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Hitchcock's Films Revisited [Paperback]

R Wood
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

13 Sep 1990
When "Hitchcock's Films" was first published, it quickly became known as a new kind of book on film - one that came to be considered a necessary text in the Hitchcock bibliography. When Robin Wood returned to his writings on Hitchcock's films and published "Hitchcock's Films Revisited" in 1989, the multi-dimensional essays took on a new shape - one that was tempered by Wood's own development as a critic. This new revised edition of "Hitchcock's Films Revisited" includes a substantial new preface in which Wood reveals his personal history as a film scholar - including his coming out as a gay man, his views on his previous critical work, and how his writings, his love of film, and his personal life have remained deeply intertwined through the years. This revised edition includes all original eighteen essays and a new chapter on Marnie titled "Does Mark Cure Marnie? Or, 'You Freud, Me Hitchcock.'"
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


Product details

  • Paperback: 395 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press; Reprint edition (13 Sep 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231065515
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231065511
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 15 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,316,409 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

It is impossible not to be impressed by the richness, justice, and eloquence of [Woods] readings like "Rope, Notorious, Under Capricorn," and "The Man Who Knew Too Much." . . . If there are still any doubters about Hitchcock's central place in the canon of 20th century artists, they should address themselves to this wonderful study, where they will find the case for the defense magisterially outlined and argued with sustained, fiery conviction.

About the Author

Robin Wood, a founding editor of CineAction, is the author of Sexual Politics and Narrative Film (Columbia, 1998) and Hollywood From Vietnam to Reagan (Columbia, 1985), among other books. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Why should we take Hitchcock seriously? Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A thorough and academic trawl through the master 30 July 2001
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This book is one of Robin Wood's better known works and stands as both one of the best pieces of Hitchcock criticism ever penned, and as a model of auteur analysis in general [an area Wood has consistently been aligned with since his involvement with the magazine MOVIE in the 1960's]. It contains very detailed readings of Hitch's most famous and revered films, from Strangers On A Train through to Torn Curtain and encompassing Rear Window, Vertigo, North By Northwest, Psycho, The Birds, Marnie et al. And also a second section which contains some broader ranging pieces on things like Shadow Of A Doubt [and Its A Wonderful Life] and American Ideology, Hitchcock and homosexuality [a very revealing piece on Rope] and a fascinating psychoanalytical reading of Vertigo. As well as pieces on some of Hitch's lesser known and British films. The one big problem with Wood, as with many British critics [and autuerists] of his generation like V.F Perkins [who also wrote for MOVIE], is his often self-consciously highbrow approach, too often too eager to validate cinema as art by comparing it to other art forms [ for example there is a piece in Wood's latest, and indeed last book Sexual Politics And Narrative Film comparing Renoir and The Rules Of The Game to Mozart]. But this is far less prominent in this book, as he concerns himself primarily with just analyising and interpreting the works in question. His writing here is as lucid, beautifully constructed and insightful as always and his interst in and passion for Hitchcock in particular and the cinema in general is evident in every paragraph. As mentioned this is less pretentious than some of Wood's other works, it is nevertheless still too scholarly for the passing film fan. But for the serious film buff and especialy the film student, this is an indispensible work that should prove useful and certainly insightful again and again. And will no doubt enrich your understanding of Hitchcock's films.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars very intersting 3 Sep 2001
Format:Paperback
this is an extremily readable book that looks at many of hitchcock's greatest films. the writer enters deeply into the world of hitchcock on an engaged and psychological level he uses psychoanalytic and archetypal ideas to think about what hitch is doing and how he succeedes. a very readable attempt at looking at the symbolism in a psychological sence in these films. but not necessarily freudian and reductionist.....highly rated
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Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As brilliant as it is controversial 8 Sep 2005
By Alexander Jacoby - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Most of the comments posted about this book are embarrassing in their refusal to engage properly with what Robin Wood is actually trying to argue. Previous readers appear to resent Wood's desire to take the cinema seriously, and suggest that we should look to Hitchcock's films for no more than "craft" and "technique". If that's all one is concerned with, I'm not sure why it would be worth reading a book on Hitchcock at all. Wood has always been firm in asserting that the experience of watching a film is both emotional and intellectual. Taking the cinema seriously doesn't mean one has to stop responding to it emotionally. Nor does Hitchcock's status as a consummate entertainer invalidate Wood's arguments that his films raise profound and troubling moral and political questions.

Wood writes beautifully. Complaints about his reliance on Freudian or Marxist terminology are wrongheaded - such terminology is in fact employed far more rarely than by most academic writers. Wood's use of language is magnificently precise and careful. It is true that he conducts his critique of Hitchcock, as of other filmmakers, from a leftwing viewpoint. One does not have to share his commitment to Marxism (a kind of reconstructed, humanistic Marxism, incidentally, which has nothing to do with the atrocities perpetrated by Mao or Stalin) in order to appreciate the strength of his analysis. Anyone who is prepared, as a reader, to engage in lively debate with a writer's ideological and moral assumptions, should be able to profit by reading Wood's book.

I certainly don't agree with everything Wood has to say either on a political or an aesthetic level. But no other writer on Hitchcock, or on the cinema, has the same depth, reach or passion for his subject. Hitchcock's Films Revisited, presenting in tandem Wood's earlier and later thoughts on one of the cinema's great masters, is not only great criticism; it is also a moving account of one man's personal and political evolution.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best in-depth Hitchcock study ever to be published. 3 Sep 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I have been reading books about Hitchcock for the last 15 years and the discovery of this one written by Robin Wood has been a revelation, far better than the praised Truffaut book or the one by Donald Spoto, both of which seem to disregard the vastness of Hitchcock's timeless movies. I very much recommend this book if you really want to go beyond cinema trivia and have a look into the work of one of the best artists of this closing Twentieth century. Enjoy it before and after watching a Hitchcock movie - or just anytime you feel like a good cinema essay.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Price of Innovation 9 Oct 2005
By John P Bernat - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Forty years ago Robin Wood joined a then-small number of serious critics who urged that Hitchcock be taken seriously. Since many of those critics did not receive a wide reading, Wood's effort was of extreme significance in garnering Hitch the respect he deserved.

It's wonderful to note that Wood, still writing, has continued to update his first work without repudiating or diluting any of it. He made some highly daring observations in 1966, which so many writers ridiculed or dismissed. His originality and critical integrity is so notable, though, that it has weathered these attacks and survived to the present, in actually even better form.

Consider, for example, that Wood countered a then-contemporary tend in dismissing "Marnie" as a failure. Instead, in his first book and most recent edition, he insists that "Marnie" be counted in among films like Psycho, The Birds, Vertigo and North by Northwest as a masterly pairing of visual images addressing psychological elements. And who else before Wood saw the utterly original qualities of "Vertigo," or deconstructed them more effectively?

You won't be sorry to have this book in your library. It originated a critical lanugage of film, and celebrated one of film's greatest contributors in a unique way.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Robin Wood is the Preeminent Authority on Hitchcock 23 Oct 2000
By gobirds2 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The methods of the great pioneers have often puzzled conventional minds. I am not a great pioneer. I am puzzled. And what the heck does conventional mean? Robin Wood is without question the greatest authority on the cinematic works of Sir Alfred Hitchcock. Years ago after seeing many films as I was growing up I decided to do some reading on the role of the Director. By pure chance I picked up and purchased Robin Wood's original edition of this book. Obviously it was at that time, myself still being in school very challenging reading for me. However, I was able to recognize brilliance over hypocrisy. Robin Wood has ever since remained the preeminent authority on Hitchcock's films. He has honestly admitted that his perspectives on some of his analysis have changed. This is not an outright statement that has had a change of heart or acquired a new taste in the aesthetics of Hitchcock's films. On the contrary, through ongoing analysis he has come even closer to the secret of Hitchcock's mastery of his art. An artist creates a work. A great portion of that work is constructed with conscious deliberate thought, some is intuitive and a small portion may be subconscious. Robin Wood, I believe has showed a continuum in his analysis of Hitchcock's work. Wood continues to explore the avenues of the intuitive and subconscious nature of Alfred Hitchcock, which manifests itself in his films. To this end I believe Wood has devoted a good portion of his life.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Robin Wood is the Preeminent Authority on Hitchcock 23 Oct 2000
By gobirds2 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The methods of the great pioneers have often puzzled conventional minds. I am not a great pioneer. I am puzzled. And what the heck does conventional mean?
Robin Wood is without question the greatest authority on the cinematic works of Sir Alfred Hitchcock. Years ago after seeing many films as I was growing up I decided to do some reading on the role of the Director. By pure chance I picked up and purchased Robin Wood's original edition of this book. Obviously it was at that time, myself still being in school very challenging reading for me. However, I was able to recognize brilliance over hypocrisy. Robin Wood has ever since remained the preeminent authority on Hitchcock's films. He has honestly admitted that his perspectives on some of his analysis have changed. This is not an outright statement that has had a change of heart or acquired a new taste in the aesthetics of Hitchcock's films. On the contrary, through ongoing analysis he has come even closer to the secret of Hitchcock's mastery of his art. An artist creates a work. A great portion of that work is constructed with conscious deliberate thought, some is intuitive and a small portion may be subconscious. Robin Wood, I believe has showed a continuum in his analysis of Hitchcock's work. Wood continues to explore the avenues of the intuitive and subconscious nature of Alfred Hitchcock, which manifests itself in his films. To this end I believe Wood has devoted a good portion of his life.
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