Alfred Hitchcock – Peter Ackroyd

And yet more feet of clay appear on icons. Perversion, perverseness, promiscuity… oh well. I suppose it was naive to think, for example, Grace Kelly didn’t have that many affairs. So, when I have no more illusions left, does that mean I’m finally all grown up, or … I’m dead?

Anyway. The image of Hitchcock that I have always had was of a confident cuddly genial funny teddy bear of a man, brilliant at what he did. In this short biography, Peter Ackroyd dismantles all of that and more.

It was extremely readable; it retained my interest as it traveled briskly from Alfred Hitchcock’s birth and childhood and education to his early career, odd courtship and marriage, and growth as a director. And then film by film it outlines the rest of his life. I saw a review which complained about the book being merely a filmography – but given Hitchcock’s obsessive drive to always be working, it would be difficult to frame the book in any other way. His life was a filmography.

I’ve loved so many of the Hitchcock films – Lifeboat? Come on – that it was a little (wait for it) disillusioning to read about how they came about. It was well-written, if somewhat superficial; it was fascinating – but, overall, a sad story, which I am going to do my best to forget it by the next time I see a Hitchcock film. Moving on.

The usual disclaimer: I received this book via Netgalley for review.

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