Monday, 2 July 2012

39 Steps To The Genius Of Hitchcock

39 Steps To The Genius Of Hitchcock
39 Steps To The Genius Of Hitchcock, edited by James Bell, is a collection of thirty-nine thematic essays on Alfred Hitchcock to accompany the BFI's Genius Of Hitchcock film season. Arguably the most authoritative Hitchcock anthology, it includes contributions from Camille Paglia (a chronological analysis of the female roles in Hitchcock's Hollywood films), Sidney Gottlieb (a study of Hitchcock's PR strategies, illustrated with rare publicity materials), Bill Krohn (a brief essay on guilt), and David Thomson (an extensive account of Hitchcock's position within the studio system [a subject also discussed by Thomas Schatz in The Genius Of The System]).

Paglia is most famous for her collections of post-feminist essays (Sexual Personae; Sex, Art, & American Culture; Vamps & Tramps), though she also wrote a BFI Film Classics study of The Birds. Gottlieb edited Hitchock On Hitchcock. Krohn wrote a Masters Of Cinema study of Hitchcock, and the superb Hitchcock At Work. Thomson's Biographical Dictionary Of Film has been highly praised (though not by me); he has also written Have You Seen...? and The Moment Of Psycho.

Hitchcock has been analysed and written about more than perhaps any other director. Paul Duncan's Hitchcock: Architect Of Anxiety is an illustrated summary of Hitchcock's career. François Truffaut's book-length interview Hitchcock, and Donald Spoto's filmography The Art Of Alfred Hitchcock, are both indispensable. There are shorter interviews in Who The Devil Made It (Peter Bogdanovich) and The Men Who Made The Movies (Richard Schickel). The standard Hitchcock biography is Spoto's The Dark Side Of Genius, and John Russell Taylor wrote Hitch, an authorised biography. Laurent Bouzereau's Hitchcock: Piece By Piece and Dan Auiler's Hitchcock's Notebooks both delve into the Hitchcock archives.

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