Alfred Hitchcock's reputation as a filmmaker was already on the rise when he died 32 years ago. Since then it has consistently (and rightly) grown ever greater. At the same time, his reputation as a person has taken a lot of blows ... whether rightly or not is a determination way above my pay grade. It's significant that Donald Spoto's biography — the first Hitchcock bio to be published after his death — was subtitled “The Dark Side of Genius.”
Sacha Gervasi's new “Hitchcock” is technically based on Stephen Rebello's “Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho,” but it draws on decades of lore about the great director's obsessions — the most disturbing being his attempts to win the love of the young blond actresses he repeatedly cast.
Gervasi's movie opens with Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins, in a fat suit and a bald wig) basking in the critical and commercial success of “North by Northwest,” his 46th feature in 35 years. In the public's mind, it's the ultimate “Hitchcock movie” — although such a concept is an insult to the breadth of his work. It also guarantees that any future films will be seen as disappointing. He decides to make a 180-degree pivot from the glossy, witty style of “North by Northwest” by making a relatively low-budget horror film from Robert Bloch's novel “Psycho.” The rest, as they say, is film history.