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Hitchcock: Shadow of a Genius (1999)

This documentary is a fascinating look at the cinematic genius of Alfred Hitchcock. Briefly covering much of his early British works, the film primarily focuses on his American classics, ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Narrator (voice)
Himself (archive footage)
Joseph Stefano ...
John Michael Hayes ...
Herself (as Pat Hitchcock O'Connell)
Alma Reville ...
Herself (archive footage)
Herb Steinberg ...
Robert E. Kapsis ...


This documentary is a fascinating look at the cinematic genius of Alfred Hitchcock. Briefly covering much of his early British works, the film primarily focuses on his American classics, such as "Shadow of a Doubt", "Notorious", "Rear Window", "Vertigo", "Psycho" and "The Birds". The movie also covers his television years and neatly examines the Hitchcock signature touches, from his inevitable brief cameo to his famous MacGuffin. Kevin Spacey narrates, and there are interviews with his delightful daughter Pat as well as such film directors as Brian De Palma, Jonathan Demme, Curtis Hanson, Robert Altman, Ronald Neame and Peter Bogdanovich, along with cast and crew members Tippi Hedren, Joseph Stefano, Norman Lloyd, Robert F. Boyle, Teresa Wright and Janet Leigh. Written by filmfactsman

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Release Date:

13 October 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dial H Hitchcock: The Genius Behind the Showman  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Tribute to Hitch is superficial but fun...too much deja vu for me...
21 September 2007 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

If you've been living under a rock for the past thirty years or so, you may not be that familiar with all things Hitchcock. But fans of the great director have seen much of this footage before--or at least similar interviews with participants in Hitchcock's films, to be vaguely familiar with most of the points accented here.

Still, it makes for delightful viewing, especially if this is your first glimpse of this Canadian-made documentary that gives one a close-up look at Hitch's quirky personality, good humor and wry wit.

There are times when it's painfully obvious that Hitchcock had all the charisma of a bump on a log or a stand-in-the-corner man at a party gathering who would rather observe than be put under the glare of a spotlight. This is especially true in some of the remarks made by those who knew him well and apparent from the many film clips, especially the home movies. Nevertheless, he seemed to rule well enough behind a camera.

The treat is hearing what famous actors/actresses and screenwriters had to say about working with him. Among the most articulate: John Michael Hayes who did the screenplay for NORTH BY NORTHWEST, Norman Lloyd, Janet Leigh, Patricia Hitchcock (his daughter), Teresa Wright, Tippi Hedren, Joseph Stefano and others.

It's clear that his wife's influence (Alma Reville) on his film-making was of utmost importance. If she didn't approve of a story, he never touched it. She was a film cutter that he met in England before he began his film career as a director and their marriage was evidently a very compatible one, according to daughter Patricia.

Most interesting aspect of the whole piece: the discussion of the quintessential Hitchcock film, PSYCHO, with some of its most chilling scenes.

Well worth watching.

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