Homage to the Master of Suspense; Anthony Hopkins Is Playing One of 20th Century's Most Famous Directors in His New Film Hitchcock. Graham Young Casts His Eye on the Movie about the Man Behind Horror Classic Psycho

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Hitchcock 12A, 98 mins HIS name defines a person, a cinematic style and an era - and some of the most brilliant and influential movies ever made.

Only last August, Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958) was named as the greatest film of all in the latest once-a-decade poll of critics by The British Film Institute's Sight & Sound magazine.

Born in 1899, Hitchcock died in LA in 1980 at the age of 80, and this biopic explores the making of Psycho some two decades earlier.

Sir Anthony Hopkins, now 75, takes the title role of the then 60-year-old.

With his Oscar-winning background as serial killer Hannibal Lecter, this is perfect territory for the Welsh star. He's even got the same initials: A. H. Hitchcock reveals a few tricks of the film-making trade and Helen Mirren is terrific as wife, Alma Reville, a woman who kept pushing the director along whenever his confidence dipped.

The end result, is a surprisingly bright-and-breezy affair in which the action moves briskly and with no little humour.

"Hungry?" Alma says to her man. "Famished," he replies.

How's that for economy of language in a 12A film I'd be wary of taking anyone under 14 to see it without an adult who can set it all into context.

When it comes to the idea of Psycho, Hitchcock says: "Imagine the shock value of killing off your leading lady half way through?" "It would be a huge mistake," says Alma. "Kill her off after 30 minutes."

Regardless of how historically accurate the film is, there's a lovely shot of Hitchcock literally conducting the shower scene from the other side of a theatre wall while his audience recoils in horror. …