18
MALE DESIRE, MALE ANXIETY: THE ESSENTIAL Hitchcock

THE PERSONAL IS POLITICAL

Hitchcock's Films opened with the question, "Why should we take Hitchcock seriously?" At that stage in the evolution of film criticism, the meaning would not have been significantly different if I had written "Should we take Hitchcock seriously?" Twenty-five years later, one can confidently assume general agreement that the latter version of the question is no longer at issue. Many conflicting answers have been proposed, and still have currency, to the former version ( Raymond Bellour's, for example, is very different from William Rothman's), and negative, hostile answers are still possible (e.g., we should take Hitchcock seriously because his films express and encourage misogyny, often in very violent forms).

Had I decided to open the present book with a question, it might well have been, "Can Hitchcock be saved for feminism?" -- the question that haunts contemporary Hitchcock criticism, explicitly or implicitly, in article after article, especially those belonging to what we might loosely call "the Bellour school." It also sums up (it seems to me -- the author would not entirely agree) the central concern of Tania Modleski's splendid recent book The Women Who Knew Too Much, to which I shall return presently. My own answer to the question has, I hope, been very thoroughly defined by this point. I want here to make explicit some of the issues involve

First, there is the question of my own status as self-professed feminist -- the question of my right to the title. I have been told many times, often by women in my classes, that men (even gay men) can't call

-371-

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Hitchcock's Films Revisited
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction - (1988) 1
  • Book One - Hitchcock's Films 53
  • 1 - Introduction (1965) 55
  • 2 - Strangers on a Train 86
  • 3 - Rear Window 100
  • 4 - Vertigo 108
  • 5 - North by Northwest 131
  • 6 - Psycho 142
  • 7 - The Birds 152
  • 8 - Marnie 173
  • 9 - Torn Curtain 198
  • 10 - Retrospective (1977) 206
  • Endnotes for Earlier Editions 229
  • Book Two - Hitchcock's Films Revisited 237
  • 11 - Plot Formations 239
  • 12 - Symmetry, Closure, Disruption: the Ambiguity of Blackmail 249
  • 13 - Norms and Variations: the 39 Steps and Young and Innocent 275
  • 14 - Ideology, Genre, Auteur (1976) 288
  • 15 - Star and Auteur: Hitchcock's Films with Bergman 303
  • 16 - The Murderous Gays: Hitchcock's Homophobia 336
  • 17 - The Men Who Knew Too Much (and the Women Who Knew Much Better) 358
  • 18 - Male Desire, Male Anxiety: the Essential Hitchcock 371
  • Bibliography 389
  • Index 391
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