Film historian James Chapman has mined Hitchcock's own papers to investigate fully for the first time the spy thrillers of the world's most famous filmmaker. Hitchcock made his name as director of the spy movie. He returned repeatedly to the genre from the British classics of the 1930s, including The 39 Steps and The Lady Vanishes, through wartime Hollywood films Foreign Correspondent and Saboteur to the Cold War tracts North by Northwest, Torn Curtain and his unmade film The Short Night., Chapman's close reading of these films demonstrates the development of Hitchcock's own style as well as how the spy genre as a whole responded to changing political and cultural contexts from the threat of Nazism in the 1930s and 40s to the atom spies and double agents of the post-war world.
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