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After Hitchcock

Influence, Imitation, and Intertextuality

Edited by David Boyd and R. Barton Palmer

Publication Year: 2006

Alfred Hitchcock is arguably the most famous director to have ever made a film. Almost single-handedly he turned the suspense thriller into one of the most popular film genres of all time, while his Psycho updated the horror film and inspired two generations of directors to imitate and adapt this most Hitchcockian of movies. Yet while much scholarly and popular attention has focused on the director’s oeuvre, until now there has been no extensive study of how Alfred Hitchcock’s films and methods have affected and transformed the history of the film medium. In this book, thirteen original essays by leading film scholars reveal the richness and variety of Alfred Hitchcock’s legacy as they trace his shaping influence on particular films, filmmakers, genres, and even on film criticism. Some essays concentrate on films that imitate Hitchcock in diverse ways, including the movies of Brian de Palma and thrillers such as True Lies, The Silence of the Lambs, and Dead Again. Other essays look at genres that have been influenced by Hitchcock’s work, including the 1970s paranoid thriller, the Italian giallo film, and the post-Psycho horror film. The remaining essays investigate developments within film culture and academic film study, including the enthusiasm of French New Wave filmmakers for Hitchcock’s work, his influence on the filmic representation of violence in the post-studio Hollywood era, and the ways in which his films have become central texts for film theorists.

Published by: University of Texas Press


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pp. v-vi

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pp. 1-11

The half century or so of Alfred Hitchcock’s career spanned crucial eras in the history of world and, especially, Hollywood cinema: from the refinement of the silents’ ability to tell feature-length stories with images in the years before the coming of sound; to the reconfiguring of film style necessitated by the conversion to “talking pictures” a few years later ...

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Nothing more clearly suggests the extent of Alfred Hitchcock’s ongoing influence than the legacy of Psycho, quite possibly the single most influential film of the past half century: like Norman Bates’ mother, it just refuses to lie down and die. Constantine Verevis and Lesley Brill survey some of the diverse forms of its prolific afterlife. Verevis begins by reconsidering the generally hostile critical ...

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For Ever Hitchcock: Psycho and Its Remakes

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pp. 15-29

Much of the talk leading up to, and following, the release of Gus Van Sant’s 1998 remake of the Alfred Hitchcock film Psycho (1960) was an expression of outrage and confusion at the defilement of a beloved classic. For fans and critics alike—for re-viewers—the Psycho remake was nothing more than a blatant rip-off: not only an attempt to exploit the ...

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Hitchcockian Silence: Psycho and Jonathan Demme’s The Silence of the Lambs

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pp. 31-46

Although by 1991 Alfred Hitchcock’s last film was fifteen years past, his name was still synonymous with suspense, with movie (and TV) narratives of offbeat crime and terror. When an expensively produced crime-horror picture with marquee stars, a serial murderer, a generous dash of incongruous flippancy, and a strong psychoanalytic bent came out that year ...

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Although Hitchcock consistently shunned the horror tradition of vampires and werewolves, an element of the Gothic lies buried just beneath the surface of many of his films. Adam Knee and Ina Rae Hark examine the return (or disinterment) of this repressed element in two very different films. Possibly the oddest of all Hitchcockian remakes, Paul Landres’ low-budget 1958 horror film The Return of Dracula ...

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Shadows of Shadow of a Doubt

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pp. 49-64

The Return of Dracula (1958) is hardly a distinguished film as American horror films go—a low-budget production at a time of a low ebb in the genre, horror having been largely supplanted by science fiction throughout the 1950s. Both in fact remained largely disreputable genres during the decade, rarely commanding “A treatment” and instead serving as ...

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Psycho or Psychic? Hitchcock, Dead Again, and the Paranormal

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pp. 65-82

Were a court proceeding to be conducted on the issue, the Dead Again attorneys would have to stipulate that there are Hitchcockian echoes in that film. On the DVD commentary track, director Kenneth Branagh speaks of the film’s evocation of “a bit of Hitchcock black Gothic” and admits that the film throughout was infused with “a lot of ...

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Although most critics have seen Hitchcock’s films as engaging more seriously with sexual politics than with those of the national and international spheres, these works nevertheless exercised a profound influence on the more overtly political thrillers of later generations. But the model of the Hitchcock thriller, as R. Barton Palmer and Walter Metz demonstrate, was radically transformed in response to ...

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The Hitchcock Romance and the ’70s Paranoid Thriller

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pp. 85-108

Emerging in the Hollywood of the 1970s to enjoy a popularity that has now lasted for three decades, the “paranoid thriller” is commonly considered thoroughly Hitchcockian, especially since at least three of the films in this series, all directed by Brian De Palma, are more of less imitative homages to the “master of suspense.”1 A variety of the “suspense ...

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Exposing the Lies of Hitchcock’s Truth

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pp. 109-124

As a helicopter descends into an isolated trailer park, commandos storm into one of its residences. Inside, a man and a woman scream as armed troops surround them. The woman is whisked into a van and driven away. Later, this woman is taken deep within an intelligence agency’s headquarters. She is placed inside a dark, cavernous room where she is interrogated ...

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Although Hitchcock’s influence may be most easily recognized in Hollywood movies, he has had an equally significant impact on European cinema. The essays in this section suggest something of the diversity of that impact, investigating the varied ways in which Hitchcockian elements have been inflected in a range of different social and cultural contexts. Hitchcock first emerged as a major figure in European ...

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Red Blood on White Bread: Hitchcock, Chabrol, and French Cinema

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pp. 127-143

No British or American director has been more important to French critics and theorists than Alfred Hitchcock. Since the 1940s, Hitchcock has been at the center of every major debate and every critical movement in French theory, from auteurism to structuralism, psychoanalysis, feminism, and beyond. Moreover, Hitchcock’s highly structured narratives ...

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“You’re Tellin’ Me You Didn’t See”: Hitchcock’s Rear Window and Antonioni’s Blow-Up

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pp. 145-172

Alfred Hitchcock’s influence on international culture and especially on other film directors has been enormous. Whether the filmmaker perceived trends ahead of his time or the contemporary zeitgeist just happened to catch up with his feverish fantasies (perhaps because of the popularity of his paranoid movies) is somewhat irrelevant. What is important is ...

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Melo-Thriller: Hitchcock, Genre, and Nationalism in Pedro Almodóvar’s Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

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pp. 173-194

Pedro Almod

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“Knowing Too Much” about Hitchcock: The Genesis of the Italian Giallo

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pp. 195-214

Enigmatic childhood trauma flashbacks; the fetishistic ritual of black gloved hands getting ready for the kill; point-of-view shots of a faceless murderer wearing a shiny trench coat; the flash of a blade in the dark (be it a knife, a razor, a meat cleaver, or a hatchet); scantily clad “scream queens” being stalked and subjected to shocking and sadistic acts of violence; a ...

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If Hitchcock’s influence on other filmmakers has been immense, his influence on critics and theorists has arguably been even greater. In fact, over the past two decades, he has come to occupy a position in the academic discipline of film studies not unlike that of Shakespeare in literary studies, in the sense that it is in reference to his work that critical questions are almost inevitably defined and theoretical ...

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Death at Work: Hitchcock’s Violence and Spectator Identification

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pp. 217-234

Writing the first extensive critique on Psycho in English, Robin Wood in 1965 described the “showerbath murder” as “probably the most horrific incident in any fiction film.” He devoted much of his subsequent analysis to the impact on spectators of this gruesome scene and its aftereffects. Having been drawn in by the filmmaker to experience Marion’s ...

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Hitchcock and the Classical Paradigm

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pp. 235-247

Alfred Hitchcock’s interest in the cinema has always had a theoretical bent. His notions about the cinema were shaped, in part, by the theoretical agendas of British film culture in the 1920s. His apprenticeship as a filmmaker included screenings of German, Soviet, and other modernist films at the London Film Society.1 The Film Society drew its membership ...

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Any consideration of Hitchcock’s influence eventually has to confront the curious case of Hitchcock’s most indefatigable imitator, Brian De Palma. But where most critics have been content to catalogue and either celebrate or (more frequently) denounce De Palma’s countless Hitchcockian allusions, reworkings, and outright thefts, Thomas M. Leitch instead examines the uses to which they are put and the ...

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How to Steal from Hitchcock

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pp. 251-270

No filmmaker has ever produced a more extended meditation on the work of another filmmaker than Brian De Palma. Nor has any filmmaker taken more critical drubbings than De Palma has for his borrowings from Hitchcock. On the strength especially of a small but provocative minority of his films—Sisters (1973), Obsession (1975), Carrie (1976) ...

Notes on Contributors

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pp. 271-274


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pp. 275-282

E-ISBN-13: 9780292795297
E-ISBN-10: 0292795297
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292713376
Print-ISBN-10: 0292713371

Page Count: 290
Illustrations: 14 b&w photos
Publication Year: 2006

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Thrillers (Motion pictures) -- History and criticism.
  • Hitchcock, Alfred, -- 1899-1980 -- Criticism and interpretation.
  • Hitchcock, Alfred, 1899-1980 -- Influence.
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