The film "Hitchcock" revealed the key but little-known role of his wife, Alma Reville, so finally she's getting a festival of her own, at the American Film Institute's AFI Silver Theatre near Washington, from Feb. 3 through Apr. 10.
"Mr. and Mrs. Hitchcock", which includes "Psycho", a background plot for the "Hitchcock" movie, offers nine films they created together, plus one silent written by Reville but not directed by Hitchcock.
The "suspenseful melodrama 'The First Born' makes for intriguing comparisons," AFI says. The silent movie was directed by Miles Mander, who also wrote it, starred in it, and produced it 85 years ago.
The others are "Hitchcock films with screenplays credited to Reville (she declined credit on dozens more, as did her husband, despite the extensive work done by both of them on the scripts for nearly all of Hitchcock’s films)," AFI notes.
For "Strangers on a Train", Reville's and Cook's other collaborators included the famed crime novelist Raymond Chandler, and renowned Hollywood and Broadway writer Ben Hecht (uncredited). Its most quotable line: "Criss-cross. I'll kill yours, you kill mine."
For "Stage Fright", Reville and Cook were the only two screenwriters. Even better than the script is the cast: Jane Wyman, a.k.a. the first Mrs. Ronald Reagan; Michael Wilding, a.k.a. the second Mr. Liz Taylor; Marlene Dietrich; Sybil Thorndike; Alastair Sim; and the Hitchcock's only child, Patricia, in her first film role.
Patricia wrote, in "Alma Hitchcock: The Woman Behind the Man" (Berkley/Penguin), that her father "made all the important decisions with Alma as his closest collaborator."
Hitch himself made this rare acknowledgment in his acceptance speech for the AFI Life Achievement Award in 1979, "I beg permission to mention by name only four people who have given me the most affection, appreciation and encouragement, and constant collaboration. The first of the four is a film editor, the second is a scriptwriter, the third is the mother of my daughter Pat, and the fourth is as fine a cook as ever performed miracles in a domestic kitchen. And their names are Alma Reville."
For more info: "Mr. and Mrs. Hitchcock", AFI Silver Theatre, www.afi.com/silver, 8633 Colesville Road at Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, Maryland, 301-495-6700. For more info about Reville and Hitchcock, check the American Film Institute Catalog of Feature Films.