The Camera Lies: Acting for Hitchcock

The Camera Lies: Acting for Hitchcock

by Dan Callahan


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The first book on Hitchcock that focuses exclusively on his work with actors

Alfred Hitchcock is said to have once remarked, "Actors are cattle," a line that has stuck in the public consciousness ever since. For Hitchcock, acting was a matter of contrast and counterpoint, valuing subtlety and understatement over flashiness. He felt that the camera was duplicitous, and directed actors to look and act conversely. In The Camera Lies, author Dan Callahan spotlights the many nuances of Hitchcock's direction throughout his career, from Cary Grant in Notorious (1946) to Janet Leigh in Psycho (1960). Delving further, he examines the ways that sex and sexuality are presented through Hitchcock's characters, reflecting the director's own complex relationship with sexuality.

Detailing the fluidity of acting — both what it means to act on film and how the process varies in each actor's career — Callahan examines the spectrum of treatment and direction Hitchcock provided well- and lesser-known actors alike, including Ingrid Bergman, Henry Kendall, Joan Barry, Robert Walker, Jessica Tandy, Kim Novak, and Tippi Hedren. As Hitchcock believed, the best actor was one who could "do nothing well" - but behind an outward indifference to his players was a sophisticated acting theorist who often drew out great performances. The Camera Lies unpacks Hitchcock's legacy both as a director who continuously taught audiences to distrust appearance, and as a man with an uncanny insight into the human capacity for deceit and misinterpretation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780197515327
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 09/01/2020
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 696,369
Product dimensions: 9.30(w) x 6.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Dan Callahan is the author of Barbara Stanwyck: The Miracle Woman, Vanessa: The Life of Vanessa Redgrave, The Art of American Screen Acting, 1912-1960, and The Art of American Screen Acting, 1960 to Today. He has written about film for Sight & Sound, Film Comment, Nylon, The Village Voice, and many other publications.

Table of Contents


Naughty Boys and The Pleasure Garden

The Mountain Eagle and The Lodger

Six More in Silence: The Ring, Downhill, The Farmer's Wife, Easy Virtue, Champagne, The Manxman


Juno and the Paycock, Murder!, Mary, Elstree Calling, The Skin Game

Rich and Strange, Number 17, Waltzes from Vienna

The Man Who Knew Too Much, The 39 Steps, Secret Agent, Sabotage

Young and Innocent, The Lady Vanishes, Jamaica Inn

Rebecca, Foreign Correspondent, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Suspicion

Saboteur, Shadow of a Doubt, Lifeboat, Spellbound

Notorious, The Paradine Case, Rope, Under Capricorn, Stage Fright

Strangers on a Train, I Confess

Dial M for Murder, Rear Window, To Catch a Thief, The Trouble with Harry, The Man Who Knew Too Much

The Wrong Man, Vertigo, North by Northwest, Psycho, The Birds, Marnie

Torn Curtain, Topaz, Frenzy, Family Plot, AFI award

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