Hitchcock à la Carte
Feeding the Legend
This chapter moves from public eating to home cooking as a strand intertwined with screen practices. From Hitchcock’s inaugural visit to the United States, it follows the trajectory of the reception as he negotiated contract options parallel to stuffing himself in Manhattan while spinning humorous yarns. A brief career sketch concerning his British years puts him on the gangplank to the Selznick studio. Keeping up his pranking marketing style in Hollywood, Hitchcock was enlisted by leading photo-journals, especially Life and Look, and for body-slanted railleries. The chapter discusses these little-known photo-essays parallel to the critical reception of Hitchcock’s cinema by highbrow critics on the cusp of his television engagement. Hitchcock’s body-accented cinema is analyzed in terms of mismatches between himself and his characters’ body profiles, invoking fat studies as well as notions of the grotesque. The chapter ends in the family kitchen, where gourmet food and thrillers are cooked up.