Cinema: Grave Error

FAMILY PLOT

Directed by ALFRED HITCHCOCK

Screenplay by ERNEST LEHMAN

Alfred Hitchcock is 76 now, and the bemused, nightmarish thrillers he has concocted over the years have accomplished more than the director ever intended, perhaps even imagined. Hitchcock will admit to no loftier ambition than entertainment. Nonetheless, his best movies—The Wrong Man, Strangers on a Train, Vertigo, Psycho, The Birds—reach into deep pockets of psychic guilt, creating not only a pleasant, fleeting rush of terror in an audience but also a lingering, fixed anxiety. He is a technical master. But the tense economy of...

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