitchcock worked on for his two television series and for Ford Startime, which are not included in Sloan's book.)

For each film, Leitch provides the most detailed and reliable credit lists to date-the result of what must have been mind-numbing comparisons among the films themselves, their credit screens, Sloan's book, Charles Barr's English Hitchcock, and the Internet Movie Database. Leitch's lists a...

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