Influence, Imitation, and Intertextuality
Publication Year: 2006
Published by: University of Texas Press
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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 ...
PART I: PSYCHO RECYCLED
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 ...
For Ever Hitchcock: Psycho and Its Remakes
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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 ...
Hitchcockian Silence: Psycho and Jonathan Demme’s The Silence of the Lambs
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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 ...
PART II: THE RETURN OF THE REPRESSED
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 ...
Shadows of Shadow of a Doubt
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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 ...
Psycho or Psychic? Hitchcock, Dead Again, and the Paranormal
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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 ...
PART III: THE POLITICS OF INTERTEXTUALITY
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 ...
The Hitchcock Romance and the ’70s Paranoid Thriller
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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 ...
Exposing the Lies of Hitchcock’s Truth
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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 ...
PART IV: FOUND IN TRANSLATION
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 ...
Red Blood on White Bread: Hitchcock, Chabrol, and French Cinema
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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 ...
“You’re Tellin’ Me You Didn’t See”: Hitchcock’s Rear Window and Antonioni’s Blow-Up
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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 ...
Melo-Thriller: Hitchcock, Genre, and Nationalism in Pedro Almodóvar’s Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
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“Knowing Too Much” about Hitchcock: The Genesis of the Italian Giallo
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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 ...
PART V: THEORETICALLY HITCHCOCKIAN
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 ...
Death at Work: Hitchcock’s Violence and Spectator Identification
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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 ...
Hitchcock and the Classical Paradigm
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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 ...
PART VI: MODUS OPERANDI
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 ...
How to Steal from Hitchcock
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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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Page Count: 290
Illustrations: 14 b&w photos
Publication Year: 2006