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 I got a full picture of the Hitchcocks’ lives. The quotes also provided a broad, unbiased view of a man whose character seems to be somewhat controversial. The movie descriptions, on the other hand, should either have been done better or left out. They often sounded silly and I felt that crucial plot points were missing from many.
Fortunately, the many quotes were well-integrated into the rest of the book (or it might be more accurate to say that the rest of the book was well-integrated into the quotes!). I can’t know if it captured Hitchcock’s character accurately, but he certainly came across as an interesting and eccentric person. Although I can’t point to what might be missing, this felt like a lighter read than what I was looking for. It was, however, very enjoyable and I liked how much the book conveyed Hitchcock’s unique personality.This review first published on Doing Dewey.