Writing with Hitchcock: The Collaboration of Alfred Hitchcock and John Michael Hayes (2001) by Steven DeRosa
In spring 1953, the great director Alfred Hitchcock made the pivotal decision to take a chance and work with a young writer, John Michael Hayes. The four films Hitchcock made with Hayes over the next several years Rear Window, To Catch a Thief, The Trouble with Harry, and The Man Who Knew Too Much represented an extraordinary change of style. Each was distinguished by a combination of glamorous stars, sophisticated dialogue, and inventive plots, and resulted in some of Hitchcock s most distinctive and intimate work, based in large part on Hayes's exceptional scripts.
Screenwriter and film historian Steven DeRosa follows Hitchcock and Hayes through each film from initial discussions to completed picture and also reveals the personal story filled with inspiration and humor, jealousy and frustration of the initial synergy between the two men before their relationship fell apart. Writing with Hitchcock not only provides new insight into four films from a master but also sheds light on the mysterious process through which classic motion pictures are created.
This updated edition includes previously unpublished archival material such as Alfred Hitchcock's dubbing notes for Rear Window, deleted script sequences, Hitchcock's own notes on John Michael Hayes's screenplay for The Man Who Knew Too Much, and forty-four illustrations.
- Hitchcock Annual (2001) - Book Reviews: "Writing with Hitchcock: The Collaboration of Alfred Hitchcock and John Michael Hayes"
- Cineaste (2003) - Can Hitchcock Be Saved from Hitchcock Studies?
The four films that John Michael Hayes wrote for Hitchcock, were made during the richest and most complex period in the director's career. As Steven DeRosa writes, Hitchcock was most comfortable working with younger, untried writers to whom he could be a mentor; the films he made with Hayes are ample testimony to the success of that strategy. DeRosa describes the relationship in meticulous detail, providing fascinating evidence of the extreme care with which Hitchcock chose and worked with his writers.
— The New York Times Book Review
Steven DeRosa's book eloquently reminds us, someone actually had to sit down and write the scripts. Writing With Hitchcock offers not only entertaining biographical sketches of both men, chockful of anecdotes, but a thorough illumination of the Hitchcock/Hayes collaboration: how it worked, who contributed what, and how it ended.
DeRosa has soundly researched his subject and gives us not only an in-depth portrait of this working relationship but a comprehensive look at the industry in the late 1950s. The author engagingly describes the cultural politics of the time and brings convincing drama to Hayes and Hitchcock's breakup. An important study for film and Hitchcock scholars.
— Publishers Weekly
Alfred Hitchcock: The name conjures up incredible suspense, mordant laughs, the surprise ending. But Hitch's unique vision was not his alone. In this detailed analysis of the filmmaker's collaboration with screenwriter Hayes, DeRosa reveals how Hitchcock's basic artistic instincts were often radically reshaped and transformed by Hayes's nimble writing. The Hitchcock-Hayes collaborations -- Rear Window, To Catch a Thief, The Trouble with Harry and The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) -- form a transitional period in the director's career, with the writer contributing a kinder vision of the human condition, highly sophisticated dialogue and a sense of humor to Hitchcock's works. DeRosa, a former film archivist, has soundly researched his subject and carefully compares the original versions of each film with its ensuing treatments, scripts and multiple revisions. Relying heavily on interviews with Hayes as well as on studio memos and production notes, DeRosa gives us not only an in-depth portrait of this working relationship but a comprehensive look at the industry in the late 1950s, when it was struggling to reassert itself after the emergence of television. The author also engagingly describes the cultural politics of the time (Joseph Breen and the Production Code were vigilant in attacking Hayes's edgy, urbane representations of sexuality). DeRosa also brings convincing drama to Hayes and Hitchcock's breakup and charts Hayes's later career writing such films as Peyton Place and The Children's Hour. While overly specific for the general reader, this is an important study for film and Hitchcock scholars.
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