I wouldn’t say I am a Hitchcock fan and I definitely didn’t know much about the man behind camera going into this one. While Ackroyd touches on Hitch’s childhood and his marriage to Alma the author chooses to tell his subject’s life story through whatever movie he was making at any given point in his life. Unless you’ve been living under a rock you have probably come across the name Alfred Hitchcok but you may not realized the scope of his career.
I primarily think of Hitchcock as a decidedly 50s and 60s Hollywood staple even though, besides the shower scene, I’ve never seen Psycho. In fact, the only Hitchcock movies I’ve seen are North by Northwest and Rear Window- and maybe Vertigo? I should ask my dad… I could never see The Birds because I have a healthy dose of ornithophobia without any help. Did you know crows remember your face???
Anyway, Hitchcock was around for a long time before he became the legend we know today. He joined in the industry as a young adult when they were still making silent films! He payed his dues in England, where he was born, for several decades before coming to the United States and cementing his film legacy with comedic thrillers.
This is a pretty cut and dry biography but it doesn’t gloss over Hitchcock’s unsavory habits, particularly his treatment of women on his set. Ironically though, Hitch proclaimed to be celibate after the birth of his daughter and came across a bit asexual until he got a little bit of fame- then he tried to go full Weinstein. Overall the story gets a bit stale. Ackroyd follows a formula of “Hitch looks for an idea” then “formulates a story/ script” followed by “hiring an actress to become creepily obsessed with” then “film and repeat.”