Paperbacks: Hitchcock's Music, by John Sullivan

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The Independent Culture

"Please write nothing for the murder in the shower," Hitchcock told his composer. "That must be without music."

Fortunately, Bernard Herrmann, renowned for his legendary stubbornness, thought otherwise. Though Hitchcock initially got it wrong about Psycho, music was central in the work of the great auteur. From Mr Memory's jaunty tune in The 39 Steps to Hitchcock's suggestion of a wordless women's chorus that became the "most distinctive aspect" of John Williams's score for Family Plot, Sullivan's account is an excellent and revelatory addition to the literature of cinema.