Movie star Leigh (There Really Was a Hollywood, 1984) teams with freelancer Nickens (Brando, not reviewed) to give the real dish on the making of her most famous film, one of Alfred Hitchcock's masterpieces. Of all Hitchcock's films, perhaps none has engendered more interest, more imitators, or more misconceptions than Psycho. Leigh, who was top-billed in the film although she is killed off after only a third of its running time, determined to set the record straight. To that end, she and Nickens interviewed a few of the surviving participants, including assistant director Hilton Green, screenwriter Joseph Stefano, and actor John Gavin. (Conspicuous by their absence are actors Vera Miles and Martin Balsam.) In the Leigh-Nickens version of the making of the film, Hitch set out to reclaim his title as king of fright after seeing a series of low-budget black-and-white films made by the likes of William Castle and Roger Corman. He was intrigued by Robert Bloch's novel, acquired the rights, and set about making a film on a small budget and short shooting schedule, using his television show's crew for that purpose. Understandably, Leigh chooses to focus much of her attention on the parts of the filming for which she was present, including the famous shower scene, but that leaves the book rather lopsided. Along the way, readers do pick up some amusing tidbits—the model for the Bates mansion was a house on the Kent State campus that would later serve as home for its SDS chapter; virtually all of the shots of Marion Crane in the shower are Leigh, not a body double as some have claimed. Unfortunately, too much of the book reads like a transcript of interviews, and Nickens's prologue, giving the background to the film's making, is hackneyed and awkward. For Hitchcock buffs a boon, but a disappointing effort that should have been better. (50 b&w photos) (Author tour)

Pub Date: June 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-517-70112-X

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Harmony

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1995

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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