Partners in suspense

Critical essays on Bernard Herrmann and Alfred Hitchcock

For a decade from 1955, Alfred Hitchcock worked almost exclusively with one composer: Bernard Herrmann. From The Trouble with Harry to the bitter spat surrounding Torn Curtain, the partnership gave us some of cinema’s most memorable musical moments, taught us to stay out of the shower, away from heights and never to spend time in corn fields. Consequently, fascination with their work and relationship endures fifty years later. This volume of new, spellbinding essays explores their tense working relationship as well as their legacy, from crashing cymbals to the sound of The Birds.

The volume brings together new work and new perspectives on the relationship between Hitchcock and Herrmann. Featuring new essays by leading scholars of Hitchcock’s work, including Richard Allen, Charles Barr, Murray Pomerance, Sidney Gottlieb, and Jack Sullivan, the volume examines the working relationship between the pair and the contribution that Herrmann’s work brings to Hitchcock’s idiom. Examining key works, including The Man Who Knew Too Much, Psycho, Marnie and Vertigo, the collection explores approaches to sound, music, collaborative authorship and the distinctive contribution that Herrmann’s work with Hitchcock brought to this body of films.

Partners in Suspense examines the significance, meanings, histories and enduring legacies of one of film history’s most important partnerships. By engaging with the collaborative work of Hitchcock and Herrmann, the essays in the collection examine the ways in which film directors and composers collaborate, how this collaboration is experienced in the film text, and the ways such a partnership inspires later work.

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