Laurent Bouzereau was more than a little reticent when a French publisher approached him to write a book on the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock.
“The subject matter,” he says, “has been done to death. I have 200 books myself on the man.” That’s including the two he’s written on the legendary filmmaker of such classics as “Rebecca,” “Notorious,” “Rear Window,” “Vertigo,” “North by Northwest” and “Psycho.”
But Bouzereau liked the publisher’s approach, which would feature rare photographs and other memorabilia from the Hitchcock family archive.
When the director’s daughter, Patricia Hitchcock O’Connell, and granddaughter saw the publisher’s book on rocker Jimi Hendrix, which featured the same format, “they were blown away by the quality,” says Bouzereau, who also does documentaries for DVDs. “We immediately referred to it as some kind of a museum that you could hold in your hand.”
“Hitchcock, Piece by Piece,” which is published in the U.S. by Abrams, examines Hitchcock’s work thematically, with chapters dealing with antiheroes, female characters and charismatic villains. But the real star of the book is the plethora of pictures of Hitchcock at home and at work, as well as facsimiles of everything from storyboards to telegrams, letters, postcards and passports.
“You get a sense of how European cinema influenced him and how much he did in Europe before coming to America,” Bouzereau says. “You get a sense of his humor at home, how much he loved dogs, how much he loved food … all of those things that are reflected in his movies. You have so many pictures that exist of him at the table with friends and then you watch his movies and there are so many scenes that take places around food, like in ‘Frenzy’ or ‘To Catch a Thief.’ It’s fascinating to me to compare the sort of parallels between his daily life and how it is so organic in his films.”