Monday, August 19, 2013

Alfred and Alma: Hitchcock was not alone

"Alma was to become Hitchcock's closest collaborator, but her contributions to his films (some of which were credited on screen) Hitchcock would discuss only in private, as she was keen to avoid public attention."

That being noted by one of the master of suspense biographers', I am keen to feel that it maybe was otherwise. Hitchcock was probably too egocentric; that's another suggestion that hides in a not quite recent biography by Stephen Rebello under the title Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho. The book was published in the nineties, but it got made into a film last year. Hitchcock (2012), features an obese (for the role's sake), but still not as much as needed, Anthony Hopkins in the title character and Helen Mirren as Alma, the director's invisible wife and collaborator. 

Weird enough, but I've never heard of that poor wife, until I watched the film. That great wife. Brave wife. I've heard numerous stories about Hitchcock's obsession with his blondes, probably exaggerated, annoying stories. I took it that he was apparently not married, to have the recklessness to allow his obsessions to become public. But, no. He was married all the way, and his supportive wife was there for him, put up with his fantasies and even helped him when things got rough career-wise.

Hitchcock (2012) is an enjoyable film per se, even if no matter how much he was obliged to devour in the name of art, Hopkins bears no resemblance to the original whatsoever. Mirren plays with strength and conviction Alma's Reville character and Scarlett Johansson is equally sweet and full of charm under the skin of Janet Leigh. The director's interaction with his serial killer of a protagonist in Psycho is interesting; the soundtrack by "hottest Hollywood's composer" and Tim Burton's collaborator Danny Elfman has value in itself. 

But, these are not reasons enough to watch yet another biopic. Curiosity to see how a talented, active woman surrendered her career to her husband's genius and folly, that became a good reason for me; it might be a valid one for you, too. And this could be a note (or an ode) to all those brave women behind some of the greatest men of our times.

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