In a career that spanned six decades and more than sixty films, Alfred Hitchcock was the dominant figure in the first century of cinema. His films -- from The 39 Steps to The Birds, from Rear Window to Vertigo, from

In a career that spanned six decades and more than sixty films, Alfred Hitchcock was the dominant figure in the first century of cinema. His films -- from The 39 Steps to The Birds, from Rear Window to Vertigo, from Notorious to Psycho -- set new standards for cinematic invention and storytelling élan. He was both visionary artist and consummate entertainer ... and became the most widely recognized director who ever lived.

In the decades since his death, the public image of Hitchcock has crystallized into a series of iconic images: the macabre Englishman, the sexual obsessive, the Master of Suspense. But this remarkable new biography -- the first in a quarter-century -- draws on prodigious new research to restore Hitchcock the man, in all his three-dimensional glory. Here is the comprehensive film craftsman, forever pushing forward the boundaries of his art. Here is the passionate collaborator, who cheekily referred to actors as "cattle" but invigorated the careers of Cary Grant, James Stewart, Ingrid Bergman, and Grace Kelly. Here is the insatiable provocateur, testing the limits of his audience with his cocktails of sex and violence. And here, too, is the private man: dedicated romantic, constant trickster, impotent voyeur, devoted husband, a man who sacrificed his life, again and again, for his work.

Like the best Hitchcock films, Patrick McGilligan's life of Hitchcock is a drama full of fresh revelation, graced by a central love story, dark humor, and cliff-hanging suspense: a definitive portrait of the most creative, and least understood, figure in film history.

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