Cinema: Master of Existential Suspense

Alfred Hitchcock: 1899-1980

There were, at the minimum, two Alfred Hitchcocks. The "master of suspense" was pleased to be generally understood simply as a creator of elegant entertainments that stylishly, wittily induced the only anxiety attacks that a citizen of the Age of Anxiety could actually anticipate with pleasure. This image the rotund, British-born director shaped and nurtured almost as fussily as he did his films. In interviews he invariably doled out the same handful of childhood anecdotes and adult insights into himself, all reinforcing...

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