Mrs Alfred Hitchcock: 'The Unsung Partner' - Telegraph
'Hitchcock' examines the relationship between “Alfred Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins)” and his wife, “Alma Reville” (Helen Mirren), during the. Alma Lucy Reville, Lady Hitchcock (14 August – 6 July ), was an English-American screenwriter and editor, best known for her work with Alfred. Hitchcock's better half: Alma Reville stands behind Alfred Hitchcock But they had an incredibly close and creative relationship on every level.
Alma Reville was born on August 14 the same year. Although she was younger by just one day it often seemed that Hitchcock viewed Alma as his superior, deferring to her in many aspects of his films and seeking her approval as a schoolboy does from a teacher.
After leaving school Hitchcock worked for a company making electrical cables while taking courses in art. A lma Reville was a pretty, vivacious tomboy only 5ft tall, with bobbed reddish hair and hazel eyes. She was an editor at the film studio Famous Players-Lasky where Hitchcock worked writing titles while studying engineering at London University.
She had entered the movie trade five years before him.
The woman behind Alfred Hitchcock
While he still felt little better than an errand boy, she was already an experienced film cutter and script editor. According to Patrick Gilligan in his book Alfred Hitchcock: Alma recalled how he strolled across the set with his characteristic deadpan expression, paused to ask directions from her before disappearing without a word.
He waited four years before speaking to her again. They started going out together in a manner that was restrained, even by the moral codes of the era.
His sexuality, hampered by his appearance and weight, was more complex than most. Although his interest in sex was clear, it was as a spectator rather than a participant. The voyeur and the embryonic director were beginning to merge. Gilligan records that Alfred proposed to Alma on a storm-tossed ferry while returning from another shoot in Germany.
Alma was lying in a bunk, so seasick that she could barely speak, when he produced an engagement ring. From then on they worked as a double act, with Alma standing intently at his shoulder, script in hand, monitoring every second of the action. Following each take on set he would turn to her and ask: The success of their enduring relationship was based on professional respect. As a writer her films were often known for psychologically complex female characters, something Hitchcock admitted was not his strong suit.
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Hitchcock himself takes a significant amount of time out of his Lifetime Achievement Awards speech to credit Alma, first as a technician and craftsperson, and for her importance to his work. Alma's contributions do not excuse Hitchcock's behaviour. Some people like Tippi Hedren have even wondered how a woman as influential as Alma could "let it happen.
So where does that leave us as modern viewers? I think Alma Reville's influence is a reminder that no film is the product of a single man.
History often flattens classic film productions and reduces them to the simplest vision, especially a male one. A "bad man" director can make a film less palatable, but it's always something to consider that there were dozens or hundreds more players involved that had a hand in crafting a film.
I find it easier to take another look at famously troubled productions like Psycho and The Birds with an eye for what Reville's influence may have been.
How might a talented writer, editor and master of continuity change what Hitchcock put on screen?