The Films in My Life, by Francois Truffaut
Hitchcock, by Francois Truffaut
Review by Jeffrey M. Anderson
Buy The Films in My Life, by Francois Truffaut
Buy Hitchcock, by Francois Truffaut
I doubt anyone loved films as much as Truffaut did. At least if they
did, they didn't write about them with such enthusiasm and passion. The
Films In My Life reprints some of Truffaut's great film reviews and
essays from the 50's and early 60's from Cahiers du Cinema.
The reviews are grouped by director, (the first chapter is called "The
Big Secret" and contains Truffaut's dozen favorites), influence, and
country. I found only one negative review, for Anastasia (1956).
Otherwise, Truffaut writes beautifully about Hitchcock's The Birds,
Hawks' Scarface, Welles' Citizen Kane and Touch
of Evil, Ulmer's The Naked Dawn, and Ray's Johnny
Guitar, among others. He even reviews some of his French New Wave
contemporaries' films. Other essays are on James Dean and Humphrey Bogart.
The Films In My Life is my personal favorite film book.
Though Hitchcock did many interviews and had a distinct public persona,
he rarely opened up to interviewers. Peter Bogdanovich's great interviews
notwithstanding, this is the essential book on Alfred Hitchcock and a model
for many other such interview books to come (such as the recent Billy Wilder
interview book by Cameron Crowe). Truffaut edits the interviews in chronological
order of the release dates of the films. Sometimes he gets Hitch to go into
great detail about his films, and at other times the Master simply dismisses
them. There's a detailed and complete Hitchcock filmography and dozens of
great pictures. (Note: beware of used copies of the previous edition. Truffaut
completed the book for the first time after Torn Curtain in
1966. After that, Hitch released three more movies and Truffaut updated
the book to include Topaz, Frenzy and Family
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