Controversial Alfred Hitchcock author Donald Spoto dies at the age of 81.

Donald Spoto, the unauthorised biographer of “The Life of Alfred Hitchcock: The Dark Side of Genius” died last week at the age of 81 as reported in The New York Times. May he Rest In Peace.

His first book “The Art of Alfred Hitchcock” was published in 1976 and was a coffee table book on Hitchcock’s work. But as esteemed Hitchcock critic Robin Wood, author of the seminal book “Hitchcock’s Films” stated, Spoto quickly turned from reverence to rape with the publication of his next Hitchcock book, “The Dark Side of Genius”.

Many Hitchcock collaborators went on record to say they did not recognise the man Spoto portrayed in his book, while others such as Patricia Hitchcock, Herbert Coleman and Norman Lloyd actively defended the director with alternative sides of the story.

Following the publication of his Hitchcock books, Spoto made a name for himself as a celebrity biographer with often sensational accounts on the likes of Joan Crawford, Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Ingrid Bergman and James Dean among others.

He published his third and final book on Alfred Hitchcock in 2008 titled “Spellbound by Beauty” which catalogued Hitchcock’s predilictions with blondes and his alleged obsession with Tippi Hedren. Spoto and Hedren collaborated as advisers on the BBC’s and HBO’s drama “The Girl” which was released in 2013. Again more controversy ensued, and defendants such as Kim Novak, Doris Day and Barbara Leigh-Hunt spoke out to defend Hitchcock as the man they did not recognise in the television movie.

Spoto’s allegations were also refuted in two books by author Tony Lee Moral, “Hitchcock and the Making of Marnie” in 2002 and “The Making of Hitchcock’s The Birds” in 2013.

While Save Hitchcock disputed The Girl’s allegations and contradicted many of those in Spoto’s biography, we will be addressing some of those claims in the coming months on this site.

Spoto leaves behind his husband Ole Flemming Larsen who he married in 2003 where they lived together in Denmark.

#AlfredHitchcock #DonaldSpoto #TheGirl #Spoto #Hitchcock #TippiHedren #Marnie #TheBirds


Alfred Hitchcock and the Sight and Sound Poll

The reason for Hitchcock’s enduring influence on Directors and Critics today.

Alfred Hitchcock has a reason to dance. Four of Hitchcock’s Films have made the Top 100 films of all time list in the recent British Film Institute Sight and Sound Poll. Although Hitchcock’s Vertigo is down only one place to Number 2 having beaten Citizen Kane to the top spot in the last poll, Hitchcock is only rivalled by Jean Luc Goddard in having the greatest number of films on the list, with Psycho, Rear Window and North by Northwest.

While cinematic greats like Bergman with only film, Persona, and Renoir have slipped or fallen out of the top, which testifies Hitchcock’s enduring appeal as a master storyteller and giant of cinema.

You can read about Hitchcock’s legacy in a new book The Young Alfred Hitchcock’s Moviemaking Master Class available on Amazon.

#books #sightandsoundpoll #sightandsoundmagazine #filmbooks #vertigo #jeannedielman #psycho #rearwindow #northbynorthwest #polls #ilms #alfredhitchcock

Will Vertigo be named No 1 film of all time again in this year’s Sight & Sound Poll?

The Sight and Sound Directors’s and Critic’s Polls for the Best Film of All Time will be published on Friday December 2nd 2022, every ten years since its inception. In 2012, Vertigo gained the top spot, dethroning Citizen Kane.

Will it retain the Number 1 position this year? Rumour has it that another film like 2001 will take the title.

Find out why Vertigo is held in such high esteem in a new book The Young Alfred Hitchcock’s Moviemaking Master Class which is published in 2022.

#authors #books #sightandsound #poll #directors #producers #polls #newbook #reading

Alfred Hitchcock: The Storyboards book to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Hitch’s directorial debut

Now available to preorder: A one-of-a-kind historical document and 100th anniversary celebration of the artwork behind several of the Master of Suspense’s greatest films.

To coincide with the 100th anniversary of his directorial debut in 2022, this stunning coffee table book focuses on the storyboards, including never before published images and incisive text putting the material in context and examining the role the pieces played in some of the most unforgettable scenes in cinema. Hitchcock author and aficionado Tony Lee Moral takes you through the last 100 years of cinema, with the Master of Suspense as your guide.

The Truth about Alfred Hitchcock, Tippi Hedren and the Photoplay Award

One of the often quoted stories in the turbulent saga of Alfred Hitchcock and Tippi Hedren during the filming of Marnie is the notion that Hitchcock denied Hedren the opportunity to collect a Photoplay Award out of spite. Hedren herself says that this was supposed to happen over ‘a long weekend’, where she would fly out to New York on a Thursday and come back by Monday ready for filming. However the following memos in the Alfred Hitchcock files show this not to be true – and that the awards filming was taking place midweek on Wednesday February 5th (memo from David Golding head of Universal publicity Jan 21 1964). In another memo Golding described the awards ceremony as ‘a rat race’ and would have little impact on the Golden Globes or other nominations.

No time to pause filming midweek because of Sean Connery

Furthermore the production was filming every day due to Sean Connery’s imminent departure at the end of February as he was then scheduled to go and film Goldfinger back in London. The below memo shows that there was little time for publicity shots and Hedren herself didn’t want to come in on a Saturday as she was ‘bone tired’ and recovering from the flu bug. Yet she still was prepared to fly to New York to accept the photoplay award.

When filming finished in March Hitchcock allowed Hedren to accept the award

Filming wrapped in Mid March and by that time Hitch allowed Hedren to accept the Photoplay award

Was Hitchcock so churlish then not to allow Hedren to fly to New York given the filming constraints?

Louise Latham says she felt sorry for Hitchcock as he was being professional and trying to finish the movie with an expensive star in Connery ($200,000) and a schedule to keep to. That seems to be the cause of the real bust up between Hitchcock and Hedren. Read the true story in Hitchcock and the Making of Marnie on Amazon.

Yet reports still circulate, ignited recently by Hedren’s Grand daughter Dakota Johnson, that Hitchcock was abusive. Type your thoughts in the comments section below.

#alfredhitchcock #tippihedren #photoplayawards #hitchcock #hedren #dakotajohnson #seanconnery #metoo #truestory #hollywood #newyork #scandal

HITCHCON IS ONLINE THIS WEEKEND with films and discussion on Alfred Hitchcock’s movies

#Hitchcon #JamesBond #Notimetodie #northbynorthwest #psycho #thebirds #marnie #thrillers #movies #classics #tickets #virtual #weekend #online #thetroublewithharry #tuxedo #seanconnery

The first annual HITCHCON is this weekend (October 1st to 3rd 2021) and is starting today. You can buy weekend or day passes here along with the full programme line up which includes:

Discussions with Hitchcock authors and scholars including Q&A

Screenings of MARNIE (Friday at 7pm EST) and THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY (Saturday at 7pm EST)

Insights into the films of Alfred Hitchcock and his quest for love in his movies


It is with great sadness that Norman Lloyd, an actor, producer and long time friend of Alfred Hitchcock has died at the age of 106 (November 8th 1914 – May 11th 2021).

We interviewed him a couple of times for Save Hitchcock at his home in Brentwood and was always impeccably attired with a copy of the New Yorker by his side. A true gentleman in every sense of the word, he described Alfred Hitchcock’s camera logic and gift as a storyteller. He famously starred in Hitchcock’s Saboteur and fell from the Statue of Liberty. He went on to produce Alfred Hitchcock Presents in the 1960s.


RIP SEAN CONNERY (1930- 2020)

It is with sadness that we report that Sean Connery has died at the age of 90. He was one of the last of Alfred Hitchcock’s leading men (William Devane and Bruce Dern are luckily still with us).

Playing Mark Rutland, he brings confidence, virility and compassion to the role, an amateur zoologist who tries to tame Marnie and cure her of childhood nightmares.

Extract from “Hitchcock and the Making of Marnie” by Tony Lee Moral

“The director (Hitchcock) was advised that Connery would not consider starring in a film without seeing the script first, and his asking salary was $200,000. Connery was already receiving $60,000 per picture plus $200 a week expenses, in addition to 5 per cent of the gross on Saltzman’s pictures. Later Connery conceded, “For the first time in my life I can ask to read a script, and if you had been in some of the tripe I have, you’d know why.”

The next day, Hitchcock watched “Dr. No” in his private screening room with his agent Herman Citron, and a month later he viewed “From Russia With Love”. No doubt both men saw in Connery an actor of considerable range and star charisma. Hitchcock probably also detected a confident sexuality and hint of sadomasochism that he perceived in the role of Mark Rutland. “I wanted him for my picture because the part requires a virile, aggressive man with a lot of authority”, said Hitchcock.

Sean was universally liked by the cast and crew of Marnie. During the wrap party on February 28th 1964, the crew presented Sean with a watch for his professionalism. He was so touched by the tribute that he took his own watch off and put on the new one. Hitchcock admired his professionalism and potential – Sean went onto play 007 in Goldfinger which is often seen as the best in the James Bond series. RIP Sean you will be missed.

#seanconnery #tribute #ripseanconnery #books #films #cinema #alfredhitchcock #obituary #marnie #universal #jamesbond #007 #goldfinger #hitchcock #makingofmarnie #thebirds #fromrussiawithlove

Hitchcock’s The Birds and the Coronavirus Pandemic

As the Coronavirus Pandemic unfolds across the world, and we watch various Government’s response to it, we are reminded of Alfred Hitchcock’s remarks to the French director Francois Truffaut during the making of The Birds in 1962. Hitchcock said that his film was about ‘complacency’ particularly the central characters reactions and their response to the unpredictable and escalating bird attacks.

No more than today does Hitchcock’s remarks seem more relevant, as countries struggling to control the Coronavirus from overwhelming their health systems, introduce shutdowns and a variety of social distancing measures. Some countries like South Korea acted quickly, while others such as Spain, the US and UK were slower to enforce lockdowns and are now paying the price for the number of positive cases escalating in Europe and the USA.

Alfred Hitchcock was always ahead of the curve. Psycho(1960) was a pioneering cinematic landmark,  a forerunner of the horror and slasher movies which would dominate the next few decades, while The Birds(1963) preceded the wave of disaster movies and Man vs Nature catastrophes that became so fashionable in the 1970s. Like the mysterious birds that attack Bodega Bay, Coronavirus seems to have come out of nowhere – reportedly from a wet market in China – and quickly spread across the globe, facilitated by our predilection for international travel.

Suddenly all our lives are affected. We are now caged in our houses and apartments, under government orders to stay at home, businesses are shut down and capital cities are in lockdown. Outside, there is evidence that nature is reclaiming what we stole from it. Sika Deer have been spotted in Japan’s cities, raccoons on an empty beach in Panama and coyotes are being seen on the streets of San Francisco. These reports suggest that Nature is rebalancing itself, after decades of being crowded out by an ever increasing human population. Others suggest the pandemic is retribution, as the intermediate host of Coronavirus is the pangolin, the most trafficked mammal in the world.

Like the pivotal scene in The Birds when the residents of Bodega Bay take shelter inside the Tides restaurant, countries blame each other for starting the virus. America blames China. China blames America. Social distancing bans are ignored, subways and buses are crammed, and the complacent attitude of nothing bad is really going to happen to me, is all too prevalent in our society,

Why does Melanie Daniels go up to the attic for the climatic bird attack? Despite all the warnings and everything she has been through, she still enters the avian filled room. Maybe like us she doesn’t think anything bad will happen to her. Complacency must be beaten out of her by the birds, and she narrowly escapes with her life. Just like Coronavirus has taken its toll on those who think of it just as a virus, one notch above the common cold.

The Birds inexplicably attack in waves followed by an eerie retreat. There are predictions that Coronavirus will suddenly disappear. The world will wait and watch. “It’s the end of the world!” spurts the drunk at the Tides restaurant. Coronavirus won’t kill off the human race, but like the fury of the birds, hopefully it will remind us to be more respectful in our attitudes to nature.