In his introduction to the new edition, Henry K. Miller presents A Long Hard Look at Psycho
as the culmination of Durgnat's decades-long campaign to correct what he called film studies' 'Grand Error', tracing the path of a project that began at the time of the film's release, and which drew on Durgnat's sense of kinship with its director, a fellow north-east Londoner. In the course of expounding Durgnat's root-and-branch challenge to our inherited shibboleths about Hollywood cinema in general and Hitchcock in particular – concepts like illusionism, character identification, scopophilia, and classical narrative – Miller also describes the eclectic intellectual tradition to which Durgnat claimed allegiance. This offbeat band of collaborators and 'amis inconnus', among them William Empson, Edgar Morin, and Manny Farber, had at its head Durgnat's mentor Thorold Dickinson. The book's story begins on the day in March 1962 when Dickinson took his cinephile seminar through Hitchcock's film shot-by-shot on an editing machine – the first long hard look of many.