Charles Bennett, the Man Behind the Scenes

You may know a lot about Alfred Hitchcock, but did you know that many of his successful movies were actually based off the plays of writer Charles Bennett? Blackmail (1929), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), The 39 Steps (1935), Sabotage (1936), Secret Agent (1936), Young and Innocent (1937), and Foreign Correspondent (1940) were all films on which they collaborated.

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Charles Bennett started his show business career as an actor in Ben Greet’s Shakespeare Company. He then started writing plays – his first was The Return written around the year 1925. He then experienced major success with his play Blackmail which was a year later adapted by Hitchcock into a motion picture. Bennett was an incredibly prolific writer; he wrote or co-wrote over 60 plays and screenplays throughout his life, showcasing his talent for quick dialogue and suspense-filled thrillers.

Outside of his work as a playwright, Bennett was an honored WWI hero and an Allied spy and propagandist during WWII.

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In The Life of Charles Bennett: Hitchcock’s Partner in Suspense, a witty and intriguing book by John Charles Bennett, Bennett discusses how their collaboration created such famous motifs as the “wrong man accused” device and the MacGuffin. He also takes readers behind the scenes with the Master of Suspense, offering his thoughts on the director’s work, sense of humor, and personal life. Pick up your copy of the book today!

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