Isabel Quigly

Lord Alfred

It's Only a Movie: Alfred Hitchcock – A Personal Biography


Simon & Schuster 349pp £20 order from our bookshop

Straight after – or maybe during – the terrifying murder in the shower in Psycho, one of the twin peaks of London film criticism at the time, C A Lejeune of The Observer (the other peak being Dilys Powell of the Sunday Times), marched out of the preview. I say ‘marched’ rather than ‘walked’ because it was very obviously and deliberately a protest, watched, eyes popping, by the rest of us. Hitchcock had done his brilliant best to produce what is famously one of the scariest moments and most sadistic murders in the history of the cinema. But he had done more. The unpredictable director, the master of suspense, had turned out his biggest surprise by putting what might have seemed the film’s climax near the beginning, saving another surprise, another even more amazing climax, for the very end.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Her favourite design included a body in the shape of a horse, with a steam engine inside ... The passenger would t… ,
    • Sign up to our email newsletter below! Get free articles, highlights from the archive, and chances to win theatre… ,
    • RT : Founded in 1979, is a trusted independent source for reviews of new books across a variety of genres. A… ,
    • RT : Here we are - "Shelf Indulgence" by Ed Potten, a wonderful read, well worth your time: @Lit_Review,
    • 'Like going to a party hoping to get away as quickly as politeness allowed and at 4am finding myself still engrosse… ,
    • 'Neville never shed his sense of being the junior, and perhaps least-deserving Chamberlain.' From the archive, Mic… ,
    • 'The erecting and immediate destruction of a series of straw men rather detracts from what is for the most part an… ,