After Hitchcock: Influence, Imitation, and Intertextuality

After Hitchcock: Influence, Imitation, and Intertextuality

After Hitchcock: Influence, Imitation, and Intertextuality

After Hitchcock: Influence, Imitation, and Intertextuality

Synopsis

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 Psychoupdated 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 giallofilm, and the post-Psychohorror 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.

Excerpt

David Boyd and R. Barton Palmer

Hitchcock …

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; to the refinements, both narrative and visual, made in the so-called Classic Hollywood text during the 1930s and 40s; to the advent in the next decade of wide-screen cinematography (which required further adjustments to "corporate" techniques); to the industry's accommodation with its erstwhile rival, television; to the changes in the marketplace that followed in the wake of the weakening and eventual abandonment of the Production Code in 1966.

Perhaps most important, however, Hitchcock's impressive oeuvre of more than fifty feature films reflects the constant (and often unexpected) evolution of cinematic subject matter and treatment, broadly conceived—both the kind of stories the cinema chose to tell and also the manner of their telling. The conventions of Victorian melodrama that held sway in his youth made way for a succession of modern forms and practices of storytelling to which Hitchcock responded in a strongly individualistic fashion. Thus Hitchcock's continually evolving approach to filmmaking, strongly influenced at the outset by German Expressionism, came to reflect not only several subsequent and distinct waves of realism, but also modernist and even postmodernist styles (the influence of the latter being quite evident in his last two projects). From his first silent features made in late-1920s Britain to his last post-studio production (1976) . . .

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