Good Ackroyd

Alfred Hitchcock by Peter Ackroyd (2-Apr-2015) Hardcover - Peter Ackroyd

Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley


                So I love North by Northwest, that whole scene on Mount Rushmore, or to be more exact the fake Mount Rushmore, but that wasn’t my first introduction to Hitchcock.  It was actually a rerun of his television series.   I even went through a phrase of recording every Hitchcock movie that bad its way onto to television (this was the VCR days).  


                But I have to admit that Psycho has never been a favorite of mine.


                Ackroyd’s biography of Hitchcock is brief – along the lines of one’s about Poe, Collins, and Turner.  In many ways, these brief biographies are wonderful because of the amount of information jammed into them. 


                Ackroyd’s biography of Hitchcock does not attempt to hide the director's more difficult character traits, such as his obsession with some female leads, such as Tippi Hedren.  Ackroyd does this by building on Hitchcock’s past as well as showcasing the development of the film industry, in particular the differences between British and American film industry.


                Ackroyd’s biography also includes a look a Hitchcock’s place in film history.  In other words, he makes the case for Psycho.  In particular, he points out that all those messages we see in Hitchcock’s films might not be what we think.  (See hubby, I win the whole argument we had about The Birds.  And honesty was I the only one rooting for the birds at moments?).


                Perhaps the most touching aspect of the biography is Ackroyd’s decryption of Hitchcock's wife Alma.  In fact, I want to read a biography of her.


                This is one Ackroyd’s better lives.