Male Desire in Hitchcock, De Palma, Scorsese, and Friedkin
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: University of Texas Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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Several people have shaped the thinking that has gone into this book. I wish to acknowledge Donald Spoto, whose book The Art of Alfred Hitchcock was an early influence. Reading Spoto led to the incisive and inimitable writings of Robin Wood, whose work has profoundly influenced...
Introduction: Hitchcock, Gender, and the New Hollywood
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In the opening moments of Alfred Hitchcock’s cold, cunning 1954 masterpiece Rear Window, the camera, mobile with a pure cinema life of its own, roams about the apartment of L.B. Jeffries—“Jeff ”—played by James Stewart. It’s a hot summer day, and the jazzy music in the background adds to the sultriness...
1. Cruising, Hysteria, Knowledge: The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
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Curiosity and suspicion, sympathy and distaste, attraction and repulsion: these simultaneously held attitudes inform Alfred Hitchcock’s treatment of queer sexuality. While a great deal of ink has been spilt on the phobic aspects of their depiction, my aim in this book is to explore...
2. "You Are Alone Here, Aren't You?": Psycho's Doubles
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Throughout Hitchcock’s work, he makes use of the figure of the doppelgänger, or double, to contrast and explore many distinct kinds of subjectivity. The theme is a direct borrowing from the German Expressionist cinema that continued to inform his work to the end. My focus here is...
3. Blank Screens: Psycho and the Pornographic Gaze
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After its famous opening series of helicopter-shot, panoramic vistas of Phoenix, Arizona, Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 film Psycho gives us an illicit view of post-coital lunchtime lovers in a hotel room, he shirtless, she in her bra and half-slip. “The sex angle was raised,” François Truffaut remarks...
4. Misfortune and Men's Eyes: Three Early De Palma Comedies
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For many years, Brian De Palma’s work has been dismissed as misogynistic, on the one hand, and opportunistically derivative, on the other hand. About this latter point, De Palma’s astonishingly productive and ongoing intertextual engagement with Hitchcock—commencing with the...
5. A Sense of Vertigo: Taxi Driver
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Exemplary of the pessimistic bleakness of the New Hollywood, Martin Scorsese’s 1976 film Taxi Driver is one of its director’s most poetic and disturbing films, awash in a melancholy longing for some unattainable state of transcendence. This longing is unsurprising in a protagonist...
6. Mirror Shades: Cruising
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As the New Hollywood was drawing to a close, the year 1980 brought us two films in the acutest Hitchcockian New Hollywood tradition: Brian De Palma’s Dressed to Kill and William Friedkin’s Cruising. Both of these films made at the end of the 1970s brought the decade to a head and to a close...
7. The Gender Museum: Dressed to Kill
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The series of Hitchcockian thrillers directed by Brian De Palma from the early seventies to the mid-eighties, followed by intermittent returns to the genre, constitutes one of the most remarkable projects in the American cinema: an intertextual engagement with the work of one powerful...
Coda: Ideology at an Impasse
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Throughout this book, I have attempted to demonstrate the possibilities of aesthetic and emotional engagement with movies while also demonstrating why I find critical approaches that proceed from identity politics frustrating and delimiting. As a gay man with a multiracial, immigrant...
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Publication Year: 2013