English 173

The Language and Literature of Films: Alfred Hitchcock

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2009 Miller, D.A.
Miller, D.A.
MW 10:30-12 + Film Screenings Th 5-8 P.M. in 123 Wheeler 300 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

Spoto, D.:  The Art of Alfred Hitchcock; Truffaut, F.:  Hitchcock; plus a course reader


Unique among Hollywood directors, Hitchcock played on two boards.  As a master of entertainment who had nothing to say, he produced work as thoroughly trivial as it was utterly compelling.  But thanks to the French reception of his work in 1950s, Hitchcock also came to be considered a master of art, the Auteur par excellence.  If his films had nothing to say, they hardly needed to; in their unparalleled formal originality, they distilled the pure essence of cinema itself.  The course will focus on this dialectic between entertainment and art, between saying nothing and being everything. We shall pay particular attention to a Style that is, on the one hand, commodified as a “touch” that all can recognize, and, on the other, recessed in strange, inconsequential, gibberish-making details that, far from courting recognition, seem to defy it.

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