From: Jane Sloan, Alfred Hitchcock: a filmography and bibliography (University of California Press, 1995)


Sloan[Editor's note.  Jane Sloan's impressive guide to the vast literature on Hitchcock to approximately 1990 is here represented by her invaluable introductory essay surveying how critics and scholars have sought to represent aspects of the director and his films.  Particular attention is given to the major trends in academic criticism.  Although sometimes frustratingly concise, the essay is nonetheless remarkable for its sustained summary and astute appraisals.  (We value Sloan's conclusion that 'Hitchcock's primary method was in fact "formal reinvention" - of literary work, of other films, of stories in the newspapers, of others' ideas, of his own ideas; his favored analogy for film directing was music conducting.')  Jane Sloan is Media Librarian and Head of Multimedia Services at Rutgers University.]

[PLEASE NOTE: the following essay retains its original footnotes - all 114 of them - but it has not been possible to activate the footnote numbers in the text for Web users.  We apologise for this.]

FROM THE BEGINNING OF his career, Alfred Hitchcock experienced the misunderstanding that often plagues those artists who work within the commercial forms of popular culture. In fact, the first three films that he directed were thought too sophisticated for a general audience and withheld from distribution. Later, a similar confusion - deep artist? superficial manipulator? - defined the parameters of critical debate about the films he directed, and still characterizes the field of commentary in the general press, where the question of whether to take the films seriously continues to inhibit critical understanding of this most popular of film directors. Although we are all continually exposed to its influence, popular culture as an object of study often requires a defense. The review of the critical literature that follows summarizes some of the early journalistic work on Hitchcock but focuses primarily on the academic criticism that has attended these films since the 1950s, and which has, in a sense, furthered the aura of "progressivism" that was historically attached to Hitchcock's first British films by their defenders.


Until 1965, when Robin Wood published a book titled Hitchcock's Films, thereby answering his own question about whether or not we should take Hitchcock seriously, Hitchcock had been the object of deliberate study mostly in languages other than English.1 In his work, Wood delineated the use of identification techniques (methods by which the viewer of a film is encouraged to empathize with a character or the filmmaker) in Hitchcock's American films, and saw in them a "therapeutic theme" whereby the audience is induced to experience a quandary and gain understanding from it; he insisted on their moral clarity. The next year Peter Wollen, writing as Lee Russell, reviewed the work of Wood and the French critics that preceded him and called for the "important task of popularization" of the critical debate surrounding Hitchcock."2 Since then, the academic debate has produced numerous, dense analyses, some of which effectively lay bare the fascinating quality of the films, but Wollen's ideal of "popularization" still lags significantly behind.

The questions surrounding serious attention to film and its foremost genre, melodrama, parallel this critical history, just as Hitchcock's career can be said to parallel film history. In discussing Hitchcock's films, Edward Buscombe explains the lack of fit between melodrama and the tenets of the "Great Tradition" in English literary criticism, which judged the genre too popular, too crude, too fanciful, and too unrealistic.3 Further, he criticizes Robin Wood (and, by extension, auteur criticism) for his emphasis on the films' characters at the expense of the genre elements. Wood's approach was nonetheless far-reaching in its articulation of both identification techniques and suspense techniques, and especially in its assessment of Hitchcock's "essential subject matter" as male/female relationships. As many have pointed out, melodrama, especially in its coinciding with romance, is closely associated with fiction for women, a factor of which Hitchcock himself was very much aware.

The classic theme of appearance and reality, which is pervasive in both the popular commentary and the academic criticism, received its full career explication in Donald Spoto's The Art of Alfred Hitchcock.4 Tania Modleski, working from more complex theoretical constructs than these auteur critics, effectively combines the major themes of male/female relationships (the formation of the couple) and appearance and reality in analyses of the world of illusion and false or mixed identity created by Hitchcock's "theatrical space." She argues that Hitchcock's world of appearances is fascinating but also "dreadful to men" because it is suggestive of femininity as well as bisexuality.5 Certainly Hitchcock's interest in unconventional sexual expression and/or the naturalized "perversions" of conventional sexual expression is evident in all his films.

Between the work of Wood, which valorized Hitchcock as a moralist in the tradition of nineteenth-century novelists, and that of Spoto, who eventually assessed him as a moral cynic, an auteur debate flares - one which actually began in France in the early 1950s. On the one hand, Hitchcock is judged a director of "contentless virtuosity" whose American films, through their increased reliance on Hollywood superficiality have failed to live up to the potential of the more "realistic" British films. On the other hand, he is seen as an artist of the deepest moral concerns with a desire to have his audience experience catharsis through his mastery of identification techniques and suspense, a mastery most clearly evident in the American films.6

In his systematic, historically detailed account of the films, Raymond Durgnat argues that Hitchcock's films are no more morally complex than their contemporaneous genre counterparts. Seeking to maintain a middle course between the superficial and the deep debate, Durgnat suggests that all the films are carefully and intelligently constructed, but that their content rarely presents a "coherent world-view."7

Sometimes these opposing views are explained by further appeals to greatness, as in the notion that the intense subjectivity of great work provokes equally subjective response; but more frequently, the discrepancy in valuation is blamed on suspense and the suspense genre. Wood laments Hitchcock's own refusal to take himself seriously, with his constant talk of MacGuffins (the excuse for the pursuit), his crude humor, and insistent technical focus. Jean François Tarnowski blames critics who have been conformists in the face of Hitchcock's complexity and nicknamed him the "Master of Suspense."8 Sam Simone, for instance, uses this phrase interchangeably with and almost as much as Hitchcock's own name; the notion is also the wellspring of Hitchcock's unusually persistent presence in the general press.9 While the creation of suspense is usually noted to be one of Hitchcock's major concerns, along with male/female relationships and appearance and reality, it was not until the debate moved out of traditional auteur criticism and was taken up by those who practiced structural, semiotic, and psychoanalytic methodologies that the intimate relationship between the major technique and the major themes was made clear.

Hitchcock has always stated that his mining of the suspense genre was commercially motivated. Although he was a thorough professional who showed a creative interest in virtually all aspects of filmmaking, critics have repeatedly demonstrated that Hitchcock's most intense evocation of suspense was the suspense of relations with the "other," the elemental fear of rejection or loss. When developing a literary property in the 1940s, he emphatically stated that he must "introduce a heroine, for without one, there's no film."10 Many of the writers who compare the films to the literary source material illustrate the consistent application of this rule.

Hitchcock's interest in self and other, however, goes beyond male/female relationships, for many of Hitchcock's "others" are of the same sex, a situation, like most of the heterosexual relationships, that inevitably leads to betrayal or unhappiness, but unlike them is never granted the deus ex machina of the happy ending. The first silent British films show this interest in the relations of self and other most pointedly. Kirk Bond discusses the early films and their reliance on the subtle details of character to illustrate dominance and submission. In The Pleasure Garden, Hitchcock's first film, Patsy, a spirited chorus dancer, is not quite equal in assertiveness to her new friend, Jill, and suffers at the loss of the friendship when she tries to impose her own conventional morality on the more ambitious woman. The Ring, Downhill, The Farmer's Wife, and Champagne all focus on the typical aspects of characters - particularly those derived from class and sex - and the limitations those typical aspects present in achieving happiness. Bond describes the strength of these early films as "imaginative quiet" and pronounces them superior to the "overdone gothic romances" of the U.S. period.11

While the British films of the 1920s and early 1930s enjoyed varying degrees of success with the public, Tom Ryall explains that the most sophisticated British critics of the period were interested in flashier, more visibly artful fare, such as the films being imported from the Soviet Union, Germany, France, and even Hollywood.12 The critics at Close Up and influential personages like John Grierson ignored or rejected Hitchcock's films as unoriginal and pretentious, or, in the case of Blackmail, overrated.13 In fact, few British films of the time were distributed outside the country, so that while Hitchcock was the "highest paid" director in Great Britain, he was frustrated in his larger ambition to reach an international audience. Although prestigious projects like Juno and the Paycock by Sean O'Casey and The Skin Game by John Galsworthy were adapted into powerful and faithful versions of the plays, their restraint and intelligence meant they lacked the graphic qualities that in Britain at the time might have marked them as cinematic art.

Consequently, in 1933, after what many termed the "comeback" success of The Man Who Knew Too Much, Hitchcock devoted himself to the development of his own audience via the sure success of the suspense formula. The films of the "thriller cycle" of the 1930s - The 39 Steps, Secret Agent, Sabotage, Young and Innocent, and The Lady Vanishes - were distributed around the world and in 1938 Hitchcock moved his operations to the United States, where he periodically returned to melodrama, but always at the risk of frustrating the expectations of his audience. During this period of great ambition and commercial success, virtually no serious study attended the films.

By 1949, Lindsay Anderson, writing in Sequence, codified Hitchcock's position as a master technician of superficial gloss, a director whose "unglamorized" British films revealed the ingenious combination of sound and visual effects that made up the "Hitchcock touch," but who did not have the depth to withstand the enlargement his style had undergone in Hollywood.14 Longer essays began to appear in the general press as well as film literature, and Anderson's approach, the preference for the British films over the American, dominated English language criticism for the ensuing decade.

But in France in 1951, Alexandre Astruc wrote an article in the first issue of Cahiers du Cinéma about a film from the American period, Under Capricorn, extolling its intelligent and restrained treatment of the melodramatic plot, and positing the "mystery of the human personality" as the fundamental theme of English cinema.15 In the second issue of the journal, Jean-Luc Godard reviewed Strangers on a Train and pronounced Hitchcock one of the greatest directors of cinema.16 Toward the end of the same year, Maurice Schèrer (who also wrote under the name of Eric Rohmer) grouped Under Capricorn with Stromboli and The River as the first truly modern films, because of their increased interest in human social interaction and the material things and events that reveal it.17 Schèrer was one of the first to relate Hitchcock's films to the development of cinema in general and its unique capability to continue the trend of the nineteenth-century novel to reveal in characters the classical oppositions of societal/natural, material/spiritual, and desire/grace.

André Bazin, who had asserted the opposing viewpoint in France since the late 1940s, continued to insist that Hitchcock's films revealed more interest in technical than human themes.18 In 1954, Cahiers du Cinéma devoted a special issue to Hitchcock (who filmed To Catch a Thief in France that year) that included interviews with Hitchcock by Bazin, and jointly by Claude Chabrol and François Truffaut. These interviews attempted to discover Hitchcock's position in the debate about possible moral depth in the films.19 Please tell us, they said, are your films serious or not? Pressed about God, morality, and the devil, Hitchcock remained mum and wide-eyed, referring to his responsibility to satisfy his audience and make money for his producers. Bazin and he had a particularly interesting exchange when Hitchcock agreed that the American films might be weaker because they are made for women, who have "sentimental" taste. But Hitchcock, typically, was being not only amenable, but contradictory. From his earliest silent days, when he had assessed women to be the statistically larger part of his audience, he had made films for them.

In 1957, Rohmer and Chabrol published the first book-length study of Hitchcock's films, which was translated into English some twenty years later. Their version of the "Hitchcock touch" includes the technical skills that Lindsay Anderson admired, but it also involves the theme of intertwined innocence and guilt, and an obsession with Christian iconography, the last a factor that has been largely received rather than investigated by critics who followed. Their study also presented several strands that have been persistently explored in the development of critical understanding of the films. They emphasized Hitchcock's creative authorship via his assimilation of commercial demands and studio practice into his own creative will. They were the first to assert Hitchcock's chronic vulnerability to critical misunderstanding that began with the thrills of The Lodger, the mere production of which signaled superficiality to some, and blocked acceptance of his subsequently more restrained and straightforward work. They also pinpointed the 1930s as a time when Hitchcock, in defense, "created a second personality that completely corresponded with the idea others had of him." Their thematic continuum presented schizophrenia, fascination, amoralism, and domination at one end, and knowledge, self, unity, acceptance, confession, and communion at the other, but their deepest understanding was formal. In Hitchcock's work, they concluded, "form does not embellish content; it creates it." Although they acknowledged the presence of misogyny and homophobia, they may have inhibited further exploration by pronouncing this aspect of the films unimportant to critical study: critical consideration "may close more doors than it opens."20

In the early 1960s, this debate moved out of France, though monographs were published in German and Dutch before they were in English. In the United Kingdom, Ian Cameron and other critics at the journal Movie analyzed the mechanisms of suspense and the careful buildup of it through curiosity, suspicion, apprehension, and worry in the spectator. They related the characters' vulnerability to crisis to the preoccupations of the male characters with issues of dominance, and similarly related the success or failure of the characters' attempts to dominate to the satisfactory resolution of the film.21

During this same period, through his films and regular exposure in the press, Hitchcock was mining the expression of fear in the cinema, calling it "my special field, [which I have split] into two categories - terror and suspense ... terror is induced by surprise, suspense by forewarning."22 He repeatedly avowed his intention to forewarn the spectator so rigorously that the only thoughts possible were those concerning what would happen to the characters. Though he also insisted that he specialized in suspense for commercial reasons, his enthusiasm for its mechanisms belied this. Persistently and pedantically, he emphasized point of view and the creation of emotional involvement in the spectator through identification with the character. On the other hand, he seldom discussed endings; apparently, he learned to forego aesthetic interest in them, for commercial and other reasons: "I've usually encountered a firm insistence from the front offices … that I attach a satisfactory ending; [otherwise, one commits] the unforgivable Hollywood sin called 'being downbeat.'"23

This early critical discussion of suspense that focused on Hitchcock's smooth "mastery" of its mechanisms contributed greatly to the assessment of his work as all artifice/no meaning. Commercial success, manipulation of the audience, illogical character development solidified by nonsensical "happy" endings all pointed to lack of depth. Beginning with the writing of Peter Wollen, who stated about Hitchcock in 1969, that the rhetoric of the "master-technician [is] none other than the rhetoric of the unconscious," later criticism would move away from this focus on the author's conscious intent as the source of meaning.24 About the same time, the work of Raymond Bellour would push even further toward a perspective of the author as one part of the larger conscious and unconscious structuring of the production of meaning.

In this way the equating of suspense mechanisms with superficial content passed, at least in the academic film literature. Its auteur counterpart, the equation of formal intricacy with philosophical meaning, became reformulated in a significantly expanded debate about cultural codes, narrative systems, authorship and spectatorship, and sexual difference. Ideas concerning the double, structural polarities and patterns, and the processes of spectator identification, as well as the unfailing focus of the films themselves on the vagaries of human relationships, all contributed to the development of a large body of Hitchcockian criticism, and to the regular insertion of the films as a central example in a larger theoretical debate about the nature of cinema itself.


"Clarify, clarify, clarify," said Hitchcock, "you can't have blurred thinking in suspense."25 Hitchcock's exertion of control at the preproduction stage, through greatly detailed scripts and storyboards, was a main factor in his initial success in silent pictures as well as in his mastery of suspense technique.

Countering Hitchcock himself, Robin Wood and other auteur critics originally contended that suspense belongs more to the method of the films than to their themes and meaning. The structuralist critics of the 1970s, however, avoided this assertion, and proceeded to lay out a large amount of the territory that is now known as Hitchcock's formal system through thematic oppositions that placed the individual character in relation to the world. This effort began with Peter Wollen, who effectively argued that the "first priority" in reading Hitchcock's films was to understand the structures, which he stated revolve around the manhunt/pursuit and spying/gazing.26 Quickly, he sketched in the boundaries of the study, suggesting a "psychology-semiology" of gazing, watching, and observing, and emphasizing the importance of Freudian constructs such as scoptophilia, voyeurism, and narcissism. In a complementary synthesis, Sylvia Lawson described the "deliberate artificiality and bland control" with which all aesthetic elements are treated in Hitchcock's films. She contended that this control creates a symbol system in which expressivity accrues to everything on the screen, including the smallest detail, thereby forcing the viewer toward an intellectual appreciation of the material.27

The same year, 1969, Raymond Bellour published two essays, one on Marnie that focused on the structuring of the look and the "double game" of multiple points of view, and the other on the boat sequence in The Birds.28 The latter analysis listed certain filmic codes shot by shot: camera movement, framing distance, and who (of the characters) is looking or being looked at. Analysis of these charts led Bellour to an understanding of the controlling male gaze (or look) as a basic formulation of classical narrative film, and the representation of the male's identity through control of the image of the female body, a condition that provoked her punishment. I will return later to this psychoanalytic aspect of Bellour's approach that emphasized the relation of formal system to meaning in more extensive ways than mainstream structuralists.

Hitchcock himself always contended that the purpose of formal control, the purpose of cinema even, was the creation of emotion in the spectator through identification. An audience pays to be excited, and Hitchcock's struggle with the censors in both Britain and the United States as well as his persistent popularity attests to his devotion to exciting his audience. As a student of psychology, he appreciated the importance of the question of who authorizes the looks with which the audience identifies, especially the importance of the sex of the linked characters, as his understanding at the least included the conventional psychological identification of a child with the parent of the same sex.

Pascal Bonitzer shows how this authorization is focused on control of the look, that is, the arrangement of glances or gazes from a character or the camera toward objects or other characters, as understood by the spectator, who is also looking. Bonitzer asserts that, since D. W. Griffith, the very nature of cinema - the combining through editing of subject, object, and separate parallel actions - has involved suspense. He describes Hitchcock as the filmmaker who "has drawn the most logical conclusions ... from this revolution in the process of meaning production." Unlike Griffith, Hitchcock does not rely primarily on chase sequences to produce suspense but more frequently on the slowing down of time, an emphasis on the choice of framing and angle that may be as subtle, according to Bonitzer, as "that moment when the look in the camera becomes the slightest bit too interested." This infusion of awareness is usually more precisely marked, as when the camera offers the spectator a piece of information that the character does not have (according to Hitchcock, the very definition of suspense); this gives the images "a past and a future" and all actions that follow, a double meaning.29

Around the same time, Jean Narboni codified facial expressions as another basic aspect of this suspense film form. He discerned in them a "meteorology of suspicion," where suspicion is continually revived through a forced emphasis on the "micro-changes" of facial expressions. As a consequence, the spectator's attention is never satisfied with an understanding of "reality" because it is continually confronted with a different character's or the director's subjectivity.30 Several years later, Marian Keane expanded on a notion of "photogenesis" to illustrate the extremely important collaborative aspect, aside from their roles, of actors, especially star actors, in Hitchcock's films.31

In 1971, Michel Estève edited a volume for Études Cinématographiques that included several descriptions of production codes and symbols in Hitchcock's films and a formal analysis of doubling as it relates to the structure of the unconscious.32 In the same volume Philippe Parrain outlined the components of Hitchcock's formal rigor; among them are (1) characters marked with a "certain frigidity that abstracts them from their surroundings and makes them clearly delineated entities, ready to obey"; (2) movement toward the ending via polarized tensions; (3) movement created through the use of modes of transportation; (4) narrative structure based on the law of return, the boomerang, and the circle; and (5) concentration of the mechanics of cause and effect with rapid movement between the two.33 Michel Serceau analyzed the couple and love themes as they support Hitchcock's ability to appeal to the spectator's complacent inclinations while actually unsettling them. He described a series of oppositional relationships formed by the degradation of love versus Christian love and seeing-observing-fantasizing (passivity) versus knowing-working-struggling (activity), attributing these to the female and male roles. In terms opposite those of Bellour's analyses, he generalized about the passivity of the Hitchcock male, trapped by the temptingfemale, caught up in passion and unable to see the truth.34 In fact, this approach is closest to Hitchcock's own, which was frequently expressed in the traditional terms that equate sexuality outside marriage with degradation.35

Focus on Hitchcock, edited by Albert LaValley in 1972, an early compilation of reprinted articles, also brought structural criticism to the fore, mentioning the importance of fairy tale and genre as well as psychoanalytic concepts like voyeurism. It included a shot analysis of the cornfield sequence in North by Northwest and an essay on the formal patterning of doubles, though it was primarily oriented toward auteur theory and morally assessed Hitchcock's worldview as close to "nihilism."36

Structural criticism was also prominent in Italy, where Fabio Carlini published a monograph in 1974 that began with an alphabetical listing and explication of terms deemed essential to understanding Hitchcock, including collaborators, source material, film history, critical response, theories of acting, phobias, neuroses, philosophical and political subjects, and material objects. He then argued for study of the films through these objects, obsessions, and biographical elements, and emphasized the psychoanalytic richness of the style.37

Meanwhile, Wollen, using the ideas of the Russian formalist Vladimir Propp, published a lengthy "morphological" analysis of North by Northwest, proposing a relation between contemporary mass culture and folk tales. This method, which examined the plot formations around pairs - interdiction and violation, reconnaissance and receipt of information, and trickery and submission - proved fruitful for other critics, such as Richard Abel, who wrote an analysis of Notorious. Wollen's approach however, has been criticized by David Bordwell as "distorted."38

The concept of the double is the central motif of a large amount of the criticism, effectively linking auteur-humanist and newer methods. Barbara Bannon describes the wide application of doubling in psychology, film, literature, and the films of Hitchcock. She distinguishes between overt doubles and latent, or structural, ones, which in the broadest instance involve the paralleling and reversing of scenes.39 These are the elements that fascinated Hitchcock: patterning, repetition, and pairing. Critics like Bannon see in doubling his obsession with objectivity and critical distance - the evenhanded approach of the sophisticate - as well as his willingness to let the pattern go, to risk chaos. As Thomas Hemmeter points out, there is a "tense dialectic" within the films between subjective suspense techniques on the one side, and alienation techniques and abstract patterns on the other.40

François Regnault, like Jean Douchet before him, suggests that the patterning principle chosen by Hitchcock for each film - lines, spirals, broken lines, grids, or circles - becomes autonomous from the film, in the process communicating a metaphor for cinema in general, which allows the spectator to identify with the point of view of the director. Alongside this principle, he finds the "distinctly Hitchcockian" use of place, which puts the plots on a continuum: running a course from place to place at one end (the spy thrillers), and being appointed a residence at the other (the one-set films). Two combinations fall in between, involving a "pilgrimage to origins" (Shadow of a Doubt, Psycho, Marnie, etc.), and the spiral inversion of both place and movement (Downhill, Blackmail, Vertigo, etc. ).41

Hitchcock's films as a "metaphor for cinema" is a concept that appears regularly in the literature and begins with the director's own references to "pure cinema" and Rear Window as a prime example of it. In discussing that film with Hitchcock when it was first made, André Bazin concluded that Hitchcock's primary interest in the "means" of telling its story may in fact be another word for "theme"; Jean Douchet saw Rear Window as a lesson in cinema for the audience.42 These ideas have been fruitfully expanded many times since, most recently by John Belton, who analyzes Rear Window in relation to its amalgam of "theatrical and cinematic modes of narration," that is, its extremely refined use of space conventions to speak a variety of "psychologies."43

It is this depth of design that seems to be the strongest attraction of Hitchcock's films for critics, and it also seems to be the main factor in the works of the Hitchcock canon that are most frequently written about, including Psycho, Rear Window, Vertigo, and, at the second tier, The Birds, Blackmail, and North by Northwest. While sociological interest is also important here, especially in explaining the prominence of Psycho, at least one of these films (North by Northwest) is not usually discussed in terms of its sociological import, while all are known for their formal design. Feminist critics object to the development of the canon on the basis of the standards of "pure cinema." Patricia Ferrara, for instance, analyzes Rear Window, not as a mere "essay on film viewing" but as a much broader expression of the differences in the way people see and the need to accommodate others' vision.44 Virginia Wright Wexman discusses Vertigo's privileged status among intellectuals and film scholars as "pure cinema," and wonders about the appeal of stars and scenery.45

In a lengthy study of five of the films, William Rothman takes this accumulation of well-charted ambiguities and double meanings one step further and defines the camera itself as "fundamentally ambiguous" by its representation of the audience's passivity alongside the authorial voice. However, Rothman's extremely detailed shot-by-shot analyses reveal familiar philosophical dichotomies and conundrums (and some not so familiar, like the relationship between murder and marriage); and he is most intent on proving the films' ability to support sustained reflection and "highminded analysis," once again, on illustrating the "seriousness" of the films and valorizing Hitchcock as a "great" artist.46

Other formal studies have effectively concentrated on a single aspect of the mise-en-scène - such as acting, cinematography, or sound. While Hitchcock occasionally spoke of contributions by collaborators, it was usually in terms of what he expected from them and whether he got it, rarely in recognition. He could, in fact, be extremely harsh in his judgment about even those with whom he had enjoyed long positive working relationships. Those articles that are written by colleagues and discuss his films generally do so from the vantage point of an enthusiastic creative person glad for the challenge of working with such a knowledgeable director. Aside from these testimonies, there is very little in the literature that attempts to sort out the varied roles that collaborators played, with the exception of efforts such as Lenoard Leff's on Hitchcock and David Selznick, or James Naremore's and Andrew Britton's on Cary Grant.47 Elizabeth Weis documents the career-long sophistication in the application of sound, including music and effects, but attributes all the ideas and execution personally to Hitchcock. She argues that Hitchcock's early experiments with sound (Blackmail remains a classic textbook example of innovation), which were expressionist, developed into a more classical style tied to the realistic context of the narrative.48

Studies like Weis's in some ways flesh out Lawson's and Wollen's structural outlines of Hitchcock's gift for commanding the details of a wide array of aesthetic, cultural, political, and social associations, and inserting them at many different levels to create a complex understanding. But they shed less light on the way the processes of the film industry, or the contributions of collaborators, for instance, contributed to that complexity.

Synthesizing the critical opinion in 1982, Noël Simsolo described Hitchcock as one of the few directors interested in the commercial aspects of the industry, who, as a consequence, tapped into the "unconscious" of his audience. He further comments on the films' focus on the couple, and understands this theme as an obsession with the "animal function" of humans and the powerlessness of men to gain knowledge and mastery.49 This powerlessness, this passivity, which expresses itself in the depiction of perverted erotic activities, such as voyeurism, narcissism, and fetishism, also prompted a debate concerning the social meaning of the films and their assertion of, or lack of, normative values.


The double is also the cause and effect of Hitchcock's political orientation. In no way a political active person, Hitchcock's interest in polarities led naturally to an interest in social and political issues for which the most supreme and subtle model is interpersonal conflict. He consistently approached these issues from an imaginative, classically conservative point of view that focused on individual free expression, what Graham Greene called "the human factor." In Hitchcock's films, the conflict of the individual with society (including political institutions) is influenced primarily by the strengths and weaknesses of the human personalities involved, regardless of the larger mission in which they participate. As a result, his propaganda films made with the French Resistance, Aventure Malgache and Bon Voyage, are stunningly ineffective in their supposed purpose. The first concerns a free-French lawyer who succeeds only by being less hypocritical for a better cause than his enemy, and the second is about an escaped British prisoner of war who, preoccupied by the lack of food and shelter, is easily manipulated by his beloved fascist companion.

Likewise, the conflict of individuals in the silent films is always a result of the restrictions of class and sex. The working-class heroines of The Pleasure Garden, carefully defined in relation to the men (in the audience, as boss, as friends and husbands), are narratively contrasted in their handling of their demeaning position. Patsy is naively manipulated into marriage by a man who cannot support her, and suffers near-death at his sadistic hands, while Jill manipulates to obtain the best offer (from a prince) and suffers only Patsy's disapproval. The Lodger can also be seen as the story of the difficulties of the working-class Daisy in obtaining a suitable mate. Rothman describes Daisy as "a golden girl" living beneath her station, destined (waiting) to be attached to the wealthy lodger, but the film clearly shows her less romantic understanding of her position by her encouraging the lodger's competition, the detective, until the very end. The Manxman, The Skin Game, Marnie, and in varying degrees many of the other films are about the effect of class on romantic attachments and marital decisions. The Farmer's Wife is particularly poignant in its depiction of a smart and beautiful servant who graciously accepts the hand of the slightly humbled widower whom three of the propertied women in the neighborhood have refused. 0. B. Hardison discusses the strong class identity of many of the protagonists of the British films and carefully points out the variance in what that identity communicates. For instance, Sir John, of Murder!, represents the upper class as noblesse oblige, a source of deliverance for the wrongly accused woman, while the leader of The 39 Steps represents the evil of the extremely wealthy, who must be destroyed by the middle-class hero.50

While Hitchcock continued to the end of his career to sketch character with the symbols of class status, his acuteness in this regard fell out of step in the more mutating environment of the United States and the changing sexual mores of the postwar period. For instance, he claimed that the "idea" of The Paradine Case and Under Capricorn was the same, the central love affair as a study in "degradation" - in the first film, a lawyer who "gives up an elegant wife for a woman who can take any man, even a groom (servant)," and in the second film, a woman of property who marries a servant.51This assertion, however, is belied by the more essential differences between the two films. The first is a story about a man whose pride and confidence blind him, while the second is a story about a woman victimized by her family. As well, and typically, the provoking characters in each film are empowered and humanized sufficiently to make the simple concept (degradation) that Hitchcock continues to associate with the films totally disappear. In fact, it is their reference to sex differences, not class differences, that allows these films to have the same "idea."

John Smith describes the British films as revealing a dialectical struggle of the claims of social propriety over those of the instincts, a struggle that is played out in a narrative interest in order and disorder. He argues that the commitment of the character to individualism forces the "endurance" of disorder, cruelty, evil, and perhaps madness, but generally ends in a "balanced acknowledgment of social reality," a mature acceptance of "impersonal forces." Hitchcock's political position is thus defined as conservative individualism. In reasoning typical of much Hitchcock criticism, Smith focuses (in a discussion of The Farmer's Wife) on the farmer's triumph in accepting what he has - after all, he has found the "perfect wife" in his servant - rather than the servant's triumph in gaining an economic foothold in exchange for her continued "endurance." Nonetheless, Smith's is an argument of considerable subtlety, which suggests that Hitchcock's own commitment to a commercial style parallels his thematic interest in the submission of individual character to impersonal forces for the purpose of gaining success and happiness in the world.52

In a similar vein, other critics have pointed out that one of Hitchcock's strengths is his disinclination to associate a clear identity with any social institutions, especially law enforcement. Ed Buscombe argues that Hitchcock, like Charles Dickens, used his "own personal feelings about the law to prevent the audience from assuming an identity between the forces of law and the forces of good."53 In other words, representatives of law and government are as blandly unpredictable as other humans. From the time of The Lodger (in which the detective, in the grip of jealousy, convinces himself that the lodger is the murderer), Hitchcock carefully documents their vulnerability to the weakening effects of desire and fantasy.

In discussing Topaz, intended to be a pro-West Cold War film, Michael Walker points out that it is actually directed so that the political viewpoint is canceled by sympathy for the characters, who experience betrayal at every turn, and reveal a "universal sense of suffering and loss."54 Kirsten Witte chronicles the reception of Hitchcock's films in Germany, where he has always been known as a political filmmaker, with first an anti-fascist and anti-German bias, and later, in the 1960s, an anti-communist bias. Witte, however, finds the films of the 1930s and 1940s not at all biased but a reflection of the prevailing "complex of fear, an exceptional document of the real suffering in Europe, an expression of political persecution."55 Ina Rae Hark examines the role of "citizen-amateur" in the British thrillers, its literary antecedents and historical context. She draws an analogy between the "ill-behaved spectators" in the many theater scenes in the films and the actual spectators of a Hitchcock film, and concludes that Hitchcock encouraged the viewers of his films to mentally "disrupt [his own directorial] performances designed to lull them into complacent reliance on authority."56

Thus this conservatism is tied to responsibility and to narratives that illustrate the consequences of complacency, or irresponsibility. Andrew Sarris first expounded the centrality of this theme after Hitchcock himself had repeatedly described complacency as the central theme of The Birds while promoting the film in 1963. "Hitchcock's repeated invasions of everyday life with the most outrageous melodramatic devices have shaken the foundations of the facile humanism that insists that people are good, and only the systems evil. ... He insists upon a moral reckoning for his characters and for his audience."57

This expounding of the relation of the individual to society (and its institutions) has its most persistent evocation in the depiction of sex roles. Michel Serceau argues that Hitchcock's understanding of sexual politics - the tempting woman, the trapped man - allow him to generalize about men's passivity and complacent desire to enjoy only the material things offered them. The protagonist's superficiality means that "physical love is never based on or motivated by an understanding between two beings; it occurs ... in this void, which points out the danger."58 Robin Wood analyzed Shadow of a Doubt as it reveals the structural tensions and contradictory myths of American capitalist ideology. After listing the economic issues surrounding the depiction of home, workplace, opportunity, and income, he develops a similar idea of the Ideal Male ("potent adventurer," unattached man of action) and Ideal Female (supportive mother, devoted wife), contrasted with their "shadows," the dull husband/father and the erotic woman/betrayer.59 Hitchcock's belief in and fascination with the construction of, as Wood puts it, the "Ideal Couple of quite staggering incompatibility," is evident, as is his fascination with the shadow types.

James B. McLaughlin examines the characters in Shadow of a Doubt and relates the theme of the family to the theme of disgust, where the doubles mock "all bourgeois conceptions of the individual as a single solitary self." Through Charlie's transformation from an independent woman (shadow type) to a supportive wife, he theorizes the family as both threatening and a trap.60 Diane Carson analyzes the lead and supporting roles in the same film to illustrate further the dependency of all the characters' identities on sex roles and the unhappiness that arises from it, especially for the women. With brief references to other films, she concludes that Hitchcock's women characters live in "the nightmare world of patriarchal rule," where neither marriage nor independence is an escape.61

Social and political Hitchcock is then very much patriarchal Hitchcock, revealing at the broadest level a fatherly interest in the characters and their circumstances, a tolerant urge to accept and protect them, along with a moral urge to correct them and thereby instruct the audience. Alongside this is the expected upset and confusion over the place of sexuality in what is conceived to be a god-like role; the image of the patriarch is tarnished by the guilt generated by "base" instincts. Rohmer and Chabrol discuss the libido sciendi, or lust for knowledge, that drives many of the characters as well as the director, and Noël Simsolo assesses the director as a man who "esteemed himself" above all others and desired to create as an equal of God.62


The complexity and depth of Hitchcock's work have made it attractive to psychoanalytic-semiotic criticism. In summarizing what can only be described as extremely challenging material, I would first like to quote Janet Bergstrom's assertion about the work of Raymond Bellour, that "it is impossible to reduce these studies to schematic arguments or information."63 This caveat applies to some of the literature I have already discussed and most of what follows in this critical survey. Second, the psychoanalytic concepts referred to in these summaries, especially the ones from Jacques Lacan, are sometimes interpreted by each author for his or her own critical purposes. To illustrate, Bellour's analysis of North by Northwest (summarized below) is titled "Le blocage symbolique." This title is interpreted by Bill Nichols as an aspect of the spectator, who is "pinned down" by illusionist strategies of cinema, unable to exit the fantasy world of what "I" might be and enter the symbolic world with the ability to pursue a relationship based on a solid identity. Leland Poague and Marshall Deutelbaum, on the other hand, define "le blocage symbolique" as closure of the narrative, the displacement of the (now-dead) father by the son, and the maturing into the symbolic of the story character."64 While it may be possible to reconcile these two usages of the term, it clearly cannot be done in the space available here. As the terms are in any case philosophically (and freely) applied, I link them together with only the most general attempt to make them consistent.

One of the many directions in which Hitchcock's own lust for knowledge sent him was on a quest for an understanding of human psychology. After all, he not only had to reliably predict audience attendance, which he thought depended on his ability to create "believable" characters, he also had to direct large teams of collaborators and support workers in his vision, which required him to get their cooperation. Kenneth MacPherson wrote an article in 1929 that undoubtedly encouraged Hitchcock's native interest in the relationship of character psychology to the technical apparatus with which he worked. MacPherson lauded Blackmail for its "comprehension of the relationship of techniques" and contribution to a "sight-sound aesthetic." He recommended that all filmmakers explore action and its source, "the interacting of conscious and unconscious. [The highest form of film is] the film of imagery and action, psychology and physiology, or better still, psychology through physiology."65

Hitchcock's films consistently reveal a belief, as Victor Burgin has summarized in relation to them, that "unconscious wishes and forces are as immutable a force in our lives as any material circumstance. ... [They are marked] by stability, coherence, and constancy of [effect] upon perceptions and actions of the subject." But, as Burgin continues, aside from this knowledge, and absent from Hitchcock's work, is the fact that "psychoanalysis recognizes no such possible state of unambiguous and self-possessed lucidity in which the external world is seen for and known as simply what it is."66

Hitchcock's lifelong respect for psychology as an aid to understanding human nature became a movie theme in Spellbound, a film that, according to Alexander Doty, "summarized and integrated all previous cinematic lore on Freud and psychiatry." Doty suggests that Hitchcock and the screenwriter, Ben Hecht, simplified the material in an "earnest" effort to communicate psychoanalytic principles to the audience.67 Andrew Britton points out that the vocabulary of the opening titles "suggests that the attainment of normality (reason) is like the entry to a state of grace, and that psychoanalysis is analogous to exorcism."68 At the level of narrative, psychoanalysis is in this way shown to be Hitchcock's faith, his religion. Garry Leonard argues that Hitchcock understood these principles to be outside himself, insisting on the "self-possessed lucidity" of the director as "the representative of the patriarchal order, and the myth of the coherent self," and Raymond Bellour, when discussing the prevalence of the mask in Hitchcock's films, describes its appearance in Marnie as psychoanalysis.69

The attribution of a character's action to unconscious motive is evidenced in virtually all the films; to the extent Hitchcock used mental disorder as a theme (amnesia in Spellbound, nervous breakdown in The Wrong Man, voyeurism in Rear Window) there is critical commentary. However, the first extensive Freudian interpretation of Hitchcock is Jean Douchet's Alfred Hitchcock, published in 1967. Unlike Robin Wood, Douchet did not put aside suspense as method secondary to meaning; instead, he presented it as having many clearly differentiated manifestations: "esoteric suspense," "aesthetic suspense," and "the suspense of creation." With this critical construct, Douchet connects Hitchcock's method as well as his personality - in particular the persistent vitality of his intellectual approach to filmmaking - to his success and the depth of meaning in his films. For Douchet, Hitchcock is constantly meditating on the "powerful hold of impotence, the sole source of suspense." Even in those like Norman Bates, who hold the power of life and death over other characters, weakness must be uncovered because the feeling of weakness is the source of the neurotic or psychotic action.70

According to Douchet, Hitchcock himself attempts to overcome weakness by his position as a film director, an on-the-set "all-powerful Father." Hitchcock's ambition was to affect as large an audience as possible and he carefully measured his career to that end. Douchet argues that Hitchcock, beginning in the 1950s, attempted to empower the spectator through "cinematic lessons" as a new way to hold the more sophisticated modern audience. The focus on the distance between spectator and spectacle in Rear Window, resulting in the film's internally articulated relation to voyeuristic pleasure, is one example.71 Likewise, the graphic emphases of North by Northwest create in the spectator an awareness of the construction of the story, while Vertigo, generally considered the most personal of Hitchcock's films, shows the limits of the "fetishistic director" in its elaboration of the horrible consequences he fears from his own compulsive behavior. In an unusual interpretation of Family Plot, Douchet describes the film as the final step in the director's efforts to "mobilize the intellectual world of the public" by leading them to an awareness of the story as story, and so prove himself a good Father. Ironically, it is a very smart stereotypical female character - the alternately demanding and hysterically dependent Madame Blanche - who "parodies the master" with her crystal ball and indulgently winks at the audience in the final shot of the film, signaling the cover of her good detective work with superstition.72

Alongside the study of the aesthetic appearance of Freudian ideas about scoptophilia - voyeurism, fetishism, as well as more psychotic behavior - is the originally structural study of narrative as Oedipal transformation. Peter Wollen calls it the "hybrid plot" and describes the distinctive relationship of the Oedipal story to Hitchcock's films in the similar identity of the investigator and the criminal. While the plots are otherwise not alike, they are related through similar "mechanisms of transformation" that concern what Freud called the "family romance," the fantasy of belonging to an imaginary family that is different from one's own, the fairy tale "family of the princess."73

In 1974, Raymond Bellour proved Douchet's notion of the obsessive graphic patterning of North by Northwest and combined it with Wollen's ideas about fairy tale structure in his own obsessive 115-page analysis of the Hitchcockian dialectic, defined as the Oedipal trajectory of the hero through an identity crisis and into a bourgeois marriage, or socially sanctioned sexual relationship.74 As Janet Bergstrom, after Bellour, puts it, the end of the film "underscore[s] emphatically the positive resolution of sexuality as a problem."75 Though a reading of Bellour's essays offers a plethora of approaches to the films he discusses, his work is typically summarized as focused on the controlling mechanisms of the male gaze in classical narrative cinema, exemplified by the films of Hitchcock, in which is presented a tale of the successful formation of the couple, a movement of the male character through the immaturity of perverted forms of sexuality toward a happier, conventional heterosexual relationship.

The ways in which Hitchcock's films contradict this collapsed argument have been analyzed from several different angles. In a psychoanalytic reading of Notorious, Michael Renov analyzes the processes of identification, especially around the paired activities of knowledge and sight, and the splitting of the male function between Alex and "Dev." He concludes that "Alicia is made to pay the price of female transgression against the male value system through the spectator's identification with [Alex] at the film's conclusion." In other words, the happy heterosexual relationship is marred by its consummation at the expense of someone else.76 Other writers reach similar conclusions, illustrating the consequences for audience identification of Devlin's manipulations, Alicia's near-death, and Alex's presumed death, to the extent these events put into question the notion of the couple's living happily ever after.

In a similar vein Andrew Britton explicates the "ideological projects" of Spellbound, the validation of psychoanalysis as truth leading to normality, and the transformation of a professional woman into a "real" woman-wife. Focusing on sexual imagery and parental and sex roles, he concludes that these projects are on the surface of the film, subverted by the repressed meanings, which blur the "normal and the abnormal [and indicate] insoluble conflicts in the main sexual relationship."77 Some of this "subversion," which exists in the enunciation - in the telling of the story, not necessarily in the story itself - is a persistent aspect of the criticism, and has been shown to be consciously imposed. Hitchcock, for instance, told an interviewer that he had to threaten the eleven-year-old Nova Pilbeam in order to get her to recoil from her movie parents in the last shot of The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934); the young actress did not understand this nonresolute aspect of the resolution of the film. Though she is saved by her parents, the audience is not allowed to forget that she has suffered by their negligence and will continue to suffer.78

In other words, Hitchcock's reworking of the Oedipal fantasy - the "myth of the coherent self" - at the narrative level is consistently undercut by his focus on the impotence of the characters. Feminist critics, particularly Tania Modleski, emphasize this aspect especially for the women characters, who are at the very least psychically trapped and frequently physically abused. Robin Wood says it is a "basic principle" of Hitchcock's identification practice to associate the audience with whoever is being threatened. It is this aspect, one of the most noted examples of which is Norman Bates's vulnerability, that accounts for Hitchcock's reputation for realism, as well as some of the charges of "immorality." Like most critics, Wood describes Psycho as "one of the key works of our age" in its articulation of the dominance of the past over the present and the persistence of parent-child relationships; others see it as profoundly shocking, the first of a stillgrowing list of offensive horror films that depict the victimization of women. Aside from the issues raised in these statements by the uneasy relationship of morality and aesthetics, it is these kinds of ideas that lead some critics, like Raymond Bellour, to step away from frequently voiced critical concerns such as the normality or abnormality of the characters, suggesting that everyone identifies to some extent with the neurotic space of the films.

In an analysis of The Birds, Bill Nichols cautions against a "reductionism that describes virtually all social phenomena in terms of the re-enactment of the childhood scenario." Nonetheless, he finds the film "regressive" in its punishing of Melanie as the other, who has dared to "infiltrate" the Brenner family. It is not only her narrative functioning that makes her vulnerable; it is also, at the level of enunciation, her show of power to the audience. Nichols is one of many who sees the character of Melanie as the culmination of a long line of women in Hitchcock's films who are viciously punished for daring a commanding look, being a better intelligence gatherer, or, as Nichols theorizes, attempting to replace the mother.79 In fact, in The Birds, it is that moment in the boat when Melanie consciously transforms her look into one of sweet innocence (disguising her guile) that the first bird attacks her.


In their emphasis on family relationships and sexual development, psychoanalytic analyses opened many new approaches to the traditional Hitchcockian theme of male/female relationships. Early French critics skipped over the aspect of violence to women in the films, preferring to speak of "man's passivity" and lust for knowledge, and assuming the protagonist's goal of obtaining a "beautiful woman" to be a legitimate and uncomplicated one. English critics followed in step, and not until very recently have these assumptions been consistently challenged. Because the work summarized here is limited to commentary on Hitchcock, only pieces of a much larger debate in feminist film theory will be evident.

Readings of Hitchcock films that reflect a "male" understanding of what is on the screen are the majority; frequently they are supported by quotations from (appeals to the authority of) Hitchcock himself. Tania Modleski illustrates well the difference between Hitchcock's precis of Blackmail, centered on the detective's conflict between love and duty, and the film itself, which is centered on the conflict of the woman; she also points out the euphemisms (like "seduction") and jokes male critics use to describe the attempted rape in the film.80 Critical treatment of the contrasted characters of Midge and Madeleine/Judy in Vertigo is also revealing in this regard. Most critics adopt an understanding of these two characters based on the stereotypical Ideal Female coding of the film. At the extreme, this results in a view of Scottie on a "spiritual" quest, thwarted by Judy's "destructive" refusal to be Madeleine, and misunderstood by Midge, who represents a "cruel debasement of feminine values."81 Feminist critics, on the other hand, are more likely to point out the film's centering of Midge's stability, her courage in attempting to laugh Scottie out of his obsession, and her caring for him in the sanitarium. As Karen Hollinger points out, these scenes "graphically illustrate the incompatibility of male desire with female individuality, independence, and imagination as expressed in the character of Midge."82

In 1975 Laura Mulvey published an influential analysis concerned with the relationship of the development of sexual difference to film form, arguing that classical narrative cinema is determined by a male visual system. She theorized that Hitchcock's films, and by extension, all Hollywood classical narrative films, consistently illustrate two "avenues of escape" - types of scoptophilia - from the castration anxiety that the female form evokes through its "lack" or representation of castration. These are voyeurism, an obsessional investigating of the form through the framing of the look, and fetishism, the building up of the beauty of the object. Rear Window and Vertigo, respectively, represent these problems of the protagonist as he unconsciously grapples with the tensions and contradictions surrounding issues of identity that these avenues of escape do not entirely smooth over.83 Jacqueline Rose adds to this an idea of paranoia as the "aggressive corollary of the narcissistic structure" that the above construct assumes cinematic form to be. Analyzing The Birds, she argues that the male is actually dependent on the female, acquiring his identity only through the woman and her representation of castration. The woman is defined as transgression, made to be "both the cause and effect of the aggressivity which drives the narrative" to its resolution.84

While neither of these critics presents the male system attributed to Hitchcock quite as monolithically as is generally assumed (Mulvey asserts that the gaze of Hitchcock's camera is "uneasy"), Sandy Flitterman is one of the first feminist critics to suggest that Hitchcock's films may in some way admit power to the female characters. In explicating the work of Bellour on Marnie, which theorizes Hitchcock, "the enunciator," a man of "pure image-power, the camera-wish, of which the object choice is here the woman," Flitterman focuses on his analysis of the first appearance of Marnie's face, when she washes the dye from her hair and looks into the camera. She asserts that Marnie, by changing her own identity, "constitutes herself as an image of desire." Knowing she/it is objectified, she consciously offers herself to the viewer as an image.85

Building on these ideas, Bellour in 1979 analyzed Psycho as an exceptionally clear version of the Hitchcockian system, a film that announces in itself "the mechanisms that govern its operation," mechanisms provoked by problems of sexual difference and identity. He concludes with a conception of Hitchcock as an artist who reflects, perhaps unconsciously, on the "inevitable relationship" in our society between neurosis, here represented by theft, and psychosis, represented by murder. In Psycho, the "woman, the subject of neurosis, becomes the object of psychosis of which the man is the subject." Bellour outlined further tenets of the Hitchcockian system. First, that the woman characters do kill, but only in response to being the object of a psychotic attack, such as in Blackmail or Dial M for Murder. Second, that women characters manifest psychotic tendencies only to the extent their male-hero-counterpart has suffered a loss of identity, as in The Wrong Man and Under Capricorn. Finally, that male characters may be the subject of neurosis, but if they are, it is always overshadowed by a psychosis (ritual testing) that allows the neurosis to be resolved by action, as in North by Northwest.86

The relationship between the formation of the heterosexual couple and violence to women begins at this point to take clearer form. At the end of the previous section, the concept of the narrative "punishment" of the woman was noted, punishment that frequently results in the literal obliteration of her look. The unfocused staring off of a character signaling depression or trauma is a staple of Hitchcockian expression, occurring in a minor fashion in almost every film: Larita in Easy Virtue, Johnny in Juno and the Paycock, Elsa in Secret Agent. Certain films, however, are narratively centered on such trauma. The first such victim in Hitchcock's films is the character played by Ivor Novello in Downhill, a youth victimized by his own upper-class mentality, who stumbles home in the last scene through an expressionist blur. The next male victim appears thirty years later - Scottie in Vertigo. In between and after are women: Alice in Blackmail, Diana in Murder!, Alicia in Notorious, Melanie in The Birds. More extreme are the murdered women of Psycho and Frenzy, their end confirmed by a dead stare. Jeanne Thomas Allen, in an analysis of Frenzy, takes the end view of Hitchcock as a misogynist, arguing that the film is centered on the victimization of women and negates the importance of women's welfare. She concludes that Hitchcock metaphoricizes "women's victimization into a human universal" and manipulates the spectator into identification with male aggression.87

Susan Lurie, in a move away from this notion of woman as lack, symbol of castration, inevitable powerless victim, assesses the depiction of physical punishment in light of the character of Melanie in The Birds as a symbolic "powerful castrated penis." She analyzes the film and its metaphors, particularly cages, as it expresses the male need to contain "the lovely young woman" who has successfully advanced on Bodega Bay, by the "positioning of the desired woman in the place of a helpless child," that is, by punishing her desire and capacity.88

Barbara Klinger and Tania Modleski subsequently published articles in 1982 that further questioned the use of Hitchcock's films as exemplary of the visual system of classical narrative cinema. Modleski theorizes the narrativization of a female Oedipal trajectory in Rebecca, its many difficulties, and disconcerting resolution. She illustrates the film's obsession with getting rid of the memory of Rebecca, the "perfect wife" who in fact scorned her husband, so that the unnamed second wife may evolve into a confident and true "perfect wife."89 Klinger addresses the notion of symmetry in Psycho and the formal requirement of an end that replies to the beginning. She shows that the terms of problematic sexual difference expressed in the beginning (Marion as erotic object, without her clothes, in a sexual liaison outside the law) are in the end repressed, displaced by a focus on the mother, who in the end, in an "erasure of difference," possesses a phallus.90

Modleski's 1988 monograph, The Women Who Knew Too Much, directly counters the view of women in these films as passive objects of male voyeurism and women spectators as masochistic. She argues that Hitchcock's films reveal a "strong fascination and identification with femininity" that makes them deeply ambivalent toward women and "resistant to patriarchal assimilation" while expressing an intertwining of misogyny and sympathy for women. Focusing on the concept of female bisexuality and the consequent "double desire" of the female spectator who is likely to identify with both the female and the male characters, she asserts that Hitchcock's identification with femininity is shared by the male spectator, who is made frightfully aware of his own potential bisexuality, and therefore requires the violence toward women that marks the films. Analyzing several of the films, she effectively ties bisexuality to power relations and their playing out in Hitchcock's films, where the male subject is fascinated and then threatened by bisexuality, and the woman "pays for this ambivalence - often with her life itself."91

Most recent academic articles on Hitchcock are informed by an awareness of, if not a reliance on, feminist critical principles; it is the formal rigor of the films and emphasis on the processes of identification that have made his work so fertile for analysis of sexual difference. One of the most recent instances is an essay by D. A. Miller on homosexuality and Rope that illustrates the obsession of technique (the ten-minute take) with the "non-obsession" of homosexuality, so that "technique acquires all the transgressive fascination [Hitchcock and his critics have always claimed the long takes did not work] of homosexuality, while homosexuality is consigned to the status of a dry technical detail."92

This continuing investigation of difference has also led to a broadening of the study to include other social issues such as class. Michele Piso, for instance, discerns class antagonism between the two main characters of Marnie, a power relationship between a domineering man of wealth and a rebellious woman of poverty, that necessarily takes the plot toward the conservative conclusion of the woman's maturation and acceptance of the man's superior knowledge. Piso shows that despite the "happy" end, even within the film's own terms, the central relationship remains clearly one of subjugation.93


Other recent work on Hitchcock is concerned with his relation to film history and the different film cultures (of place, of time) in which he worked, as well as the broader social environment in which the films participate. Most of the studies discussed above, while covering the internal aesthetics and moral viewpoint of the films, have revealed little about, for instance, their popularity. Maurice Yacowar, whose Hitchcock's British Films is the lone comprehensive auteur study of the British period, comments that The Pleasure Garden reveals "the moral rigor ... of a director fresh from the working class."94 Why this is so or what relevance it might have is not investigated.

Patricia Ferrara, opposing standard critical assumption, deemphasizes Hitchcock's Catholic upbringing and emphasizes the British middle-class aspect of his youth, which she sees expressed in the "bourgeois" fears of breaking the law or offending social morality. She posits a "neutral attitude," not dogma, to be the crux of Hitchcock's films and relates this to the critical accusations of a lack of substance, which she interprets as a lack of "political ideology ... a severe disinclination to take sides." Finally, she examines the theme of conventional-unconventional as a continuum, concluding that the dark side of the films internalizes social rigidities while the light side shows characters who escape such a rigidity, and that both are the serious reflection of a man who was not sure where he fitted in conventional society.95

Tom Ryall's work, Alfred Hitchcock and the British Cinema, is the most detailed and extensive in the area of cultural history, a contextual synthesis that reveals a great amount about Hitchcockian influences and sources. Opposed to auteur criticism, Ryall describes in fascinating and complex detail the "norms and conventions of film making" in the 1920s and 1930s, effectively intertwining British film culture and national cinema with the rise of Hitchcock. In addition to the historical descriptions, Ryall also devotes chapters to Hitchcock and the thriller genre and Hitchcock's relation to classical narrative cinema. He defines the thriller genre that influenced Hitchcock as primarily literary and shows that the varying literary sources of the films explain the differences in philosophy among them. He also asserts that romance, in the sense of male/female relations, is the uniquely Hitchcockian addition to the thriller genre, arguing that the heterosexual couple is placed in the position of the hero.96 Both of these points are reinforced by other writers in the critical literature, such as Stuart McDougal on The 39 Steps or James Goodwin on Sabotage.97

While the literary influences have been thus documented, the film influences remain more elusive. Genre criticism is dominated by a wide range of popular, impressionistic critical works - on the thriller, spy films, mysteries - most of which contain commentary on the films of Hitchcock as a successful example. Nonetheless, there is no acceptance of precisely what elements compose a film genre, though it is generally agreed that categories used are too large or insufficiently defined as to time period. In discussing Hitchcock's films, Durgnat suggests many comparisons to contemporaneous British and American formula films, but none are detailed; most other genre discussions are structural comparisons of two films, such as Ricarda Strobel's book-length comparison of Lifeboat and [Orson Welles's] The Stranger as melodrama and propaganda, or Robin Wood on Shadow of a Doubt and It's a Wonderful Life.98

Ed Gallefant defines a new genre called "the paranoid couple's film," which combines melodrama, in assigning fantasy to the woman, and realism/horror, in assigning purpose to the man. But, he argues in an analysis of Rebecca, the combination results in a turnaround, for "the fantasy life of the man is as important as that of the woman" and even guides the woman toward "realistic" behavior intended to fulfill the man's fantasy.99

The generic conventions of realism, fantasy, and the woman's film are in this way intertwined, and a look back at the films and the criticism reinforces Gallefant's point. The collapse of the man's fantasy results in the dreaded "downbeat" ending, as well as commercial weakness, in The Manxman, The Skin Game, Jamaica Inn, The Paradine Case, and Vertigo. In some of the other more popular films, the fantasies are combined into the man's fantasy of a "perfect wife." Mary Ann Doane describes the woman's film as an attempt to constitute itself as the "mirror image of dominant cinema," centering instead on a female protagonist while remaining ideologically compatible. The "aggressivity of the look," which many critics argue results in punishment for the woman, is alternatively transformed into the "narrativised paranoia" surrounding woman's desire to replicate an image that attracts the male gaze.100 Suspicion and Rebecca are the exemplary films here, both made at the height of the popularity of the woman's film formula. Michele Duckert discusses them as cautionary tales not only to the woman but also to the man, whose lack of integrity is revealed. Following this logic, the films also become exercises in compromise, where the powerful woman does not resist enough, but stays for the sake of companionship and a future in society.101

But it is the horror film, and its prime representative Psycho, that has been most clearly revealed within the study of genre. In one of several structural analyses of the slasher film, Carol J. Clover argues in support of Wood's definition of the horror film as the "byproduct of cultural crisis and disintegration ... the most important of all American film genres and perhaps the most progressive, even in its overt nihilism," and of Modleski's definition of the slasher film as a genre that "does not promote harmony or specious good, does not ply the mechanisms of identification, narrative continuity, and closure to provide pleasure in constituting dominant ideology." Clover then distinguishes between the more modern (post-Hitchcock) interest of the genre in the fantasy of role reversal and the "higher forms of horror" like Psycho where "femininity is more conventionally elaborated and inexorably punished in an emphatically masculine environment."102

In another chapter of his book Ryall traces Hitchcock's career as it coincides with the development of classical narrative cinema. Filling out the work by Bonitzer on the look that was discussed earlier in this essay, Ryall concludes that Hitchcock balanced the features of the classical norm (which in any case was his major infiuence) with more open, documentary-like "loose ends.103

William Fisher describes the resultant flexibility of Hitchcock's work in fulfilling the "masterpiece requirements of auteurist values" as well as providing a textbook illustration of psychoanalytic-semiotic principles, and argues that the work provides a basis of shared understanding that defies the "sclerotic character" of the term classical narrative cinema.104 Taking up Harold Bloom's idea of "strong poets" who take and use their own readings of the language and images of their predecessors in their work, Fisher posits such "intertextuality" as the basis of Brian DePalma's work as it relates to Hitchcock's. He argues that DePalma uses the shared cinematic experience with the audience that Hitchcock's work has supplied in order to render a "formal reinvention of the received moments" but for more progressive ends. Mark Van Doren wrote similarly of Hitchcock in 1937, that "a live wire seems to run backward from any of his films to all the best films one can remember, connecting them with it in a conspiracy to shock us into a special state of consciousness with respect to the art."105

These areas of genre criticism and classical narrative are further complicated by the fact that in the films of Hitchcock genre, plot, and character conventions are freely mixed, just as identification and technical methods are. Robin Wood, and later, John Belton, describes Hitchcock's formal appropriation of both Expressionist and constructivist techniques, which arose out of opposing ideologies. Wood concludes, much like Ferrara above, that Hitchcock's films arrive at a nonideological synthesis of them, or as Wood says, a "perversion" of both for the purpose of creating "bourgeois entertainment."106

Just as Hitchcock freely mixed, so do his critics, frequently arriving at contradictory conclusions. Equating melodrama with essential cinematic form, Michael Pressler analyzes the two versions of Strangers on a Train and concludes that the "rapid motion and mounting tension - the rigors of melodramatic form," preclude the more subtle psychoanalytical approach of the book because such changes effectively satisfy audience expectation of the hero's upright moral character.107 Ronald Christ, however, argues in discussing the same film that any such search for meaning (either psychoanalytic or ethical) "reduces the quality of perception" of the film, which, in its purity of form, has actually freed us "from the obligation to moralize and psychologize."108

Fredric Jameson, in a critique of Rothman's The Murderous Gaze that might apply as well to the above two critics, discusses the theoretical pitfalls attending Rothman's lack of a historical understanding of genre, and concludes that his readings reveal a type of idealism that transforms "a formal structure or feature into a type of content."109 As this is the single most common conclusion concerning Hitchcock's work -that form creates content - Jameson is in effect questioning a large amount of the criticism. Following his logic, the majority of criticism on the films of Hitchcock, beginning with Chabrol and Rohmer and culminating in the work of Rothman and Lesley Brill, exhibits in itself the very weakness it denies in the films, that is, an emphasis on the ordering of the formal surface resulting in arbitrary meaning, or "no" meaning.

The work of Lesley Brill, whose understanding of the meaning of Hitchcock's films is very much at odds with the majority of Hitchcockian criticism, is most relevant here. Brill, who in analyzing the formal elements makes few references to anything outside the films, sees them as "a romantic vision of innocence and immortality," "happy fairy tales," which through the integration of past and present, and true and false love, lead to the "recovery of innocence in wedded bliss."110

Looking at the criticism on Hitchcock, especially monographs like Rothman's and Brill's, it is difficult to appreciate David Bordwell's assertion in Making Meaning that film critics of the last twenty years pay "scarcely any attention to form and style." When Bordwell reviews the critical history of Psycho in his book, he concludes that the seven works he analyzes (from Douchet in 1960 through Poague in 1986) "display a high degree of consensus" due to their "tacit dependence upon norms of comprehension[:] genre conventions, beginnings and endings, character actions, decisive twists in the plot, key props." But in order to clear the way for this consensus, he must first equalize the differing interpretations. Summing up the work of Raymond Bellour, for instance, he concludes, for "the film critic as social critic, criticism [is] an assault on dominant ideology ... [which] may excite the emotions of a reader who hopes to participate in the dismantling of oppressive political structures." Social criticism is then one of many methods, all dependent on the same "norms of comprehension," and therefore allowing merely differing interpretations of, to his mind, equal merit.111

But as I indicated in the section on feminist criticism, it is these "norms of comprehension" that are frequently for feminist critics the more important point of contention. In her essay on Blackmail, Modleski quotes various critics' descriptions of the rape scene: "violent love," "fairly violent pass," "seduction," "forcibly embraced," and also points out the common critical presumption of Alice's guilt in murdering her attacker. She then disputes such "obvious" understanding, and quotes Catherine MacKinnon on the importance in legal interpretation of "whose meaning wins." Whether the act is a rape or a seduction is not merely an interpretive difference but has consequences - Alice's guilt or innocence. In Hitchcock's typically evenhanded design, the film itself seems to be aware of these differing interpretations, though also, just as typically, it displays little interest in "whose meaning wins."112

Ryall quotes an assessment by Thomas Elsaesser which concludes that Hitchcock displayed "a far more explicitly intellectual analytic approach" to filmmaking than classical norms required.113 It is this insight that perhaps provides the most significant clue to the enduring fascination Hitchcock's films hold for such a wide range of viewers. That he developed an opinion on and some expertise in virtually every detail of filmmaking during his fifty years in the business is significant. How he did this - the question of his collaborative style - has not been sufficiently investigated. His biographers document his persistent attraction to strong creative talent, his pride in working with well-known writers, for instance, and his bitterness when he had to settle for talent he considered second-rate. One of the themes of the Truffaut interviews is the placing of blame for failings in the films on the compromise use of the "wrong" writer or actor. This attraction to free-thinking talent, which to some extent became associated for Hitchcock with youthful talent, never really faded and is largely undocumented. His disinclination to express gratitude, for example, hides his career-long dependency on others for both stories and dialogue. But the fact that he denied the input of others is not as significant as that he consistently used their ideas. From what little is known about Alma Reville Hitchcock we can deduce that Hitchcock never worked from a single mind. And that acknowledgment hardly begins to consider the many other enduring creative relationships he had. Two cinematographers, Robert Burks and Jack Cox, for instance, shot twenty-three of the films.

In this light the historical understanding of genre that many note as missing from film criticism becomes even more of a gap in Hitchcockian criticism because Hitchcock's primary method was in fact "formal reinvention" - of literary work, of other films, of stories in the newspapers, of others' ideas, of his own ideas; his favored analogy for film directing was music conducting. As Jean Narboni concluded, in Hitchcock, there are "many signs, no facts."114 Far from the lonely romantic artist, he appears to have been more of a sponge, eager to adapt the point of view that would sell, and open to any idea that seemed good, insistent only that it fit his design.


[In the following, 'entry' refers to the abstract of the cited work in Jane Sloan's book.]

1. Robin Wood, Hitchcock's Films Revisited (New York: Columbia University Press, 1989). (entry 852, includes reprint of 1965 work, entry 355)

2. Lee Russell [Peter Wollen], "Alfred Hitchcock," New Left Review, no. 35 (January-February 1966):89-92. (entry 334)

3. Edward Buscombe, "Dickens and Hitchcock," Screen 11, no. 4-5 (August-September 1970):97-114. (entry 365)

4. Donald Spoto, The Art of Alfred Hitchcock: Fifty Years of His Motion Pictures (New York: Hopkinson & Blake, 1976). (entry 445)

5. Tania Modleski, The Women Who Knew Too Much: Hitchcock and Feminist Theory (New York: Methuen, 1988). (entry 833)

6. Charles Thomas Samuels, "Hitchcock," American Scholar 39, no. 2 (Spring 1970):295-304; Lindsay Anderson, "Alfred Hitchcock," Sequence (London Film Club), no. 9, (Autumn 1949):113-124; William S. Pechter, "The director vanishes," Moviegoer, no. 2 (Summer 1964) 37-50. (entries 370, 187, 314) Examples of the opposite viewpoint are Wood, Hitchcock's Films Revisited, and Peter Bogdanovich, The Cinema of Alfred Hitchcock (New York: Museum of Modern Art Film Library, 1963). (entry 295)

7. Raymond Durgnat, The Strange Case of Alfred Hitchcock (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1974). (entry 363)

8. Jean François Tarnowski, "De quelques problèmes de mise en scène (propos de Frenzy d'Alfred Hitchcock)," Positif, no. 158 (April 1974):46-60. (entry 425)

9. Sam P. Simone, Hitchcock as Activist (Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan Research Press, 1985). (entry 755)

10. Charles Bitsch and François Truffaut, "Rencontre avec Alfred Hitchcock," Cahiers du Cinéma 11, no. 62 (August-September 1956), p. 5. (entry 234)

11. Kirk Bond, "The other Alfred Hitchcock," Film Culture, no. 41 (Summer 1966):30-35. (entry 326)

12. Tom Ryall, Alfred Hitchcock and the British Cinema (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1986), pp. 7-18. (entry 775)

13. John Grierson, "The Hitch in Hitchcock," Everyman (December 24, 1931):722; Robert Herring, "The latest British masterpiece," Close Up 2, no. 1 (January 1928):32-38. (entries 89 and 71)

14. Anderson, "Alfred Hitchcock," passim.

15. Alexandre Astruc, "Au-dessous de volcan," Cahiers du Cinéma 1, no. I (April 1951):29. (entry 201)

16. Hans Lucas [Jean-Luc Godard], "Suprématie du sujet," Cahiers du Cinéma 2, no. 10 (1952):59-61. (entry 207)

17. Maurice Schèrer [Eric Rohmer], "De trois films et d'une certaine école," Cahiers du Cinéma 5, no. 26 (August-September 1953):18-25. (entry 212)

18. André Bazin, "Faut-il croire en Hitchcock?" l'Observateur, no. 88 (January 17, 1952), p. 23. (entry 205)

19. Claude Chabrol, "Histoire d'une interview," Cahiers du Cinéma 7, no. 39 (October 1954): 39-44; André Bazin, "Hitchcock contre Hitchcock," Cahiers du Cinéma 7, no. 39 (October 1954):25-32. (entries 216 and 215)

20. Eric Rohmer and Claude Chabrol, Hitchcock: The First Forty-Four Films (New York: Ungar, 1979), p. 91. (entry 246)

21. Ian Cameron, "Hitchcock and the mechanisms of suspense," Movie, no. 3 (October 1962):4-7; "Hitchcock: Suspense and meaning," Movie, no. 6 (January 1963):8-12; with Richard Jeffery, "The universal Hitchcock," Movie, no. 12 (Spring 1965):21-24. (entries 292, 298, 319)

22. Alfred Hitchcock, "Enjoyment of fear," Good Housekeeping 128 (February 1949), p. 39. (entry 189)

23. Pete Martin, "I call on Alfred Hitchcock," Saturday Evening Post 230, no. 4 (July 27, 1957), p. 73. (entry 252). Another factor in Hitchcock's success in suspense was his understanding of human nature as contradictory. Hinting to one interviewer his intent to educate, he related his planting of what he called "icebox talk scenes," which are scenes that strike the audience as curious and provoke discussion over leftovers after the movie. Discussed in an article by Louis Phillips, "Vertigo: After such knowledge, what forgiveness?" Armchair Detective 17, no. 2 (Spring 1984):188-191. (entry 742)

24. Peter Wollen, "Hitchcock's vision," Cinema (Cambridge), no. 3 (June 1969):2-4. (entry 362)

25. Bogdanovich, The Cinema of Alfred Hitchcock, pp. 40, 43.

26. Wollen, "Hitchcock's vision," p. 4.

27. Sylvia Lawson, 'The Pierce/Wollen code signs: Functions and values," Australian Journal of Screen Theory, no. 3 (1977):47-65. (entry 486)

28. Raymond Bellour, Marnie: Une Lecture," Revue d'Esthètique, no. 20 (1969):169-179; "Les Oiseaux: Analyse d'une sequence," Cahiers du Cinéma 216 (October 1969):24-38. (entries 353, 354)

29. Pascal Bonitzer, "It's only a film/ou la face du néant," Framework, no. 14 (Spring 1981):22-24. (entry 608)

30. Jean Narboni, "Visages d'Hitchcock," in Alfred Hitchcock (Paris: I'Etoile, 1980), pp. 30-38. (entry 537)

31. Marian E. Keane, "A closer look at scopophilia: Mulvey, Hitchcock and Vertigo," in A Hitchcock Reader, edited by Marshall Deutelbaum and Leland Poague (Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1986), pp. 231-248. (entry 791)

32. Alfred Hitchcock, edited by Michel Estève (Paris: Minard, 1971). (entry 373)

33. Philippe Parrain, "La construction dramatique et les lois du mouvement," in Alfred Hitchcock, edited by Michel Estève (Paris: Minard, 1971), pp. 5-27. (entry 381)

34. Michel Serceau, "Les récits d'espionnage et le chemin de la connaissance," in Alfred Hitchcock, edited by Michel Estève (Paris: Minard, 1971), pp. 56-76. (entry 696)

35. Truffaut, Hitchcock pp. 173, 187.

36. Focus on Hitchcock, edited by Albert J. LaValley (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1972). (entry 386)

37. Fabio Carlini, Alfred Hitchcock, Il Castoro Cinema, 5 (Firenze: La Nuova Italia, 1974). (entry 411)

38. Peter Wollen, "North by Northwest: A morphological analysis," Film Form (Newcastle upon Tyne) 1, no. 1 (1976):19-34: Richard Abel, "Notorious: Perversion par excellence," Wide Angle 1, no. 1 (1979):66-71; David Bordwell, "ApProppriations and imPropprieties: Problems in the morphology of film narrative," Cinema Journal 27, no. 3 (Spring 1988):5-20. (entries 472, 515, 836)

39. Barbara M. Bannon, "Double, double: Toil and trouble," LiteraturelFilm Quarterly 13, no. 1 (Winter 1985):56-65. (entry 758)

40. Thomas Martin Hemmeter, "Hitchcock the stylist" (Ph.D. diss., Case Western Reserve University, 1980.) (entry 535)

41. François Regnault, "Système formel d'Hitchcock (Fascicule de résultats)," in Alfred Hitchcock, edited by Jean Narboni (Paris; L'Etoile, 1980), pp. 20-29 (entry 584)

42. Bazin, "Hitchcock contre Hitchcock"; Jean Douchet, Alfred Hitchcock (Paris: Herne, 1967), p. 240. (entry 337)

43. John Belton, "The space of Rear Window," M.L.N. 103, no. 5 (December 1988):1121-1138. (entry 834)

44. Patricia Ferrara, "Through Hitchcock's Rear Window again," New Orleans Review 12, no. 3 (1985):21-30. (entry 762)

45. Virginia Wright Wexman, "The critic as consumer: Film study in the university, Vertigo and the film canon," Film Quarterly 39, no. 3 (Spring 1986):32-41. (entry 807)

46. William Rothman, Hitchcock - The Murderous Gaze (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1982). (entry 679)

47. Leonard J. Leff, Hitchcock and Selznick (New York: Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1987); Andrew Britton, "Cary Grant: Comedy and male desire," CineAction!, no. 7 (December 1986):36-51; James Naremore, "Star performances: Cary Grant in North by Northwest; Film as performance text: Rear Window," in Acting in the Cinema (Berkeley: University of California Press 1988), pp. 213-238, 239-261. (entries 818, 780, 846)

48. Elizabeth Weis, The Silent Scream: Alfred Hitchcock's Sound Track (Rutherford, N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1982). (entry 681)

49. Noël Simsolo, "Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980)," L'Avant-Scène du Cinéma, Anthologie du cinéma, no. 110 (December 1/15 1982):305-336. (entry 697)

50. 0. B. Hardison, "The rhetoric of Hitchcock's thrillers," in Man and the Movies (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1967), pp. 137-152. (entry 341)

51. Truffaut, Hitchcock pp. 173, 187.

52. John M. Smith, "Conservative individualism: A selection of English Hitchcock," Screen 13, no. 3 (Autumn 1972):51-70. (entry 403)

53. Buscombe, "Dickens and Hitchcock," p. 98.

54. Michael Walker, "The old age of Alfred Hitchcock," Movie, no. 18 (Winter 1970):10-13. (entry 371)

55. Kirsten Witte, "Hitchcock in Germania," in Alfred Hitchcock: La Critica, il Pubblico, le Fonti Letterarie, edited by Roberto Salvadori (Firenze: La Casa Usher, 1981), pp. 73-75. (entry 674)

56. Ina Rae Hark, "Keeping your amateur standing: Audience participation and good citizenship in Hitchcock's political films," Cinema Journal 29, no. 2 (Winter 1990):822. (entry 863)

57. Andrew Sarris, "Pantheon directors: Alfred Hitchcock," in The American Cinema: Directors and Directions 1929-1968 (New York: Dutton, 1968), p. 60. (entry 350)

58. Serceau, "Les récits d'espionnage," p. 56.

59. Robin Wood, "Ideology, genre, auteur," Film Comment 13, no. 1 (January-February 1977):46-51. (entry 495)

60. James B. McLaughlin, "All in the family: Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt," Wide Angle 4, no. 1 (1980):12-19. (entry 576)

61. Diane Carson, "The nightmare world of Hitchcock's women," in The Kingdom of Dreams in Literature and Film (Tallahassee: Florida State University, 1986), pp. 11-20. (entry 784)

62. Simsolo, "Alfred Hitchcock," p. 336.

53. Janet Bergstrom, "Enunciation and sexual difference (part 1)," Camera Obscura, no. 3-4 (Summer 1979):38. (entry 518)

64. Bill Nichols, "Birds: At the window," Film Reader, no. 4 (1980):166 (entry 581) Leland Poague and Marshall Deutelbaum, "Hitchcock and film theory: A Psycho dossier," in A Hitchcock Reader (Ames: Iowa State Press, 1986), p. 308. (entry 771)

65. Kenneth Macpherson, "As is," Close Up 5 (December 1929):54. (entry 78)

66. Victor Burgin, "Diderot, Barthes, Vertigo," in Formations of Fantasy, edited by Victor Burgin, Donald James and Cora Kaplan (London: Methuen, 1986), p. 105. (entry 783)

67. Alexander Michael Doty, "Alfred Hitchcock's films of the 1940's: The emergence of personal style and theme within the American studio system" (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1984). (entry 717)

68. Andrew Britton, "Hitchcock's Spellbound: Text and counter-text," CineAction!, no 3-4 (Winter 1986):72. (entry 781)

69. Garry M. Leonard, "A fall from grace: The fragmentation of masculine subjectivity and the impossibility of femininity in Hitchcock's Vertigo," American Imago 47, 3-4 (Fall-Winter 1990):271-291; (entry 864) John Fletcher, "Versions of masquerade," Screen 29, no. 3 (Summer 1988):43-70, explains in more detail the concept of the mask. (entry 839)

70. Jean Douchet, Alfred Hitchcock, Collection L'Herne Cinema, 1 (Paris: L'Herne, 1985). (revised version of entry 337)

71. Modleski, The Women Who Knew Too Much (pp. 41-42), also suggests that "one of Hitchcock's main interests for feminism lies in the way his films show the desire for distance itself to be bound up with the male's insistence on his difference from woman."

72. Douchet, Alfred Hitchcock, pp. 239-262.

73. Peter Wollen, "Hitchcock: Hybrid plots in Psycho," Framework, no. 13 (Autumn 1980):14-16. (entry 598)

74. Raymond Bellour, "Le blocage symbolique," Communications, no. 23 (1975):235-350. (entry 431)

75. Bergstrom, "Enunciation and sexual difference," p. 51.

76. Michael Renov, "From identification to ideology: The male system of Hitchcock's Notorious," Wide Angle 4, no. 1 (1980):30-37. (entry 585)

77. Britton, "Hitchcock's Spellbound," passim.

78. Andy Warhol, "Hitchcock," Andy Warhol's Interview 4 (September 1974):8. (entry 426)

79.Nichols, "Birds," passim.

80. Modleski, The Women Who Knew Too Much, pp. 28-29.

81. Walter Poznar, "Orpheus descending: Love in Vertigo," LiteraturelFilm Quarterly 17, no. 1 (1989):58-65. (entry 856)

82. Karen Hollinger, "The look, narrativity, and the female spectator in Vertigo," Journal of Film and Video 39, no. 4 (Fall 1987):24. (entry 822)

83. Laura Mulvey, "Visual pleasure and narrative cinema," Screen 16, no. 3 (Autumn 1975)31-39. (entry 439)

84. Jacqueline Rose, "Paranoia and the film system," Screen 17, no. 4 (Winter 1977):85-104. (entry 489)

85. Sandy Flitterman, "Woman, desire, and the look: Feminism and the enunciative," Cine-tracts 2, no. 1 (Fall 1978):63-68. (entry 815)

86. R[aymond] Bellour, "Psychosis, neurosis, perversion," Camera Obscura, no. 3-4 (Summer 1979):104-134. (entry 516)

87. Jeanne Thomas Allen, "The representation of violence to women: Hitchcock's Frenzy," Film Quarterly 38, no. 3 (Spring 1985):30-38. (entry 757)

88. Susan Lurie, "The construction of the 'castrated woman' in psychoanalysis and cinema," Discourse, no. 4 (Winter 1981):52-74. (entry 652)

89. Tania Modleski, "Never to be thirty-six years old: Rebecca as a female oedipal drama," Wide Angle 5, no. 1 (1982):34-41. (entry 693)

90. Barbara Klinger, "Psycho: The institutionalization of female sexuality," Wide Angle 5, no. 1 (1982):49-55. (entry 690)

91. Modleski, The Women Who Knew Too Much, passim.

92. D. A. Miller, "Anal Rope," Representations, no. 32 (Fall 1990):114-133. (entry 685)

93. Michele Piso, "Alfred Hitchcock: For loss of the world," (Ph.D. diss., University of Oregon, 1986). (entry 774)

94. Maurice Yacowar, Hitchcock's British films (Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, 1977), p. 20. (entry 477)

95. Patricia Ferrara, "The discontented bourgeois: Bourgeois morality and the interplay of light and dark strains in Hitchcock's films," New Orleans Review 14, no. 1 (Winter 1987):79-87. (entry 814)

96. Ryall, Alfred Hitchcock and the British Cinema, pp. 115-140.

97. Stuart Y. McDougal, "Mirth, sexuality and suspense: Alfred Hitchcock's adaptation of Thirty-Nine Steps," LiteraturelFilm Quarterly 3, no. 3 (Summer 1975):232-239; James Goodwin, "Conrad and Hitchcock: Secret sharers." In The English Novel and the Movies, edited by Michael Klein and Gillian Parker (New York: Ungar, 1981), pp. 218-227. (entries 437 and 643)

98. Ricarda Strobel, Propagandafilm und Melodrama: Untersuchungen zu Alfred Hitchcocks Lifeboat und Orson Welles The Stranger (Rottenburg-Oberndorf: Faulstich, 1984) (entry 721); Wood, "Ideology, genre, auteur," passim.

99. Ed Gallafent, "Black satin - fantasy, murder and the couple in Gaslight and Rebecca," Screen 29, no. 3 (Summer 1988):84-103. (entry 840)

100. Mary Ann Doane, "Caught and Rebecca: The inscription of femininity as absence," Enclitic 56, no. 1-2 (1981):75-89. (entry 631)

101. Michele Duckert, "Original sins and classical narratives: Hitchcock through Foucault," in Proceedings of the Purdue University Seventh Annual Conference on Film (West Lafayette, Ind.: Department of English, Purdue University, 1983), pp. 295-300. (entry 709)

102. Carol J. Clover, "Herbody, himself: Gender in the slasher film," Representations, no. 20 (Fall 1987):5-89 (entry 813)

103. Ryall, Alfred Hitchcock and the British Cinema, pp. 141-167.

104. William Fisher, "Re: Writing: Film history: From Hitchcock to DePalma," Persistence of Vision, no. 1 (Summer 1984):13-22. (entry 731)

105. Mark Van Doren, "Alfred Hitchcock," Nation 144 (March 13 1937):305-306. (entry 117)

106. Wood, Hitchcock's Films Revisited, John Belton, "Dexterity in a void: The formalist esthetics of Alfred Hitchcock," Cineaste 10, no. 3 (Summer 1980):9-13. (entry 544)

107. Michael Pressler, "Hitchcock and the melodramatic pattern," Chicago Review 35, no. 3 (Spring 1986):4-16. (entry 804)

108. Ronald Christ, "Strangers on a Train: The pattern of encounter," in Focus on Hitchcock, edited by Albert J. LaValley (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1972), pp. 104-110. (entry 389)

109. Fredric Jameson, "Reading Hitchcock," October, no. 23 (Winter 1982):15-42. (entry 689)

110. Lesley Brill, Romance and Irony in Hitchcock's Films (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1988). (entry 830)

111. David Bordwell, "Rhetoric in action: Seven models of Psycho," in Making Meaning (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1989, p. 260. (entry 853)

112. Modleski, The Women Who Knew Too Much p. 22.

113. Ryall, Alfred Hitchcock and the British Cinema, p. 165.

114. Narboni, "Visages d'Hitchcock," p. 38.