Alfred Hitchcock: A Life In Darkness and Light

may be the best biography of a film director ever written.  Long
and detailed, filled with fascinating information about all aspects of
Hitchcock's life and films, it's also a great read, almost as
entertaining as a Hitchcock film.

There have been two previous full-scale biographies of the director. 
by John Russell Taylor, was published in Hitchcock's lifetime and with
his cooperation — it sets forth the basic facts without delving too
deeply into problematic areas.  Donald Spoto's well-known
The Dark Side Of Genius,
published a couple of years after the director's death, was more
detailed and uninhibited but, as its title suggests, had a somewhat
slanted point of view.  It marshaled evidence and highlighted it
in such a way as to expose primarily the neurotic and malicious side of
the man.

Patrick McGilligan, as his title suggests, tries for a more balanced
view, and specifically challenges many of Spoto's interpretations of
events and sources, while treading fearlessly into territory that
Taylor avoided.

None of the books solves the mystery of Hitchcock's genius and art,
because genius and art are mysteries without solutions, but in
McGilligan one finds a plausible Hitchcock, one that contains all the
complexity and contradiction of the films themselves, the darkness and
the light.

It's a terrific achievement.

[Apologies for the web log's disappearance for a couple of days — it
exceeded its allotted bandwidth     . . . too many visitors!  I think
the problem has been solved, and thanks for the interest!]