Synopses & Reviews
In a career that spanned six decades and more than sixty films, Alfred Hitchcock was the dominant figure in the first century of cinema. His films -- from The 39 Steps
to The Birds
, from Rear Window
, from Notorious
-- set new standards for cinematic invention and storytelling élan. He was both visionary artist and consummate entertainer ... and became the most widely recognized director who ever lived.
In the decades since his death, the public image of Hitchcock has crystallized into a series of iconic images: the macabre Englishman, the sexual obsessive, the Master of Suspense. But this remarkable new biography -- the first in a quarter-century -- draws on prodigious new research to restore Hitchcock the man, in all his three-dimensional glory. Here is the comprehensive film craftsman, forever pushing forward the boundaries of his art. Here is the passionate collaborator, who cheekily referred to actors as "cattle" but invigorated the careers of Cary Grant, James Stewart, Ingrid Bergman, and Grace Kelly. Here is the insatiable provocateur, testing the limits of his audience with his cocktails of sex and violence. And here, too, is the private man: dedicated romantic, constant trickster, impotent voyeur, devoted husband, a man who sacrificed his life, again and again, for his work.
Like the best Hitchcock films, Patrick McGilligan's life of Hitchcock is a drama full of fresh revelation, graced by a central love story, dark humor, and cliff-hanging suspense: a definitive portrait of the most creative, and least understood, figure in film history.
"[An] enthralling, scholarly and candid appraisal of the artist....Film buffs will relish how power and creativity play out in Hollywood. The rest will learn how obsession can produce art." Publishers Weekly
"The Master of Suspense finally gets an authoritative life....[McGilligan's] research is staggering, though often vaguely or incompletely documented....[H]e provides fascinating new insights..." Kirkus Reviews
"Those looking for more analysis of themes and motifs...should seek out Francois Truffaut's interviews....McGilligan's is a more balanced portrait than Donald Spoto's The Dark Side of Genius..." Library Journal
"McGilligan makes Hitchcock noble, genial and pathetic. In this book, Hitchcock is, shall we say, a more rounded figure....His work on Hitchcock's British silents and early talkies...is groundbreaking..." A. S. Hamrah, Newsday
"Patrick McGilligan is the first American to write intelligently and with an almost insider's knowledge on Hitchcock's entire life and career. There are surprises here, at least one involving Hitchcock's wife, Alma; but perhaps more important, McGilligan seems able to infiltrate Hitchcock's mind and understand exactly what it was like to be a pudgy Englishman rising to the top of British cinema, an Englishman in a foreign land, and a filmmaker who must also be a star. Did we need another book on Hitchcock? Yes, we needed a definitive biography and this is it!" Anthony Slide, author of Silent Players and The New Historical Dictionary of the American Film Industry
"Talk about compulsive reading! McGilligan could hardly have written anything that interested me more. I thought I'd read all there was to read on Hitchcock, but the retelling is skillful and the new parts and revelations simply amazing. I relished the whole thing." Kevin Brownlow, author of The Parade's Gone By and David Lean: A Life
"At last, a biography of the real Hitchcock: charming, devious, paradoxical. The Master of Suspense has been brought to life by the Master of Biography, and it is a revelation." John Baxter, author of Stanley Kubrick and Fellini
This remarkable new biography the first in a quarter-century restores Hitchcock the man in all his three-dimensional glory. Here is the comprehensive film craftsman and the private man: dedicated romantic, constant trickster, impotent voyeur, devoted husband, a man who sacrificed his life, again and again, for his work.
Filmography: p. -785.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light
is the definitive biography of the Master of Suspense and the most widely recognized film director of all time.
In a career that spanned six decades and produced more than 60 films - including The 39 Steps, Vertigo, Psycho, and The Birds - Alfred Hitchcock set new standards for cinematic invention and storytelling. Acclaimed biographer Patrick McGilligan re-examines his life and extraordinary work, challenging perceptions of Hitchcock as the “macabre Englishman” and sexual obsessive, and reveals instead the ingenious craftsman, trickster, provocateur, and romantic.
With insights into his relationships with Hollywood legends - such as Cary Grant, James Stewart, Ingrid Bergman, and Grace Kelly - as well as his 54-year marriage to Alma Reville and his inspirations in the thriller genre, the book is full of the same dark humor, cliffhanger suspense, and revelations that are synonymous with one of the most famous and misunderstood figures in cinema.
About the Author
Patrick McGilligans biographies include the acclaimed Oscar Micheaux: The Great and Only; the Edgar-nominated Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light; Fritz Lang: The Nature of the Beast; and George Cukor: A Double Life. The author of several New York Times Notable Books, he has also penned biographies of Clint Eastwood, Jack Nicholson, Robert Altman, and James Cagney, along with the oral history Tender Comrades: A Backstory of the Hollywood Blacklist (with Paul Buhle). McGilligan lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.