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

    • From the Archive: Martyn Bedford on Ian McEwan's 'Atonement' ,
    • In 'Silenced Voices' reports the ongoing story of the human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been… ,
    • The mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity has long been agonised over. But what do we know about his victims?… ,
    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,
    • If you want ideas about what to read next, sign up to our free email newsletter, and get book reviews, archive mate… ,