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It's Only a Movie: Alfred Hitchcock: A Personal Biography

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  374 ratings  ·  43 reviews
In his films, Alfred Hitchcock found the perfect expression for his fantasies, and he shared those fantasies with the world in such classics as 'The 39 Steps', 'Rear Window', 'North by Northwest', 'Vertigo', 'Psycho', and 'The Birds'.

In 'It's Only a Movie', Charlotte Chandler draws from her conversations with Hitchcock, allowing him to speak for himself, offering revealing
Paperback, 368 pages
Published March 2nd 2005 by Pocket Books (first published 2005)
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3.76  · 
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 ·  374 ratings  ·  43 reviews

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May 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography-memoir
Review of 'It's Only A Movie: Alfred Hitchcock a personal biography'
By Charlotte Chandler

Recommended for: Hitchcock fans,film buffs in general.

Hitchcock was nominated five times as best director, but never won an Oscar. He tried to make light of it:"(it's because) I don't look like an artist. I don't look like i've starved in a garret. But the real reason is that the suspence genre is not highly esteemed."
However, to his fans worldwide ,he remains the undisputed king of suspense genre & his
Nov 18, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If this biography is to be believed, Alfred Hitchcock was quite harsh with his writers. If their work didn’t capture the singular vision he had for his movies he had no hesitation in sending them on their way and handing the job on to another.
Well, I fear if he’d ever had the opportunity to read this version of his life, he would barely have made it through the first chapter before Ms Chandler was sent packing.
It’s not that she doesn’t have good material to impart - she clearly had great acces
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I re-read the paperback edition of this book, forgetting that I had already read it three years earlier - it must be an age thing! Anyway I enjoyed it more this time and improved on my original assessment to rate it four stars this time around.

The title is one of Hitchcock's - 'call me Hitch, without the cock' he would tell his actors - favourite phrases as he would use it when his actors were querying something or felt that they were doing something out of character. 'It's only a MOO-vie' (emph
Jan 31, 2018 rated it did not like it
I recently took a film scoring class and we studied the relationship between Bernard Herrmann and Alfred Hitchcock a lot and I got super interested in learning about the pair. I was studying Herrmann in depth for a project so I wanted to learn a little bit more about Hitchcock afterward.
Because this book is marketed as a biography I thought it would be super informative about the director. However, this book is more of just a glorified companion to his movies.
This book gives a lot of behind th
Christine Sinclair
I finally feel like I know Alfred Hitchcock, the man. Yes, he was a genius film director and we will always study his body of work, but he was also a person, and this book gives a great insight into what he was like, both at home and at work. Many great quotes here, plus a complete filmography which even includes the silent films for which he wrote the title cards at the start of his career. Definitely a must-read for his legion of admirers.
Dec 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alfred Hitchcock'a career in movies started when pictures first started moving. He was an incredible entertaining innovator.

Reading this book was like visiting the gentleman, and he turns out to be a very decent, cultured man.

The author has created a great combination of personal recollections, plot synopsis and history.
Jess George
Interesting, short biography of Alfred Hitchcock in which the author clearly had a lot of support and involvement from the man and his family, and lots of good gossip from the stars about working with Hitch. Made me want to read a more in-depth biography with more detail and analysis of his films!
Cherryl Northcutt Valdez
I was somewhat disappointed. I felt this was written more by Hitchcock than an impartial writer.
Feb 23, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
From this biography it is difficult to assess what kind of person Alfred Hitchcock really was. Opinions of him, from those who knew him well and worked with him, vary so much; some state that he was 'an actor's director' while others assert that he always referred to actors as 'cattle'.

He was undoubtely talented once he had gravitated to films from his humble beginnings in Leytonstone, east London and his legion of films, made in Britain, Germany and America, bare testimony to his capabilities.

Katie/Doing Dewey
Apr 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s Only a Movie is a very comprehensive biography, covering Hitchcock’s career from his beginnings as a title designer through the final movie he was never able to complete. Even the plots of his movies are included. Mostly though, this was an intimate portrait of the man, told through quotes from him and those who knew him.

At first I was afraid the prevalence of quotes in this book would mean an absence of facts. Instead, there were enough facts and stories outside the quotes that I felt like
Biography - 3.5 stars

"This is the best book ever written about my father. It really is amazing." - Patricia Hitchcock

These words on the cover were the deciding factor to read this book. As a long-time Hitchcock fan, particularly of his TV shows, it was a bit disappointing that the reader doesn't learn more about the man.

Based on this book, it may be that he was exactly as described -- a quiet, routine-loving, introvert. Hitchcock's most important collaborator and companion was his wife Alma. I w
Nov 25, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is more like an anecdotal biography. There are some facts and figures, and each film is given a synopsis and some background information, but the bulk of the book is made up of interviews' and table-discussions, which have so much detail in them that in some cases you suspect the author has dramatised them. This isn't a bad thing, necessarily, though she seems to forget that she's included a story in more than one place. And the interviewees too often repeat stuff that we've heard another a ...more
Kelly Millspaugh
Nov 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this biography of the legendary director. It gave insight into his personality from the actors and filmmakers who worked with him throughout his long career. The most interesting moments were about his techniques and tricks used in his films. I feel like most people who are called a "genius" in their field are also called strange, aloof, or unapproachable. Not everyone who worked with him adored him and their opinions were not censored. Tippi Hedren's famous conflict with Hitch ...more
This is a pretty good account of Alfred Hitchcock's career from the point of view of those who worked with him. It's definitely not a critical book in either sense of the word - I think the author is coming from a place of adoration and respect, so there's very little discussion of his relationships with his female stars. The really great thing about this book was the interviews the author did with the people who worked on Hitchcock's films from camera men to the actors in the film. It was fasci ...more
Oct 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A warm and engaging biography. The author moves through Hitchcock's life chronologically so this would also serve as an excellent companion as you watched his films. There are stories and tidbits surrounding each film and they can be read separately, alongside a viewing though there is a continuity from one to the next if you are reading it all at once (as I did). If anything, I would have preferred more stories from his personal life and relationships - the ones that are included are interestin ...more
Abdullah H.
Mar 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read many books about Sir Alfred Hitchcock.
And so much of the information in this book I had "heard" before.
But with 'It's only a movie', I learned some new secrets about the Master of Macabre.
What I also enjoyed was the way we were taken to every set of Hitchcock's films.
We were also taken to closed door meetings and I found myself sweating at one particular confrontation.
This book had funny moments, sad moments, happy and points that made you so mad; especially
learning the opinion one
May 27, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a really fun, readable bio of Hitchcock, and it's filled with personal interviews and anecdotes and little bits of info from all kinds of people who were involved in his movies. It seems like Ms. Chandler just collected stories from people about Hitchcock, and from the man himself, from the early sixties through 2000 or so and then published them in sequential order. That's really all the book is. The writing isn't all that great, and there isn't a lot of talk about his personal life. Bu ...more
Carolyne Borel
Miss Chandler is doing a pretty decent job in this personal biography of the Master of a suspense. Yet, at times, it feels like she is only cutting and pasting from certain articles. I enjoyed reading about her conversations with all of these famous people from the industry though, it is like reviving a lost era, even tho the transcripts are more subjective than truly objective I am afraid.
I would recommend this book as an easy read for a first timer wanting to know more about the great Hitch ("
Dave Hofer
The author of this book seemed very proud of the fact that she was able to interview a bunch of crusty, old celebrities. She also wasn't afraid to mention that Hitchcock didn't give a lot of direction to actors, loved the story-boarding process, and said "It's only a movie" from time to time . . . ABOUT FIVE TIMES PER CHAPTER.

I get it, already!

Otherwise - pretty cool book considering I've not seen but two of his movies, The Birds and North By Northwest. The latter being in fifth grade or somethi
Jackie "the Librarian"
Oct 09, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hitchcock fans
A fun personal look at Hitchcock with all his foibles, finickiness, and fondness for Dover sole. Lots of entertaining anecdotes about all Hitchcock's classic movies, such as Rear Window and Vertigo. This is a much more sympathetic portrait of the master of suspense than Spoto's The Dark Side of Genius .
I enjoyed reading about Alfred Hitchcock and his movies. I especially enjoyed reading what he said and also what other people said about their experiences working with him. The writing was a little annoying though, and there were a few times I wanted to stop reading because of it. However, if you are a big Alfred Hitchcock fan then I think you will still enjoy it. If you want to read a really enjoyable book on him though, I would highly recommend "Hitchcock on Hitchcock."
Mar 24, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: movie buffs
I enjoyed the bits about Hitchcock's life and his distinct, quirky personality but the play by play accounts of each of his movies got a bit tedious -- also some events/movies weren't too interesting & could have just as well been left out... I wound up not finishing it. I do think it's a fun book to dip into from time to time & it had a good life story full of fond (and fawning) anecdotes

Mark Glidden
A fine biography of the great Hitchcock, however those fans looking for a more in-depth look or study of his life and character, this would not shed all that much new light on his undoubtedly complex person.
Sep 16, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sandy by: Ron C
Shelves: biography
Interesting story of Hitchcock and his career in the film industry. I learned he was a family man--very dedicated to his wife and daughter, as well as an amazing film maker. The book includes short summaries of the his films--they do contain spoilers!
Apr 20, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pop-culture
Personal biography of Alfred Hitchcock. Great synopses of his movies. He sounded like a great man.
Feb 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Light reading but fun. Some funny anecdotes, good pictures and a little about each film. I enjoyed it.
Ray Hall
May 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book,it gave a brief summary of all his films and interviews with people who starred in them, also interviews with the great man himself.
Apr 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this when I was on holiday in Nice in 2011. Not quite a beach read, but I absolutely loved it! A fascinating insight into the life of a genius.
Feb 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating read with extremely interesting insights into the very likeable personality of Hitchcock and the movie making world.
Jan 21, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some good quotes from "Hitch" as well as anecdotes from various cast / crew members.
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