The First True Hitchcock: The Making of a Filmmaker

Univ. of California. Jan. 2022. 250p. ISBN 9780520343566. pap. $26.95. FILM
Alfred Hitchcock will always remain a fascinating figure for critics and biographers; this new work takes a more specific approach to the origins of the master of suspense. With this first book, Miller (history of film, Univ. of Reading), who has written several articles and essays on Hitchcock over the last few years, focuses on 1927’s The Lodger—the silent film that laid the thematic groundwork for much of Hitchcock’s career—and the cultural and political landscape of the 1920s. Hitchcock famously discussed the creation of this film with director François Truffaut in the 1967 book Hitchcock/Truffaut, and the tales he shared there formed the accepted story of the creation of this key work in his filmography. Yet Miller’s extensive research into figures such as editor Ivor Montagu, as well as the challenges faced by Hitchcock in the years preceding and following the creation of what would become his third feature film, proves far more interesting than the oft-told anecdotes. Miller clearly knows his subject, and while the presentation is a bit academic, it’s still a compelling book.
VERDICT A highly detailed and exceptionally well researched look at Hitchcock’s cinematic beginnings, best left to scholars and Hitchcock completists.
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