'Notebooks' reveal a film legend

Far from being a mysterious filmmaker, Alfred Hitchcock was surprisingly candid in revealing his artistic and storytelling secrets. Countless admirers have turned to "Hitchcock," a book-length interview he did with French director Franois Truffaut, and Sidney Gottlieb's excellent collection of Hitch's own writings, "Hitchcock on Hitchcock."

A valuable new resource has now arrived: "Hitchcock's Notebooks: An Authorized and Illustrated Look Inside the Creative Mind of Alfred Hitchcock" (Avon Books), compiled by Dan Auiler, a longtime devotee. It begins with a collection of still pictures from the long-lost "Mountain Eagle" and ends with an account of the unmade "Kaleidoscope."

In between come a story chart used in planning "Rebecca," reproduced script pages for "Shadow of a Doubt," sketches for "North by Northwest," notes on background sounds for "The Birds," and a great deal more. For casual fans, this will be a book for browsing rather than cover-to-cover reading. But anyone seriously interested in film will find it as educational as it is entertaining.

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