Alfred Hitchcock by Nicholas Haeffner

By Nicholas Haeffner

A entire creation to Alfred Hitchcock?s significant British and Hollywood motion pictures, which navigates the reader during the wealth of serious commentaries.Locates the director?s outstanding physique of labor inside of traditions of intellectual, middlebrow and lowbrow tradition, and their entice forms of viewers the writer explores Hitchcock?s mastery of the technical ability used to construct and retain suspense. Examines a method which regularly featured, homicide, espionage, deception, wrong identities, chase sequences, wry touches of humor and coffee intrusion of the macabre in numerous combos

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Pm 27 11/04/2005, 17:17 Alfred Hitchcock across Mount Rushmore. He and his screenwriter Ernest Lehman worked out the story around that famous set piece, with Lehman declaring that he was going to write the ultimate Hitchcock film that could be built around a whole series of them. Hitchcock acknowledges that the film in itself was a reworking of The 39 Steps, another exercise in stringing together a series of set pieces (Domarchi and Douchet, 1959). Gunning (1986) observes that the experience of fairgrounds and other forms of popular culture were found liberating by those members of the middle classes brought up on a diet of traditional culture who looked to redefine, sometimes radically, bourgeois values.

The critics writing for Cahiers du Cinéma wanted to draw attention to the sophisticated visual language in Hitchcock’s films, and encouraged the detailed observation of camera placements, lighting, colour, costume, etc. Hitchcock’s inspired use of mise-en-scène can be seen in the opening of Strangers on a Train (1950), where for the first few minutes of the film, the camera shows us only the legs and shoes of two men as they get out of separate taxis and make their way on to a train. The aim of the sequence is to establish differences (and connections) between the two main characters through their dress sense: the owner of the first pair of feet is Bruno Anthony (Robert Walker), a charming psychopath, who sports a pair of loud two-tone shoes.

Films such as The Lodger (1926), Rope (1948), Under Capricorn (1949) and The Birds (1963) show Hitchcock challenging the existing boundaries of the feature film and what the audience expects of it. Hitchcock’s willingness to defy convention (even if the unintended result was audience disapproval) is manifest, for instance, in his decision to open Stage Fright (1950) with a lying flashback or to show the young child blown up by a bomb on a bus in Sabotage (1936). This ‘pioneering’ aspect of Hitchcock’s films gives rise to the critical discourse of the auteur, the film artist par excellence.

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