Strange how an investigation of the Master of Suspense and his world can be so humdrum, but closing with four term papers...

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WRITING WITH HITCHCOCK

THE COLLABORATION OF ALFRED HITCHCOCK AND JOHN MICHAEL HAYES

Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Dial “T” for Tedium.

The collaboration between director Alfred Hitchcock and screenwriter John Michael Hayes resulted in one masterpiece, Rear Window, and three lesser films: To Catch a Thief, The Trouble with Harry, and the 1956 remake of The Man Who Knew Too Much. From this launching point, former film archivist DeRosa regales the reader with tried-and-true Hollywood tales: the egos, the geniuses, and the hacks all battling to get their movies made while madness runs amok around them. For each of the four films Hitchcock and Hayes created together, DeRosa explores the evolution from story to screenplay, the pre-production hassles, the filming of the movie, and the night of the grand premiere. Some interesting moments are captured in these pages, such as the team’s drunken first meeting and their final conflict, which had to be resolved by the Writer's Guild. Many other sections, including the comparative biographies (both had two siblings and an early interest in movies!), fall flat. The final chapter contains four essays—“The Cinematic Language of Rear Window,” “Visual and Verbal Motifs in To Catch a Thief,” “The Act of Confessing in The Trouble with Harry,” and “The Structure of the Unexpected in The Man Who Knew Too Much” —that appear to have fallen accidentally into DeRosa's volume from a graduate seminar on Hitchcock. Two appendices, one listing the credits for each movie, the other a New York Times essay by Hayes on adapting novels into films, conclude the book on a useful and informative note.

Strange how an investigation of the Master of Suspense and his world can be so humdrum, but closing with four term papers will accomplish just that. (16 pages b&w photos)

Pub Date: July 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-571-19990-9

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Faber & Faber/Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2001

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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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