Hitchcock's Films Revisited

Hitchcock's Films Revisited

Hitchcock's Films Revisited

Hitchcock's Films Revisited

Synopsis

When Hitchcock's Films was first published, it quickly became known as a new kind of book on film and as a necessary text in the growing body of Hitchcock criticism. This revised edition of Hitchcock's Films Revisited includes a substantial new preface in which Wood reveals his personal history as a critic -- including his coming out as a gay man, his views on his previous critical work, and how his writings, his love of film, and his personal life and have remained deeply intertwined through the years. This revised edition also includes a new chapter on Marnie.

Excerpt

The project undertaken in this book has posed a problem to which there is probably no completely satisfying solution. Hitchcock's Films was written in the early '60s: it has been through three editions (accruing extra material in its different incarnations) and has been out of print for a number of years. When I wrote it the technology of film study was still in a fairly primitive stage (as was the critical apparatus): with most of the films I worked from memory, or from notes scribbled in movie theaters during public screenings: the most sophisticated machinery I had (occasionally) at my disposal was a standard 16mm. projector. Many Hitchcock films, including "key" works like Shadow of a Doubt and Under Capricorn were not available at all at that time in England; others were available only in errant formats (the chapter on Vertigo was written using a low contrast 16mm. black-and-white print).

More important, however, than the deficiencies of technology and availability is the fact that the book belongs firmly to a certain phase in the evolution of film theory/criticism whose assumptions are no longer acceptable without qualifications so drastic as effectively to transform them: the high point of auteur theory in its original, unmodified form, as developed out of Bazin and the early Cahiers du Cinéma. Those assumptions (to a degree new to the criticism of Hollywood movies, though not foreign to many of the forms of traditional aesthetics) can be spelled out quite crudely as follows: The critic's task is to discover great works and explicate their significance, acting as a mediator between the artist and the less educated, less aware public; great works of art are produced by great artists; the interest -- degree of success or failure -- of . . .

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