The Women Behind Hitchcock

Series Site

(Resumed from Feb/Mar 2020)

Alfred Hitchcock always exhibited a keen appreciation for the creative powers of women (Daphne du Maurier, Sally Benson, Dorothy Parker, Jay Presson Allen, et al.), but two stand out. When he married Alma Reville (1899–1982) in 1926, she had already been working in films for a decade as both an actress and “cutter” (editor). She would become her husband’s closest collaborator, functioning — credited or uncredited — as “script girl,” story editor, film editor, assistant director, and screenwriter for the rest of their lives, while also writing films for others. Joan Harrison (1907–1994) became Hitch’s secretary in 1933, but soon began working with him on story development and screenplays, garnering Oscar nominations for two scripts. Later, as one of only three women producers in Hollywood in the 40s, she developed a flair for Film Noir. Reuniting with Hitch in the 50s, she became the producer and driving force behind his iconic TV series before retiring to a life alongside spy novel legend Eric Ambler. Christina Lane’s new book Phantom Lady: Hollywood Producer Joan Harrison, the Forgotten Woman Behind Hitchcock (Chicago Review Press), the first biography of the groundbreaking writer/producer, will be available at our concession during the festival.

Programmed by Bruce Goldstein.