Alma Lucy Reville was born 14 August 1899 in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England, United Kingdom to Matthew Edward Reville (1863-1928) and Lucy Owen (1866-) and died 6 July 1982 Bel Air, California, United States of unspecified causes. She married Alfred Joseph Hitchcock (1899-1980) 2 December 1926 in Brompton Oratory, London, England, United Kingdom.



Children


Offspring of Alfred Hitchcock and Alma Lucy Reville (1899-1982)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Patricia Alma Hitchcock (1928)

Alma Lucy Reville, Lady Hitchcock (14 August 1899 – 6 July 1982), was an English film director, screenwriter and editor.[1] She is best known for her work with Alfred Hitchcock, whom she married in December 1926.[1]

Early Life

She was born in Nottinghamshire, England, the second daughter of Matthew Edward and Lucy Reville (née Owen).

The family moved to London when Reville was young, as her father got a job at Twickenham Film Studios; Reville often visited her father at work and eventually got a job there as a tea girl. At 16, she was promoted to the position of cutter, which involved assisting directors in editing the motion pictures. Reville continued to work there as a script writer and a director's assistant. These roles enabled her to contribute and become involved with a part of filmmaking that very few women had access to at the time.[2]

The studio closed in 1919, but Alma Reville was given a job at Paramount's Famous Players-Lasky, an American motion picture company in Islington, where she met her husband, Alfred Hitchcock. The same company gave him a job as a graphic designer before he became an art editor.[2] Alma worked on British films with such directors as Berthold Viertel and Maurice Elvey, though her main focus was her husband’s work. The first film Reville worked on with Hitchcock was in 1923 when Hitchcock received the role of assistant director for the film Woman to Woman. Reville had just lost her job from the studios, so Hitchcock hired her as an editor.[2]

She converted to Roman Catholicism from Protestantism before their marriage.[3] Alma was just one day younger than her husband. They married on 2 December 1926 at Brompton Oratory in London. Their daughter Patricia Hitchcock was born on 7 July 1928. Alma became Hitchcock's collaborator and sounding board, with a keen ear for dialogue and an editor's sharp eye for scrutinising a film's final version for continuity flaws so minor they had escaped Hitchcock and his crew's notice. It was Reville who noticed Janet Leigh inadvertently breathing after her character's fatal encounter with Norman Bates's mother in Psycho (1960), necessitating an alteration to the negative.

Career

Throughout the 50-year duration of Alma Reville's marriage to her husband, she worked alongside him, heavily influencing his work with her opinion, yet in later years she received less credit for her influences upon the films. Peggy Robertson, hired to be Hitchcock's assistant, noticed how much work Reville was doing for her husband and said that the amount of work that Reville contributed should have amounted to co-authorship. Reville produced many film treatments as well as working on and re-working most of Hitchcock’s scripts, including: Rebecca, Foreign Correspondent (1940), Suspicion (1941) and Saboteur (1942).[4]

Reville co-wrote The Ring in 1927; that was the first screenwriting credit she shared with Hitchcock. Her ambition made her want to become a director herself but the birth of her daughter, Patrica Alma, on July 7th 1928 and their move to America changed her plans. Due to the birth of their daughter, Hitchcock hired Joan Harrison in 1935 as his assistant, and she took over many of Reville’s jobs within the production. Therefore Reville focused primarily on preparing and adapting her husband’s scripts. [5]

There were many scripts that Reville worked on for Hitchcock in Hollywood, including Suspicion, which was not released as it was a troubled project, The Paradine Case, Stage Fright, and I Confess, which was made on Reville’s initiative. There was a narrative pattern in the films adapted by Reville; they all included the betrayal of a woman by a man. This was thought to have reflected her relationship with her husband because of the attitude and the fact their marriage was reportedly celibate after the birth of their daughter as Hitchcock had many romantic fantasies attached to a number of attractive blondes in his films. [5]

By the 1950s, Reville was pushed to the background because Hitchcock’s confidence and power reached its zenith. Yet she was still highly relied on by Hitchcock for her judgments on potential films and he needed her to help with the editing process of the production.[5]

For example, in the famous shower scene in Psycho (1960), the dramatic music by Bernard Herrmann that is played over the stabbing was chosen by Reville. Yet, she had to persuade Hitchcock to keep the music in the scene as he did not want it to begin with, his belief in Reville is what let the music stay in the scene. Mr Gervasi, a film professor at the University of California, said “I don’t think people in general have any idea the degree to which she contributed to Hitchcock’s genius. But she wasn’t interested in the limelight. She recognized her role. She recognized that Alfred Hitchcock was Alfred Hitchcock. She just wanted to make his films a little greater.”[6]

Alma collaborated with Joan Harrison to create the script for Suspicion, which was completed on November 28, 1940. They worked on the script in the Hitchcocks' home in Bel Air as Hitchcock preferred writing within a comfortable and intimate environment rather than an office. This setting is less formal meaning there was less chance for her work to be officially documented.[7]

Death

Alma Reville died at the age of 82, two years after Hitchcock's death. She is buried in Los Angeles, California, United States.

She was played by Imelda Staunton in The Girl (2012),[1] and by Helen Mirren in Hitchcock (2012).[1] Staunton was nominated for a BAFTA and a Primetime Emmy for her performance, while Mirren was nominated for a BAFTA, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award.

Selected filmography

Screenwriter

Co-author of Screenplays

The Constant Nymph, 1928. The First Born, 1928. After the Verdict, 1929. A Romance of Seville, 1929. The Outsider, 1931. Sally in Our Alley, 1931. The Water Gipsies, 1932. Nine till Six, 1932. Forbidden Territory, 1934. The Passing of the Third Floor Back, 1935. It's in the Bag, 1945. [5]

Screenplays with Husband; Alfred Hitchcock

The Ring, 1927. Juno and the Paycock, 1929. Murder, 1930. The Skin Game, 1931. Rich and Strange, 1931. Number Seventeen, 1932. Waltzes from Vienna, 1934. The 39 Steps, 1935. The Secret Agent, 1936. Sabotage, 1936. Young and Innocent, 1937. The Lady Vanishes, 1938. Jamaica Inn, 1939. Suspicion, 1941. Shadow of a Doubt, 1943. The Paradine Case, 1947. Stage Fright, 1950. I Confess, 1953[5]

References

  1. ^ a b c d Anderson, John (16 November 2012). "Alfred Hitchcock’s Secret Weapon Becomes a Star". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/18/movies/hitchcock-and-the-girl-remember-alma-reville.html?_r=0. 
  2. ^ a b c "Alma Reville Biography". A&E Television Networks. http://www.biography.com/people/alma-reville-21014017. 
  3. ^ Adair, Gene. Alfred Hitchcock: Filming Our Fears. Oxford University Press, 2002. ISBN 0-19-511967-3
  4. ^ Leitch, Thomas; Poague, Leland (2011-03-01) (in en). A Companion to Alfred Hitchcock. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9781444397314. https://books.google.com/books?id=ePMxuoC5kTYC. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Unterburger, Amy.L (1999). St James Woman Filmmakers Encyclopedia. pp. 349-351. 
  6. ^ Anderson, John (2012-11-16). "‘Hitchcock’ and ‘The Girl’ Remember Alma Reville". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/18/movies/hitchcock-and-the-girl-remember-alma-reville.html. 
  7. ^ Osteen, Mark (2014-03-14) (in en). Hitchcock and Adaptation: On the Page and Screen. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9781442230880. https://books.google.com/books?id=DZNFAwAAQBAJ. 

Further reading

  • Alma Hitchcock: The Woman Behind the Man by Patricia Hitchcock O'Connell and Laurent Bouzereau (Berkley, 2003)

External links

Siblings

Residences

Footnotes (including sources)

‡ General



Robin Patterson

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