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Cineaste (2004) - Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light





Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light by Patrick McGilligan. New York, NY: Regan Books, 2003. 850 pp., illus. Hardcover: S39.95 and Paperback: $17.95.

French novelist and filmmaker Alain Robbe-Grillet likes to recount how a psychiatrist once told him that, if it wasn't for his creative activities, he would no doubt be out strangling little girls. In a similar vein, Donald Spoto's The Dark Side of Genius: The Life of Alfred Hitchcock (1983) etched a portrait of a sadistic, sexually obsessed artist who was not always able to completely contain the dark side of his nature within the confines of his films. Spoto's vision disconcerted many who knew the 'Master of Suspense,' and, throughout his substantial new biography of the British-born director, Patrick McGilligan often goes out of his way to rehabilitate Hitchcock's image. McGilligan does not totally ignore the inappropriate dirty jokes, the actresses unexpectedly French kissed, the attempts at seduction (this from a man who frequently admitted his sexual impotence), or even apparent moments of staged voyeurism, late in his life, with a woman referred to only as an attractive young secretary. Yet, while McGiIligan presents the reader with case after case where Hitchcock alienated professionals he worked with, particularly screenwriters, the author, who spent ten years on research, devotes so much of Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light to the details of the man behind the camera that...

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