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Publisher's Summary

The story of the man who changed people’s relationships with their showers forever, thanks to Psycho, this is the classic, Edgar Award-winning biography of the enigmatic and intensely private Alfred Hitchcock. One of America’s greatest film directors, his suspenseful subject matter ranged from the dark drama of a man possibly trying to kill his wife, to the humorous problem of disposing of a body, to the ecological underpinnings of an attack by fowl fiends in a sleepy harbor town.
Acclaimed biographer Donald Spoto explores the roots of Hitchcock’s obsessions - with food, murder, and idealized love, among others - and traces the origins of his incomparable, bizarre genius, from his childhood and education to the golden years of his career. Based on interviews with his writers, actors, and longtime associates, and on exhaustive research, The Dark Side of Genius is the definitive biography of Alfred Hitchcock.
Donald Spoto is the author of more than 20 books, including best-selling biographies of Alfred Hitchcock, Tennessee Williams, Laurence Olivier, Marlene Dietrich, Ingrid Bergman, and Audrey Hepburn. He lives with his husband, Danish artist and school administrator Ole Flemming Larsen, near Copenhagen, Denmark.
©1983 Donald Spoto (P)1998 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"The finest book about a filmmaker yet. Sensational in its revelations; at the same time, a biography of unassailable integrity. I could not put it down." (Gregory Peck)
"Absolutely compulsory reading." (New York Times Book Review)
"A vivid and perceptive portrait…. Knowledgeable and revealing." (Time)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By bookbug on 12-24-12

Hitch's life and phobias keep you "Spellbound"

Having read this book decades ago, I was thrilled to purchase this audiobook. It's just as fascinating as I remembered. If you are looking for technical details of Hitchcock's movies, forget this one. However, if you want a psychological analysis of Hitch's life and his many phobias, you will be spellbound. Born the son of a Cockney grocer, Alfred Hitchcock began writing titles for silent movies. All Hitchcock's movies contain his fears, fascinations (especially with his leading ladies), and phobias. The author, Donald Spoto, was the first to dehumanize Hitch's genius by revealing his dark side, but somehow this makes future viewings of Hitchcock's films more fascinating.

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12 of 12 people found this review helpful


By Erik on 09-22-13

The Last Word

Any additional comments?

I first discovered Psycho when I was 9 years old, and the ride began. I'm 36 now and I've seen everything Hitchcock, read everything Hitchcock, and even subjected myself to a couple of embarrassing biopics (Hitchcock; The Girl). Donald Spoto's "The Dark Side of Genius" is, quite simply, the only source you'll ever need on him. All the others are just lovely picture books. <br/><br/>It's all here. The story of an artist with a grotesque sense of the world, who hid inside his body and behind his camera, fighting like hell to get it perfect every day of his life. He was funny, he was vicious, and he was charming. His films speak for him, but after reading this you'll have a greater sense of what's being said....and why. <br/><br/>Spoto's biography is not melodramatic, nor does it fall prey to camp or long perpetuated rumors. If you seek that, turn elsewhere, because this book only addresses the facts. Jeff Riggenbach's narration is also matter of fact and serves the material well. <br/><br/>All of that said, it's a delicious read. Enjoy.

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8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By barjil on 08-26-12

Spoiled by narrator

I listened to the trial reading before buying this book, which I was really interested to have. The narrator sounded OK for that brief time but since then I have had to stop listening after enduring five chapters. I am obviously used to American pronunciations such as Birming-HAM and could cope with some of the mispronounced names but he is going to call AH's wife Awlmah for 23+ hours, whereas she is Alma. But there are hideous mispronunciations of ordinary words and ultimately one is just waiting for them to happen and this destroys any possible enjoyment. Very disappointing as it's obviously a most interesting book - shall have to read it in print!

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful


By Stephen Amos on 06-08-16

great story, terrible production values.

This is an amazing story, a look into the mind and films of one of the greatest directors ever. It is well written and researched, however, the presentation is awful!

The narrator had a good voice but, occasionally, he pauses in the middle sentences for over 3 seconds (I timed him). This is really annoying, leading you to believe a new paragraph is about to begin when the sentence hasn't been finished.

On a number occasions there seems to be sentences missing, the narrative jumping from the middle of one sentence into another and towards the end the narrator tells us it is 'cassette 7'

Really shoddy, which, given the content , is especially disappointing.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Phil on 04-12-17

he dies!

he dies and the story stops dead! like final chapter is missing. funeral? legacy? the end.

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