What readers are saying aboutHitch&Alma:
"I enjoyed reading Mr. Schoen=s Hitch&Alma very much. I found it exceptionally sophisticated, witty and effective." -Martin Scorsese
"Perhaps Robert Schoen should come clean and admit Hitch & Alma is really a fantasy novel POSING as a screenplay. I read it twice, greatly enjoying its humor, imagination, boldness and acute insights. The story centers on Hitchcock=s relations with the women in his life - his wife Alma, his mother, and his leading ladies - all told with a stimulating mixture of speculation and known fact that often convinced me that Schoen has put his finger on the very truth.
AI rate Schoen=s knowledge and appreciation of Hitchcock=s films highly. Hitch&Alma deserves a big success among Hitch aficionados.@
-Ken Mogg, Editor of 'The MacGuffin' journal and Web site.
"I found Hitch&Alma very inventive and a pleasure to read. This will be a must for any Hitchcock fan -- and I hope the beginning of a real exploration of what Alfred and Alma were like as a team."
- Dan Auiler, author of The Making of Vertigo, A Hitchcock Classic
"As a dyed-in-the-wool Hitchcockian, I found it absorbing. I applaud your very apparent seriousness of intent and your serious, mature appreciation of Hitchcock's work. This marks the third work I've read with Hitchcock and Alma as the main characters, but the first that attempts to speculate on their idiosyncratic day-to-day rhythms, tensions, and dynamic. Another plus.
"I really like the idea of cut, "secret" scenes, although it strains credibility. Actors would have talked. Film technicians, makeup people, etc. - all notoriously gossipy -- would have talked. Someone would have found them. In any case, your accomplishments are already considerable and very admirable. I applaud you. The very best of luck with this."
- Stephen Rebello, author of Alfred Hitchcock and The Making of Psycho
"I'm grateful for having had the chance to read Hitch&Alma--I found it entertaining, inventive, and insightful. While we can't know all the facts of Alfred and Alma's relationship, I think you've gotten at the heart and spirit of it, and true Hitchcock fans will find the byplay between husband and wife--and with the likes of Grace and Cary--fascinating. I also enjoyed reading your "Reincarnation and Hitchcock" article for the 'MacGuffin,' which opened some new doors for me--I particularly liked the idea of links between the films, something begun in one film and brought to fruition in another.
- Dr. Greg Garrett, Baylor University, organizer of 1996 Hitchcock Symposium, and this years Centennial events in Los Angeles
"I finished "Hitch & Alma" this afternoon. Firstly, I want to thank you for the rare privilege of reading such a work. I enjoyed it a great deal. It was funny, bittersweet and insightful (in a round-about way). I admired many aspects of the novel/screenplay, especially the non-linear narrative. I felt this was a very crucial ingredient to the success of the work. Memorable moments from Hitch's life floated in and out. It was all very well-balanced. Indeed, all of the major "notorious" moments were there - from his imprisonment as a boy to his infatuations with Bergman, Kelly, Hedren; his breakup with Benny Herrmann and his childhood with his over-protective mother. In addition to being very entertaining, the screenplay is also very informative (although one has to take it all with a pinch of salt!).
"It also provides a cohesive exploration of the recurring themes in the Hitchcock canon - guilt, murder, obsession, the mother figure, the dominance of the male, etc. These are all cleverly (and I daresay truthfully) revealed to be aspects of Hitch's personality.
"I admire your bold courage in pursuing such an original and, I would suppose, controversial idea. I am sure some will be outraged by the liberty you have taken with the truth. But in the end, the work is a well-rounded, humourous and poignant tribute to a great artist (and his life-long partner).
"Hitch's famous self-appreciation of being an "enigma wrapped inside a mystery" seems to be very true. However, as the composer Aaron Copland said, "If it's in the art, it's in the man". I agree that Hitch's true personality - his obsessions, his humour - is evident in his films. Numerous biographers have tackled the enigma of Hitchcock, but few have so directly used his films as (veiled) autobiographical references. You should be heartily congratulated for your new and original "rhapsody on a life by Alfred Hitchcock".
"I also want to mention that the dialogue was excellent throughout - and very funny. You have a gift for corny jokes, Robert! I have already mentioned (some months ago) my delight at the jokes after the screening of the alternate "Vertigo" finale. I think that the dialogue of the various characters is also very accurate. In this situation,this is crucial to add at least some measure of believability to the screenplay. Jimmy Stewart's "darned tootin'" was funny. Pity there were no "gee whiz!"'s. But that's a quibble. I could imagine the various voices throughout (I had to create Alma's voice on my own).
"In addition to the humourous aspects of the story, I suppose that it is only fitting that the serious, disturbing elements of Hitch's past are featured. Surely things in his childhood influenced his art as an adult. I like the way Hitchcock had the ability to see into the soul of the disgusting priest - the same way he could see everything as the god-like director of his films.
"I felt that the the swimming pool ending was sensational. A masterful stroke (no pun intended...oh, what the hell!). It is nice that the film/book ended on such an impressive note.
"I don't know if I could ever foresee this being filmed, however. On paper it works so well. But how could you possibly get the actors who would play the parts? Perhaps in the future they will be able to re-create the characters digitally - so that's a possibility. But in our imagination we can see Hitch, Grace Kelly, Jimmy Stewart, etc. And
you have done as Hitchcock would have liked to - make films on paper.
"In any case, I wish you the greatest success with the book. It deserves success. You have obviously laboured intensely for a long time. I wonder whether this book is a reflection of you?....only kidding!"
- Matthew Gear, Webmaster of Twelve Mile Reef, The Cat's Lair, and Milos Roska Web sites
"Finished Hitch & Alma today. What a ride! Technically, this is one of the best unproduced screenplays I've ever read. I can see some huge hurdles to getting this script onto the screen, but you should be congratulated for a good story well told.
"Usually I give notes on a whole lot of stuff that I think isn't done well, and give examples of how I think they can be improved, but your script is so accomplished these are going to be more along the lines of letting you know what didn't play for me and you can make of it what you will. If this were a normal fictional spec, I would advise getting rid of your more poetic literary language and all of the overt symbolism. However, considering your subject matter (and I was tremendously impressed by your research, by the way), I think it's appropriate in this case.
"1) your script is very well-written and 2) most of the rules I usually espouse can be broken in this kind of script, so I'm out of my "comfort zone" of critical reading. I really enjoyed reading this, and want to go rent all of the Hitchcock movies this weekend. Your writing rides that fine line between simplicity (for those like me who aren't Hitch buffs) and complexity (for those like you who are). Well done."
- Steven Barr, screenwriter
"Overall, I really enjoyed reading Hitch&Alma. The recreation scenes were thoroughly entertaining, the look back at the young Hitch's life was on the most part well done.
You certainly seemed to have caught Hitchcock's speech patterns (at least what I remember from seeing some of those ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS introductions. It read like it was well researched (I certainly hope it was) and made me interested enough to want to know more about Hitchcock's life."
- Iain Gibson, Screenwriter
I read Hitch&Alma last night and absolutely loved it. I thought the structure was very effective, the dialogue was some of the best I've read in quite a while, and the story itself was absolutely captivating. Though I doubt it will be, I only hope this script is still available someday if and when I have enough clout to option it myself. The Hitchcock movies were woven extremely well into the script, as were the interviews with Truffaut (casting idea--Edward Norton?).
"I'll leave you with just one major cart before the horse idea: The early trailers for the movie version(coming February 2000). Just show the opening scene, up to Hitchcock's first line ("...don't you like happy endings?") the Vertigo savvy moviegoers thoughts would be along these lines: "What the Hell? They're remaking Vertigo? Is this Van Sant? I'm going to kill that guy! ... hey, what's going on? JESUS! Look what he did to that nun! I can't believe! They changed the ending? What is this? No, don't kiss her, that's not right! What the....is that supposed to be Hitchcock? Huh?"
"HITCH AND ALMA .... FEBRUARY 2000 "Oh....cool." The End."
-Paul Allor, screenwriter
"...Frankly, I didn't think a convincing biography on Hitchcock could be presented in this manner. But Hitch&Alma almost uses a biographical narrative as an excuse to get at the heart of what Hitchcock's art is all about: the marriage of private metaphor to the popular media of cinema.
"Schoen points out many fascinating overlooked details from the films, such as the little boy who puts his fingers in his ears, just before Eva Marie Saint "shoots" Cary Grant in Mount Rushmore's cafeteria. Hitch&Alma has beautifully written dialogue in the authentic voices of stars like Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, Jimmy Stewart and Hitch himself. Schoen is to be congratulated on a job well done."
"Just finished your reading script, and I enjoyed it very much. I became increasingly surprised as I read on at how much your work resembles a Hitchcock film. The dialogue is terse and to the point, as Hitch's films obviously favored as well. The whole thing moves with an economy that again reminds me of the films of your subject.
"I was struck by your use of imagery. Hitch was known for being less than understated at times (in my opinion) and again you seem to have captured this too. In each case, the implications of your visual metaphors are quite obvious, perhaps even too much so, however because of their importance to your overall theme, they are quite effective.
"Your script appears to be quite psychological in its content. I truly enjoyed your 'recreations' of Grant and Stewart, two men whom you manage to keep in character with great dialogue. I was especially impressed with the lines you wrote for each. NEVER make this a picture - you'd have a hell of a time casting!!!"
-John Couke, Webmaster of The Definitive Alfred Hitchcock Links Site
"Very nice site indeed. Love this background music! I just read the alternate ending to Vertigo, where Jimmy Stewart pushes the nun off the tower. Like a cross between the ends of Vertigo and North By Northwest. That is so funny, pal. You're a brilliant comedian. ('Miss Novak projects everything way out, rather like her sweater'). I love this. Is the Hitchcock estate going to allow this? 'I used to be your right hand. Now you just use your own' hahahaha. This is great."
-Matthew Gear, Webmaster of Twelve Mile Reef and The Cat's Lair: To Catch a Thief
"You write in the introduction of the reading sample from your book: 'Mercifully, he never saw the procession of Psycho 2-5, or the Gus Van Sant remake of his original Psycho.'
"There never was a PSYCHO V. I don't know who started this rumor and why it continues to be spread. Perkins was on his deathbed, not working on this movie, when he died. PSYCHO II and III were not nearly as bad as everyone suggests. Of course the second is far inferior to Hitchcock, but I believe he would have liked the third very much (the one Perkins directed) because it didn't try to stand on his shoulders for effect."
- Roy Shabda
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(About the music on this site: These sound clips are selections from Bernard Herrmann's great film music. This page plays the Title Theme from The Snows of Kilimanjaro.)
A reading sample from Hitch&Alma:
An interview with author of Hitch&Alma, Robert Schoen
Did Hitch have a secret collection of Outtakes? Some Photos and Posters:
Alma, the woman behind a very large man:
Hitchcock's Other Leading Ladies:
The Mother in Hitchcock's films:
Hitch & Herrmann, artists with the same obsessive vision:
Hitch at Work:
The Perfect English Couple:
Fine Art and Hitchcock:
Events during the Hitchcock Centennial:
Book description and how to order a copy of Hitch&Alma:
Links to other Great Hitchcock Web Sites: