Most of the comments posted about this book are embarrassing in their refusal to engage properly with what Robin Wood is actually trying to argue. Previous readers appear to resent Wood's desire to take the cinema seriously, and suggest that we should look to Hitchcock's films for no more than "craft" and "technique". If that's all one is concerned with, I'm not sure why it would be worth reading a book on Hitchcock at all. Wood has always been firm in asserting that the experience of watching a film is both emotional and intellectual. Taking the cinema seriously doesn't mean one has to stop responding to it emotionally. Nor does Hitchcock's status as a consummate entertainer invalidate Wood's arguments that his films raise profound and troubling moral and political questions.
Wood writes beautifully. Complaints about his reliance on Freudian or Marxist terminology are wrongheaded - such terminology is in fact employed far more rarely than by most academic writers. Wood's use of language is magnificently precise and careful. It is true that he conducts his critique of Hitchcock, as of other filmmakers, from a leftwing viewpoint. One does not have to share his commitment to Marxism (a kind of reconstructed, humanistic Marxism, incidentally, which has nothing to do with the atrocities perpetrated by Mao or Stalin) in order to appreciate the strength of his analysis. Anyone who is prepared, as a reader, to engage in lively debate with a writer's ideological and moral assumptions, should be able to profit by reading Wood's book.
I certainly don't agree with everything Wood has to say either on a political or an aesthetic level. But no other writer on Hitchcock, or on the cinema, has the same depth, reach or passion for his subject. Hitchcock's Films Revisited, presenting in tandem Wood's earlier and later thoughts on one of the cinema's great masters, is not only great criticism; it is also a moving account of one man's personal and political evolution.