Alma Lucy Reville, Lady Hitchcock (14 August 1899 – 6 July 1982), was an English-American screenwriter and editor, best known for her work with Alfred Hitchcock, whom she married in December 1926.
Reville in November 1955
Alma Lucy Reville
14 August 1899
|Died||6 July 1982 (aged 82)|
|Occupation||Screenwriter, film director, film editor|
(m. 1926; died 1980)
She was born in Nottingham, the second daughter of Matthew Edward and Lucy (née Owen) Reville. 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. She continued to work there as a script writer and director's assistant. These roles enabled her to become involved with a part of film-making that very few women had access to at the time.
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 future husband, Alfred Hitchcock. The same company gave him a job as a graphic designer before he became an art editor. She worked on British films with such directors as Berthold Viertel and Maurice Elvey. 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.
Reville converted to Roman Catholicism from Protestantism before their marriage on 2 December 1926 at Brompton Oratory in London. Reville was just one day younger than Hitchcock. Their only child, a daughter, Patricia, was born on 7 July 1928. Reville 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 the notice of Hitchcock and/or his crew. It was Reville who noticed Janet Leigh inadvertently breathing after her character's fatal encounter in Psycho (1960), necessitating an alteration to the negative.
Reville co-wrote The Ring in 1927; that was the first screenwriting credit she shared with Hitchcock. Hitchcock hired Joan Harrison in 1935 as his assistant, and she took over many of Reville's jobs within the production. Thereafter, Reville focused primarily on preparing and adapting her husband's scripts, including those for Rebecca, Foreign Correspondent (1940), Suspicion (1941) and Saboteur (1942).
Reville worked with her husband on many more scripts in Hollywood. She collaborated with Joan Harrison to create the script for Suspicion, which was completed on 28 November 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.
Alma, Lady Hitchcock, a breast cancer survivor, died at the age of 82, two years after her husband's death. She was cremated and her ashes scattered in the Pacific Ocean.
In popular cultureEdit
Reville was portrayed by actresses Imelda Staunton in The Girl (2012), and Helen Mirren in Hitchcock (2012). Staunton was nominated for a BAFTA and a Primetime Emmy for her performance, while Mirren was nominated for BAFTA, Golden Globe and SAG awards for her performance.
Reville wrote or co-wrote many screenplays, including:
- The Ring (1927)
- The Constant Nymph (1928)
- The First Born (1928)
- A South Sea Bubble (1928)
- After the Verdict (1929)
- A Romance of Seville (1929)
- Juno and the Paycock (1929)
- Murder! (1930)
- The Skin Game (1931)
- Mary (1931)
- The Outsider (1931)
- Sally in Our Alley (1931)
- Rich and Strange (1931)
- The Water Gipsies (1932)
- Nine Till Six (1931)
- Number Seventeen (1932)
- Waltzes from Vienna (1934)
- Forbidden Territory (1934)
- The 39 Steps (1935)
- The Passing of the Third Floor Back (1935)
- Secret Agent (1936)
- Sabotage (1936)
- Young and Innocent (1937)
- The Lady Vanishes (1938)
- Jamaica Inn (1939)
- Suspicion (1941)
- Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
- It's in the Bag (1945)
- The Paradine Case (1947)
- Stage Fright (1950)
- I Confess (1953)
- Anderson, John (18 November 2012). "Alfred Hitchcock's Secret Weapon Becomes a Star". The New York Times.
- "Alma Reville: The Power Behind Hitchcock's Throne". Brenton Film.
- "Alma Reville biodata". The Biography.com website. A&E Television Networks. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
- Adair, Gene. Alfred Hitchcock: Filming Our Fears. Oxford University Press, 2002; ISBN 0-19-511967-3
- Unterburger, Amy (1999). St James Woman Filmmakers Encyclopedia. pp. 349–51.
- Leitch, Thomas; Poague, Leland (1 March 2011). A Companion to Alfred Hitchcock. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9781444397314.
- Osteen, Mark (14 March 2014). Hitchcock and Adaptation: On the Page and Screen. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9781442230880.
- Wilson, Scott; Mank, Gregory W. (2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. p. 343. ISBN 9780786479924.
- "Imelda Staunton profile". Emmys.com. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
- Alma Hitchcock: The Woman Behind the Man by Pat Hitchcock O'Connell and Laurent Bouzereau, Berkley Trade, 6 July 2004; ISBN 0425196194/ISBN 978-0425196199
- '"What Did Alma Think?": Continuity, Writing, Editing and Adaptation' by Christina Lane and Josephine Botting, in Hitchcock and Adaptation: Page and Screen ed. Mark Osteen. New York: Rowman & Littlefield. 2014. Print.