Cinema: The Ghost of Alfred Hitchcock

Three new thrillers measure themselves against an old master

The question nags at directors of suspense movies: What would Hitch have done? Like Walt Disney with cartoons, Alfred Hitchcock was thought not just to have invented a film genre but to have patented it. His trademarks -- the mortician's wit, the danse-macabre pacing, the elegant economy of his editing -- entertained moviegoers and enlightened moviemakers for a half-century. It's not that nobody did it better, but that everybody did it his way. Everybody still does. Almost seven years after his death, Hitchcock's bluff majesty continues to influence and intimidate all those who would make crime pictures. The master is dead;...

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