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Applause Books" It's Only a Movie is the best book ever written about my father. It really is amazing." Patricia Hitchcock North by Northwest. Psycho. Rear Window. The Birds. Vertigo. When it comes to murder and mayhem, shock and suspense, the films of Alfred Hitchcock can not be surpassed. For this book, Charlotte Chandler interviewed Hitchcock, his wife, daughter, film c Applause Books" It's Only a Movie is the best book ever written about my father. It really is amazing." Patricia Hitchcock North by Northwest. Psycho. Rear Window. The Birds. Vertigo. When it comes to murder and mayhem, shock and suspense, the films of Alfred Hitchcock can not be surpassed. For this book, Charlotte Chandler interviewed Hitchcock, his wife, daughter, film crew members, and many of the stars who appeared in his films, including Kim Novak, Janet Leigh, Cary Grant, Tippi Hedren and James Stewart.Throughout the book, Chandler shares Hitchcock's wit and wisdom. When actors took themselves too seriously, he would remind them, "it's only a movie." Chandler introduces us to the real Hitchcock, a devoted family man and notorious practical joker, who made suspenseful thrillers mixed with subtle humor and tacit eroticism.


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Applause Books" It's Only a Movie is the best book ever written about my father. It really is amazing." Patricia Hitchcock North by Northwest. Psycho. Rear Window. The Birds. Vertigo. When it comes to murder and mayhem, shock and suspense, the films of Alfred Hitchcock can not be surpassed. For this book, Charlotte Chandler interviewed Hitchcock, his wife, daughter, film c Applause Books" It's Only a Movie is the best book ever written about my father. It really is amazing." Patricia Hitchcock North by Northwest. Psycho. Rear Window. The Birds. Vertigo. When it comes to murder and mayhem, shock and suspense, the films of Alfred Hitchcock can not be surpassed. For this book, Charlotte Chandler interviewed Hitchcock, his wife, daughter, film crew members, and many of the stars who appeared in his films, including Kim Novak, Janet Leigh, Cary Grant, Tippi Hedren and James Stewart.Throughout the book, Chandler shares Hitchcock's wit and wisdom. When actors took themselves too seriously, he would remind them, "it's only a movie." Chandler introduces us to the real Hitchcock, a devoted family man and notorious practical joker, who made suspenseful thrillers mixed with subtle humor and tacit eroticism.

30 review for It's Only a Movie: A Personal Biography of Alfred Hitchcock

  1. 4 out of 5

    Baba

    Yet another fascinating and captivating biography from Charlotte Chandler. Not only do we get a blow by blow analysis of all his major pieces of work, we also get the detailed rationale for many of his specific directions, shots and storyboards. In addition there are words and thoughts from James Stewart, Sir John Gielgud, Ingrid Bergman, Janet Leigh, Tony Perkins, Tippi Hedren, Kim Novak, Sean Connery, Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, and many many more; a loving and respectful amount of appreciation i Yet another fascinating and captivating biography from Charlotte Chandler. Not only do we get a blow by blow analysis of all his major pieces of work, we also get the detailed rationale for many of his specific directions, shots and storyboards. In addition there are words and thoughts from James Stewart, Sir John Gielgud, Ingrid Bergman, Janet Leigh, Tony Perkins, Tippi Hedren, Kim Novak, Sean Connery, Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, and many many more; a loving and respectful amount of appreciation is also given to Hitch's wife Alma, his one and only true love of his life. 6 out of 12.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mala

    Review of 'It's Only A Movie: Alfred Hitchcock a personal biography' By Charlotte Chandler Recommended for: Hitchcock fans,film buffs in general. Hitchcock was nominated five times as best director, but never won an Oscar. He tried to make light of it:"(it's because) I don't look like an artist. I don't look like i've starved in a garret. But the real reason is that the suspence genre is not highly esteemed." However, to his fans worldwide ,he remains the undisputed king of suspense genre & his movi Review of 'It's Only A Movie: Alfred Hitchcock a personal biography' By Charlotte Chandler Recommended for: Hitchcock fans,film buffs in general. Hitchcock was nominated five times as best director, but never won an Oscar. He tried to make light of it:"(it's because) I don't look like an artist. I don't look like i've starved in a garret. But the real reason is that the suspence genre is not highly esteemed." However, to his fans worldwide ,he remains the undisputed king of suspense genre & his movies continue to delight young & old alike. Charlotte Chandler presents this extraordinary life through direct quotes & interviews with innumerable Hitchcock collaborators so we get multiple points-of -view. The hitch is,his personal life tends to get bogged down by the professional one: instead of Hitchcock's catch phrase"It's only a movie!", it looks like it's all abt movies! I recently read Marlon Brando's 'Songs My Mother Taught Me' where the subject's personal life is beautifully meshed with the professional side & that's an achievement considering Brando doggedly refused to discuss his controversial marriages & his children. In Hitchcock's case there isn't really much of a personal life:"To interview me,you would have to interview my films." His worldview remained specially that of a child:"Hitch liked people intuitively,the way a child does. When he liked you,he Really liked you." This is how Hilton Green,his friend of thirty-eight-yrs,describes him: "I believe he never let his guard down. Only with Alma(his wife). But it wasn't understood even by Hitch's closest friends how extremely sensitive he was or how personally he took everything. And for him everything was personal." To be fair,we do get the requisite family background,details of early yrs. We learn abt Hitch's love of reading,interest in travel,desire for order & control,his love for drawing & visiting art museums. Still,his was an intensly personal world:"I wasn't a popular type,so I was forced to live in my imagination,& I believe that helped me to develop my creative resources.I don't need much stimulation from the outside world... It was an advantage that the homely,less popular child has. I was forced to develop my interior self, not to be dependent on the others... My private person,the real me,is a very shy person,not at all the public impression. The man is not different from the boy... When you start out that way as a child,it's rare that you lose it." The chapter 'Early Years' is more of an academic interest as it charts Hitch's entry into the world of cinema as a writer & designer of titles for silent films,the coming of Talkies & Hitch's meeting with Alma,his creative partner & future wife. The thing that stands out in this segment is his passionate involvement in various aspects of cinema:as assistant director,screenplay writer & art designer,often unpaid & uncredited for all this extra work! Hitch's devotion to his wife & his solid reputation as a family man further rules out any gossip or scandal, so no spicy stuff on the personal front! Still his attachment to the screen personas of his famous"Hitchcockian Blondes" esp. Ingrid Bergman & Grace Kelly is amusing. There is hint of a Vertigo-type obsession in his desire to turn all his subsequent leading ladies into another Grace Kelly,with the case of Tippi Hedren,heroine of 'The Birds' & 'Marnie',taking a particularly sour & unpleasant turn. But cut the guy some slack,which director doesn't fall for his muse? The two main threads that run throughout the book are: Hitchcock's reported aloofness as a director & his propensity for practical jokes. Actors & technicians are divided on both these issues: while actors like Lawrence Olivier,John Gielgud,Paul Newman & Julie Andrews were taken aback by his hands off approach,others like Cary Grant,Anthony perkins & Sean Connery were cool abt it.  This is what James Mason had to say: "Hitchcock's efforts & genius went into preplanning & rapport with his technicians. We actors were typecast & chosen because of our track records that had shown him we could carry off the part he wanted delineated. He preferred that we not be overly creative,which meant anything that interfered with his camera & what he had in mind for it." Hitchcock's view: "You don't have time to massage actors' egos. If you do,it has been my experience that the appetite grows with the eating." People were appalled by Hitch's "Actors are cattle" remark!  I wonder what such actors would do if they had to deal with the likes of Herzog,Lars von Trier & Haneke! Compared to them,Hitch was a cuddly teddy bear! We learn that movies & food are Hitch's passionate interests(as if we needed to be told that!). And then comes this gem:"I believe that there is a perfect relationship between love of food & a healthy libido...i think that repressed sex is more constructive for the creative person. It must get out,& so it goes into the work. I think it helped create a sense of sex in my work." We also learn abt Hitch's unique ability to visualise an entire film completely in his mind & his expertise with camera angles. The maestro holds forth on his various theories of cinema & movie making:such pearls of wisdom! The biography really moves into top gear once the analysis of his movies starts: from his first film as a director: "The Pleasure Garden" to his last"The Family Plot", each film is examined & presented,with a synopsis,anecdotes from actors & technicians & interesting trivia. This is the kind of material that you won't get on IMDB & for that alone,this book is worth reading. My favourite chapters here are Rebecca,Suspicion,Lifeboat,Spellbound,Rope(Hitch's first movie under his own production as well as his first colour film), Rear Window & of course Psycho(which gets two chapters). We all have our favourite Hitchcock movies: mine are: Vertigo Rear Window North by Northwest Spellbound Psycho Notorious Suspicion Frenzy Lifeboat The Birds Rope Can you guess which one is Hitchcock's fav? It's(view spoiler)[ 'Shadow of a Doubt'. (hide spoiler)] Hitchcock,the quintessential Britsh gentleman always dressed in suits. This is how actor Norman Llyod describes him:"He left an indelible mark on me of what it means to be a director & how to conduct oneself on the set... He projected a very special world. He had about him an international aura of the Orient Express,St. Moritz,the best foods,cigars & vintage wines--all of the fantasies one saw on screen." And how can i finish this without mentioning one of the most integral & anticipated part of a Hitchcock movie experience: the cameo! The Lodger was the first film in which Hitchcock had a cameo appearance:"Two actors didn't show up. In those days you used to be able to hop in & do a bit if necessary." He says:" My cameo appearances,were a deliberate move away from realism,reminding the audience,'it's only a movie'." Enjoy the book & then go see the movies!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Francesca

    I recently took a film scoring class and we studied the relationship between Bernard Herrmann and Alfred Hitchcock a lot and I got super interested in learning about the pair. I was studying Herrmann in depth for a project so I wanted to learn a little bit more about Hitchcock afterward. Because this book is marketed as a biography I thought it would be super informative about the director. However, this book is more of just a glorified companion to his movies. This book gives a lot of behind th I recently took a film scoring class and we studied the relationship between Bernard Herrmann and Alfred Hitchcock a lot and I got super interested in learning about the pair. I was studying Herrmann in depth for a project so I wanted to learn a little bit more about Hitchcock afterward. Because this book is marketed as a biography I thought it would be super informative about the director. However, this book is more of just a glorified companion to his movies. This book gives a lot of behind the scenes information, almost more about the actor's experiences rather than explaining the filmmaker's life. The book was especially hard to read for two reasons: 1) The book is written mostly in quotes and so it became difficult to distinguish who was talking and what their relationship to Hitchcock was. As well, a lot of the quote felt as if they were just jammed in there and a lot of them had no relation to the subject that was being discussed. The writing style then became very dry to read after the first 70 pages. 2) If you hadn't seen the movie being discussed, a lot of the little details were hard to understand because you had no background knowledge. As usual, the photographs included in the novel were jammed in the middle. I think a lot of the pictures would have been more effective they were put into the novel in relevant places instead of being thrown into the middle. I also felt like the book could have benefitted from the use of more pictures, after all, they are trying to describe a movie which is 50% visual, to begin with. Honestly, while I appreciate what this book was trying to do. I probably could have learned just as much if not more from reading Hitchcock's Wikipedia page. (And would have taken me like a fraction of the time).

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lincoln

    If this biography is to be believed, Alfred Hitchcock was quite harsh with his writers. If their work didn’t capture the singular vision he had for his movies he had no hesitation in sending them on their way and handing the job on to another. Well, I fear if he’d ever had the opportunity to read this version of his life, he would barely have made it through the first chapter before Ms Chandler was sent packing. It’s not that she doesn’t have good material to impart - she clearly had great acces If this biography is to be believed, Alfred Hitchcock was quite harsh with his writers. If their work didn’t capture the singular vision he had for his movies he had no hesitation in sending them on their way and handing the job on to another. Well, I fear if he’d ever had the opportunity to read this version of his life, he would barely have made it through the first chapter before Ms Chandler was sent packing. It’s not that she doesn’t have good material to impart - she clearly had great access to the man himself and most of the central characters in his life. The underlying love story of Hitchcock and his wife. A bit of fun and the obligatory feud (Tippi Hedren) never forgave him those pecking crows) It’s just that the way the author arranges her material makes it completely incomprehensible. I can’t say I’ve read enough biographies to name a great one. But this one is undoubtedly a very very bad one. Aside from following Hitch’s life and career in the chronological order of his movies, it’s as if Ms Chandler has compiled the rest in whatever order her notes fell out of her handbag. She leaps haphazardly between interviews with technical crew and anecdotes from the stars. Many many times I had to turn back to check who was speaking. She doesn’t mind repeating a quote or remaking a point. Over and over and over. But most bizarrely she will drop a snippet of something in the middle of a page for apparently no reason other than it had to go in the book somewhere!! Hence in the midst of Tippi Hedren describing her daily hell on The Birds you get...well read for yourself. “Hedren had to endure days of having live birds thrown at her. She had never anticipated this, and the ordeal took its toll on her, and on her relationship with Hitchcock . “Hitchcock was more careful about how the birds were treated than he was about me” she said. “I was just there to be pecked” Ethel Griffies, the actress who played an ornithologist in the film began her stage career in 1881 when she was three years old Hitchcock had seen her on the London stage when he was a young man. Some of the birds in the film were trained, some were mechanical, some were animated. I mean I’m sure Ethel made a valuable contribution but what did it have to do with tensions between Hitch and his new Grace Kelly. This sort of random leaping about is constant throughout the book and made reading it a laborious, wholly unpleasant experience. Aside from the Hitchcock quotes Chandler doesn’t even attempt to infuse the thing with the spirit of the man. There’s no lightness of touch or knowing humour here. It’s like the dead hand of a lumbering corpse is leading you by on this journey. And all you want to do is let go and run away. Given the whole thing is like a long tedious magazine article - one were the writer feels the need to let you know: I spoke to Cary Grant over (insert expensive entre) at the front table of (insert fashionable eatery) - it’s odd that she has also chosen to include a synopsis of every single Hitchcock’s film, as if this is to be the definitive Hitchcock film guide - um, it’s so not. And she shouldn’t have bothered. Honestly, she manages to make the simplest plot indecipherable. Some are hardly recognisable even if you’ve seen the film three times. It says a lot about her writing skills in general, that she can take Alfred Hitchcock’s clean and clever murder-mystery stories and turn them into a summary of Crime and Punishment. I can’t claim to be an expert on the perfect biography, but I think you’re supposed to arrange the facts and quotations so they address a central theme of the subject’s life. Then combine it all as a clear, concise and above all entertaining story. I thought thats kinda what you had to do. But what would I know? Alfred Hitchcock’s daughter says it’s the best book she’s ever read about her father!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Gerry

    I re-read the paperback edition of this book, forgetting that I had already read it three years earlier - it must be an age thing! Anyway I enjoyed it more this time and improved on my original assessment to rate it four stars this time around. The title is one of Hitchcock's - 'call me Hitch, without the cock' he would tell his actors - favourite phrases as he would use it when his actors were querying something or felt that they were doing something out of character. 'It's only a MOO-vie' (emph I re-read the paperback edition of this book, forgetting that I had already read it three years earlier - it must be an age thing! Anyway I enjoyed it more this time and improved on my original assessment to rate it four stars this time around. The title is one of Hitchcock's - 'call me Hitch, without the cock' he would tell his actors - favourite phrases as he would use it when his actors were querying something or felt that they were doing something out of character. 'It's only a MOO-vie' (emphasis on the MOO) he would tell them as he insisted that they carry on as he had suggested … and they always did! Another of his favourite bits of advice to his actors was 'Fake it' (often adding after that 'It's only a MOO-vie') and that would be given in any circumstances whatsoever, passionate or otherwise! Having spoken to dozens of the great stars that featured in Hitchcock's films, Charlotte Chandler presents an intimate and expansive portrait of a unique artist who, rising from a junior assistant in silent movies, created many of history's most memorable films from the 1920s through to the 1970s. Along the way, she also reveals a devoted family man, a great practical joker, and always an Englishman of Edwardian sensibilities who became one of the great masters of cinematic art. Interestingly very nearly all the actors that the author interviewed spoke well of Hitchcock, all of them stating that he saw scenes as though through a camera lens, that his technical skills were supreme and that his storyboard preparations was legendary. The only actor who did not eulogise over him was Melanie Griffiths, and she did not work with him but she obviously did not like him as her quote, unquotable in this review, clearly states. Her dislike of him arose from the way Hitchcock allegedly treated her mother 'Tippi' Hedren when she was filming 'The Birds' and later 'Marnie' for him. Hedren herself said, ' I can't say I'm sorry I worked with Hitchcock, but I can't say I'm glad. I certainly wasn't happy about the way it all turned out.' However, despite the troubled relationship, she was there for Hitchcock when the American Film Institute honoured him in 1979. 'It's Only A Movie' is an enthralling read and gives an all-round picture of the man who could be exceedingly witty but who never lost his professional touch whatever the circumstances.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Douglas

    Alfred Hitchcock'a career in movies started when pictures first started moving. He was an incredible entertaining innovator. Reading this book was like visiting the gentleman, and he turns out to be a very decent, cultured man. The author has created a great combination of personal recollections, plot synopsis and history. Alfred Hitchcock'a career in movies started when pictures first started moving. He was an incredible entertaining innovator. Reading this book was like visiting the gentleman, and he turns out to be a very decent, cultured man. The author has created a great combination of personal recollections, plot synopsis and history.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jeroen Kraan

    More of an extended magazine profile than a real biography, but it's not a terrible profile at that. It's based in large part of interviews the author did with Hitchcock himself and many of the people he worked with, although the sourcing is pretty vague and many of the interviews appear to have taken place decades before the book was ever published. I tried going down the rabbit hole of finding out how Charlotte Chandler (a pseudonym) might have met all these people, but it was too daunting. So More of an extended magazine profile than a real biography, but it's not a terrible profile at that. It's based in large part of interviews the author did with Hitchcock himself and many of the people he worked with, although the sourcing is pretty vague and many of the interviews appear to have taken place decades before the book was ever published. I tried going down the rabbit hole of finding out how Charlotte Chandler (a pseudonym) might have met all these people, but it was too daunting. So believe this book at your own risk, I guess.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jess George

    Interesting, short biography of Alfred Hitchcock in which the author clearly had a lot of support and involvement from the man and his family, and lots of good gossip from the stars about working with Hitch. Made me want to read a more in-depth biography with more detail and analysis of his films!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Cherryl Northcutt Valdez

    I was somewhat disappointed. I felt this was written more by Hitchcock than an impartial writer.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Gerry

    From this biography it is difficult to assess what kind of person Alfred Hitchcock really was. Opinions of him, from those who knew him well and worked with him, vary so much; some state that he was 'an actor's director' while others assert that he always referred to actors as 'cattle'. He was undoubtely talented once he had gravitated to films from his humble beginnings in Leytonstone, east London and his legion of films, made in Britain, Germany and America, bare testimony to his capabilities. O From this biography it is difficult to assess what kind of person Alfred Hitchcock really was. Opinions of him, from those who knew him well and worked with him, vary so much; some state that he was 'an actor's director' while others assert that he always referred to actors as 'cattle'. He was undoubtely talented once he had gravitated to films from his humble beginnings in Leytonstone, east London and his legion of films, made in Britain, Germany and America, bare testimony to his capabilities. One thing that is distracting from the story is that every time a film is mentioned a synopsis of the story, is interspersed into the text. It does tend to break up the flow and the synopses would perhaps have been better placed at the end along with the extensive, and useful, filmography. Hitchcock could undoubtely be a paradox as he would be charming one minute and dismissive the next. Writers suffered as much as actors for when one who had worked for him a number of times was asked to consider a new script, he stated that he thought it not for him. He was dismissed and never used again, something that also happened to a more famous writer when working on 'Marnie'. Evan Hunter (aka Ed McBain) disagreed with something that was planned, he, too, was dismissed, never used again and given no writing credit on the film. The myth of Hithcock appearing in all his films is dismissed and an interesting story emerges from his appearance in 'Lifeboat'. His colleagues suggested that he float by as a dead body but he did not care for that and he cared even less when they suggested he float by as a dead body on his stomach because the audience would know it was him by his shape! In the end he came up with the image on a piece of newspaper floating by with the other debris from the wreck. Perhaps the most interesting factor from the book, however, is the difference in opinion of those stars who worked with him. One is left to think that the truth is somewhere in between but Tipi Hedren's daughter, Melanie Griffiths, would not have the reader believe that as she offers the most forthright opinion and even stresses, 'And you can quote me on that.' One slightly disappointing thing is that Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh were nowhere near when the shower scene in 'Psycho' was filmed. Perkins was on stage in New York and it was Janet Leigh's body double that was in the shower. And considering that same film, Hitchcock once told an inquisitive seven-year-old that the blood in the shower was chocolate sauce (he particularly wanted to film 'Psycho' in black and white), adding, a la title of the book, 'It's only a movie.' And that little maxim is something that is worth remembering when minor things go wrong ... just think of Hitchcock and relate 'It's only a movie' to the situation in hand!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Katie/Doing Dewey

    It’s Only a Movie is a very comprehensive biography, covering Hitchcock’s career from his beginnings as a title designer through the final movie he was never able to complete. Even the plots of his movies are included. Mostly though, this was an intimate portrait of the man, told through quotes from him and those who knew him. At first I was afraid the prevalence of quotes in this book would mean an absence of facts. Instead, there were enough facts and stories outside the quotes that I felt like It’s Only a Movie is a very comprehensive biography, covering Hitchcock’s career from his beginnings as a title designer through the final movie he was never able to complete. Even the plots of his movies are included. Mostly though, this was an intimate portrait of the man, told through quotes from him and those who knew him. At first I was afraid the prevalence of quotes in this book would mean an absence of facts. Instead, there were enough facts and stories outside the quotes that I felt like I got a full picture of the Hitchcocks’ lives. The quotes also provided a broad, unbiased view of a man whose character seems to be somewhat controversial. The movie descriptions, on the other hand, should either have been done better or left out. They often sounded silly and I felt that crucial plot points were missing from many. Fortunately, the many quotes were well-integrated into the rest of the book (or it might be more accurate to say that the rest of the book was well-integrated into the quotes!). I can’t know if it captured Hitchcock’s character accurately, but he certainly came across as an interesting and eccentric person. Although I can’t point to what might be missing, this felt like a lighter read than what I was looking for. It was, however, very enjoyable and I liked how much the book conveyed Hitchcock’s unique personality. This review first published on Doing Dewey.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ladiibbug

    Biography - 3.5 stars "This is the best book ever written about my father. It really is amazing." - Patricia Hitchcock These words on the cover were the deciding factor to read this book. As a long-time Hitchcock fan, particularly of his TV shows, it was a bit disappointing that the reader doesn't learn more about the man. Based on this book, it may be that he was exactly as described -- a quiet, routine-loving, introvert. Hitchcock's most important collaborator and companion was his wife Alma. I w Biography - 3.5 stars "This is the best book ever written about my father. It really is amazing." - Patricia Hitchcock These words on the cover were the deciding factor to read this book. As a long-time Hitchcock fan, particularly of his TV shows, it was a bit disappointing that the reader doesn't learn more about the man. Based on this book, it may be that he was exactly as described -- a quiet, routine-loving, introvert. Hitchcock's most important collaborator and companion was his wife Alma. I was surprised to learn of her intense behind the scenes involvement and the importance of her opinions to "Hitch". Their decades-long love affair and friendship was refreshing. Hitchcock's meticulous movie making is explored in great detail. He was involved in virtually every small detail of his films and TV shows. The author interviewed an quoted Hitchcock's family, actors in his films, and film crew members. It seemed like many of the quoted comments, especially by actors who worked with him, were rather vague - or maybe there just isn't much to say about the person. Hitchcock's life was movies.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    This is more like an anecdotal biography. There are some facts and figures, and each film is given a synopsis and some background information, but the bulk of the book is made up of interviews' and table-discussions, which have so much detail in them that in some cases you suspect the author has dramatised them. This isn't a bad thing, necessarily, though she seems to forget that she's included a story in more than one place. And the interviewees too often repeat stuff that we've heard another a This is more like an anecdotal biography. There are some facts and figures, and each film is given a synopsis and some background information, but the bulk of the book is made up of interviews' and table-discussions, which have so much detail in them that in some cases you suspect the author has dramatised them. This isn't a bad thing, necessarily, though she seems to forget that she's included a story in more than one place. And the interviewees too often repeat stuff that we've heard another actor/technician talk about. Worst of all is the endless quoting of Hitch's 'It's only a movie' saying. He may well have said this; whether he said it over and over, as appears her, is another matter. You suspect he was rather more imaginative than that. And that he also brought more integrity to his movies. Some of what the actors have to say is of interest, and throws new light on the subject. However, the book is not a patch on Patrick McGilligan's book on Hitchcock, where not only is there far more detail, there is also far less gossip-column-type material.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Belinda

    This is a pretty good account of Alfred Hitchcock's career from the point of view of those who worked with him. It's definitely not a critical book in either sense of the word - I think the author is coming from a place of adoration and respect, so there's very little discussion of his relationships with his female stars. The really great thing about this book was the interviews the author did with the people who worked on Hitchcock's films from camera men to the actors in the film. It was fasci This is a pretty good account of Alfred Hitchcock's career from the point of view of those who worked with him. It's definitely not a critical book in either sense of the word - I think the author is coming from a place of adoration and respect, so there's very little discussion of his relationships with his female stars. The really great thing about this book was the interviews the author did with the people who worked on Hitchcock's films from camera men to the actors in the film. It was fascinating to read how time had changed people's opinions of the work they and Hitchcock had done. One thing I found interesting was when Hitchcock described starting out working in silent movies in Britain. He said there were lots of female screenwriters because screenwriting was seen as something ladies could do sitting down, like sewing. It was only when the motion pictures became really big that men took over the industry. Fascinating.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Millspaugh

    I really enjoyed this biography of the legendary director. It gave insight into his personality from the actors and filmmakers who worked with him throughout his long career. The most interesting moments were about his techniques and tricks used in his films. I feel like most people who are called a "genius" in their field are also called strange, aloof, or unapproachable. Not everyone who worked with him adored him and their opinions were not censored. Tippi Hedren's famous conflict with Hitch I really enjoyed this biography of the legendary director. It gave insight into his personality from the actors and filmmakers who worked with him throughout his long career. The most interesting moments were about his techniques and tricks used in his films. I feel like most people who are called a "genius" in their field are also called strange, aloof, or unapproachable. Not everyone who worked with him adored him and their opinions were not censored. Tippi Hedren's famous conflict with Hitch was only discussed briefly but the opinion of Hedren's daughter, actress Melanie Griffith, said all that really needed to be said. You're better left reading her opinion for yourself if you plan on delving into this biography for yourself. It is an easy read and let's you journey through his career in chronological order. I am excited to revisit his films that I have seen and watch many for the first time. If you consider yourself to be a movie buff then definitely give this one a shot.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Abdullah H.

    I have read many books about Sir Alfred Hitchcock. And so much of the information in this book I had "heard" before. But with 'It's only a movie', I learned some new secrets about the Master of Macabre. What I also enjoyed was the way we were taken to every set of Hitchcock's films. We were also taken to closed door meetings and I found myself sweating at one particular confrontation. This book had funny moments, sad moments, happy and points that made you so mad; especially learning the opinion one I have read many books about Sir Alfred Hitchcock. And so much of the information in this book I had "heard" before. But with 'It's only a movie', I learned some new secrets about the Master of Macabre. What I also enjoyed was the way we were taken to every set of Hitchcock's films. We were also taken to closed door meetings and I found myself sweating at one particular confrontation. This book had funny moments, sad moments, happy and points that made you so mad; especially learning the opinion one of today's most popular actresses has about the genius, 'Hitch.' (I won't be watching anymore of her films, I will tell you that.) Why four stars not five? Because I have read other books about Hitchcock which were better, namely the Dark side of genius (borrowed from my friend Hannah Brown) and Truffaut given to me by Arda Aghazarian.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    A warm and engaging biography. The author moves through Hitchcock's life chronologically so this would also serve as an excellent companion as you watched his films. There are stories and tidbits surrounding each film and they can be read separately, alongside a viewing though there is a continuity from one to the next if you are reading it all at once (as I did). If anything, I would have preferred more stories from his personal life and relationships - the ones that are included are interestin A warm and engaging biography. The author moves through Hitchcock's life chronologically so this would also serve as an excellent companion as you watched his films. There are stories and tidbits surrounding each film and they can be read separately, alongside a viewing though there is a continuity from one to the next if you are reading it all at once (as I did). If anything, I would have preferred more stories from his personal life and relationships - the ones that are included are interesting and illuminating. I also struggled with wanting to watch each film as it came up in the book -- that would have really slowed down my reading! It was hard to breeze through his entire filmography and visualize all the details, actors, etc. involved and then be swept off to the stories surrounding next film.

  18. 5 out of 5

    John

    This is a really fun, readable bio of Hitchcock, and it's filled with personal interviews and anecdotes and little bits of info from all kinds of people who were involved in his movies. It seems like Ms. Chandler just collected stories from people about Hitchcock, and from the man himself, from the early sixties through 2000 or so and then published them in sequential order. That's really all the book is. The writing isn't all that great, and there isn't a lot of talk about his personal life. Bu This is a really fun, readable bio of Hitchcock, and it's filled with personal interviews and anecdotes and little bits of info from all kinds of people who were involved in his movies. It seems like Ms. Chandler just collected stories from people about Hitchcock, and from the man himself, from the early sixties through 2000 or so and then published them in sequential order. That's really all the book is. The writing isn't all that great, and there isn't a lot of talk about his personal life. But the stories about the movies and all the stuff that went into making them are so great that you don't really care. It's making me want to go back and watch all these again, and they really hold up well.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Carolyne Borel

    Miss Chandler is doing a pretty decent job in this personal biography of the Master of a suspense. Yet, at times, it feels like she is only cutting and pasting from certain articles. I enjoyed reading about her conversations with all of these famous people from the industry though, it is like reviving a lost era, even tho the transcripts are more subjective than truly objective I am afraid. I would recommend this book as an easy read for a first timer wanting to know more about the great Hitch (" Miss Chandler is doing a pretty decent job in this personal biography of the Master of a suspense. Yet, at times, it feels like she is only cutting and pasting from certain articles. I enjoyed reading about her conversations with all of these famous people from the industry though, it is like reviving a lost era, even tho the transcripts are more subjective than truly objective I am afraid. I would recommend this book as an easy read for a first timer wanting to know more about the great Hitch ("without a cock" as he liked to name himself), but aficionados should look for another, more in depth book (the "making of Psycho" & "rear window" we're extremely insightful in this regard!)

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dave Hofer

    The author of this book seemed very proud of the fact that she was able to interview a bunch of crusty, old celebrities. She also wasn't afraid to mention that Hitchcock didn't give a lot of direction to actors, loved the story-boarding process, and said "It's only a movie" from time to time . . . ABOUT FIVE TIMES PER CHAPTER. I get it, already! Otherwise - pretty cool book considering I've not seen but two of his movies, The Birds and North By Northwest. The latter being in fifth grade or somethi The author of this book seemed very proud of the fact that she was able to interview a bunch of crusty, old celebrities. She also wasn't afraid to mention that Hitchcock didn't give a lot of direction to actors, loved the story-boarding process, and said "It's only a movie" from time to time . . . ABOUT FIVE TIMES PER CHAPTER. I get it, already! Otherwise - pretty cool book considering I've not seen but two of his movies, The Birds and North By Northwest. The latter being in fifth grade or something,

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jackie "the Librarian"

    A fun personal look at Hitchcock with all his foibles, finickiness, and fondness for Dover sole. Lots of entertaining anecdotes about all Hitchcock's classic movies, such as Rear Window and Vertigo. This is a much more sympathetic portrait of the master of suspense than Spoto's The Dark Side of Genius . A fun personal look at Hitchcock with all his foibles, finickiness, and fondness for Dover sole. Lots of entertaining anecdotes about all Hitchcock's classic movies, such as Rear Window and Vertigo. This is a much more sympathetic portrait of the master of suspense than Spoto's The Dark Side of Genius .

  22. 4 out of 5

    Amelia

    I enjoyed reading about Alfred Hitchcock and his movies. I especially enjoyed reading what he said and also what other people said about their experiences working with him. The writing was a little annoying though, and there were a few times I wanted to stop reading because of it. However, if you are a big Alfred Hitchcock fan then I think you will still enjoy it. If you want to read a really enjoyable book on him though, I would highly recommend "Hitchcock on Hitchcock." I enjoyed reading about Alfred Hitchcock and his movies. I especially enjoyed reading what he said and also what other people said about their experiences working with him. The writing was a little annoying though, and there were a few times I wanted to stop reading because of it. However, if you are a big Alfred Hitchcock fan then I think you will still enjoy it. If you want to read a really enjoyable book on him though, I would highly recommend "Hitchcock on Hitchcock."

  23. 4 out of 5

    Christine Sinclair

    I finally feel like I know Alfred Hitchcock, the man. Yes, he was a genius film director and we will always study his body of work, but he was also a person, and this book gives a great insight into what he was like, both at home and at work. Many great quotes here, plus a complete filmography which even includes the silent films for which he wrote the title cards at the start of his career. Definitely a must-read for his legion of admirers.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Susanna

    I enjoyed the bits about Hitchcock's life and his distinct, quirky personality but the play by play accounts of each of his movies got a bit tedious -- also some events/movies weren't too interesting & could have just as well been left out... I wound up not finishing it. I do think it's a fun book to dip into from time to time & it had a good life story full of fond (and fawning) anecdotes I enjoyed the bits about Hitchcock's life and his distinct, quirky personality but the play by play accounts of each of his movies got a bit tedious -- also some events/movies weren't too interesting & could have just as well been left out... I wound up not finishing it. I do think it's a fun book to dip into from time to time & it had a good life story full of fond (and fawning) anecdotes

  25. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    Personal biography of Alfred Hitchcock. Great synopses of his movies. He sounded like a great man. Personal biography of Alfred Hitchcock. Great synopses of his movies. He sounded like a great man.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sandy

    Interesting story of Hitchcock and his career in the film industry. I learned he was a family man--very dedicated to his wife and daughter, as well as an amazing film maker. The book includes short summaries of the his films--they do contain spoilers!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mark Glidden

    A fine biography of the great Hitchcock, however those fans looking for a more in-depth look or study of his life and character, this would not shed all that much new light on his undoubtedly complex person.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dkeslin

    A fascinating look at the career of Hitchcock the director who invented the suspense thriller and was its master.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Cecilia

    A light, quick-read bio on Hitchcock. Lots of interviews with stars of Hitchcock's and friends. Not exactly meant to academia -- but that makes it all the more fun! A light, quick-read bio on Hitchcock. Lots of interviews with stars of Hitchcock's and friends. Not exactly meant to academia -- but that makes it all the more fun!

  30. 4 out of 5

    David Bronkhorst

    Hitch, without the cock

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