Hitchcock's Motifs (Film Culture in Transition) by Michael Walker

By Michael Walker

One of the plentiful Alfred Hitchcock literature, Hitchcock's Motifs has chanced on a clean attitude. ranging from habitual items, settings, character-types and occasions, Michael Walker tracks a few 40 motifs, issues and clusters around the entire of Hitchcock's oeuvre, together with not just all his fifty two extant characteristic motion pictures but additionally consultant episodes from his television sequence. Connections and deeper inflections that Hitchcock enthusiasts could have lengthy sensed or suspected can now be noticeable for what they're: an intricately spun internet of cross-references which supplies this exact artist's paintings the intensity, consistency and resonance that justifies Hitchcock's position as most likely the easiest recognize movie director ever.
The name, the 1st book-length examine of the topic, can be utilized as a mini-encyclopaedia of Hitchcock's motifs, however the person entries additionally provide complete cognizance to the broader social contexts, hidden resources and the occasionally subconscious meanings found in the paintings and solidly linking it to its time and position.

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Extra resources for Hitchcock's Motifs (Film Culture in Transition)

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As in a dream, all these meanings are condensed on the lighter. Milk is the most familiar of these three motifs, because it has archetypal as well as maternal associations. Barbara G. G. : ). Here one does not need a psychoanalytical reading: the traditional nurturing associations of milk are entirely familiar, a feature of every culture. Hitchcock’s hostility towards milk would seem to be of a piece with his suspicion of the maternal: he does not believe in the nurturing capacity of either (Ø MOTHERS AND HOUSES).

The Oedipal overtones are emphasised in the youthfulness of Maxim in the portrait: this was how the father figure looked when he was in his prime, married to the charismatic mother figure. The sense of the mise-en-scène (the décor; the clothes) as contributing to our understanding of the inner world of the heroine is typical of the workings of melodrama. Another point here is that Danvers is coded as a lesbian: her butch appearance; her obsessive devotion to Rebecca. This helps account for her hostility towards the meek, heterosexual heroine.

Guilt is not usually involved. With HEIGHTS AND FALLING, the villain typically seeks to make the hero fall; the police, by contrast, are usually concerned witnesses to the fall, and may even actively intervene, as in Rear Window. For the heroines, this motif is not so strongly linked to another of the key figures, but a lower-case link to the villains indicates that there is, nevertheless, such a connection on some occasions. Connections between the motifs indicate another sort of link. That shown between HEIGHTS AND FALLING and DOUBLES for the hero and villain refers to the fact that Hitchcock’s preferred method of ‘dealing with’ the double is through a death fall in the presence of the hero (on one occasion, the heroine).

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