Reviewed by Michael Dalton
After over 100 books and countless tributes written about and to Alfred Hitchcock, Jan Olsson’s Hitchcock a la Carte is a refreshing change of pace. So much has been reported on regarding the macabre director’s childhood, his battles with David O. Selznick, the notorious stories regarding his treatment of leading lady Tippi Hedren on the set of The Birds, the often copied marketing gimmick he artfully prepared for his blockbuster Psycho, and those evasive Oscars he so richly deserved (he was nominated five times and finally received the Irving G. Thalberg memorial award in 1968 as consolation). Has any other film director in history been so dissected? So much ink and so much deliberation but with little fresh insight, until now. Happily, Olsson’s superbly researched book heads off in a different direction, one sure to be of interest to fans of Hitchcock’s thrilling foray into television that resulted in Alfred Hitchcock Presents and then The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. Were it not for his television presence, we might not even have Psycho. No studio would touch it so he utilised his crew from Presents to create it. It was finally the most economical move he ever made and, arguably, founded his legend. Some favour Vertigo and others Rear Window but I'll stick with that black and white nightmare.