Alfred Hitchcock Master Of Suspense Essay

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For Hitchcock the important realities were always mental ones.

That’s why Gottlieb writes in introducing one of the interviews he reprints that Hitchcock “comes close to saying that story in general is itself a Mac Guffin: extremely valuable and captivating but basically a pretext.

But the authors also quote from Drexel University’s Paula Marantz Cohen the great justification for Hitchcock scholarship, which is that “to study him is to find an economical way of studying the entire history of cinema.” This identification of the man with his technique would have appealed to Hitchcock himself who, in his conversations with Truffaut in 1962, preferred anecdotes and technical detail to any disquisitions on theme or meaning.

He did not wish to enquire too deeply into his motives or the reasons for any particular subject or film.

And even when the apparently wrong man becomes the right man, as in (1950), the audience’s surrogate (a vulnerable young woman in both cases) must be taken in by the deception along with the audience.

Either way, it is the audience’s latent paranoia he is always appealing to.

To Hitchcock there typically isn’t a real trail—or not one that matters any more than a false one for its own sake.

Everything matters only subjectively, through its effects on the main character—and through him or her on the audience—whether the knowledge is true or false.

It’s the not entirely pleasurable thrill you get from not knowing something that you desperately want to know—whether the bomb will be discovered before it goes off or the policeman will turn around to see the innocent fugitive escaping.

But, in the quoted passage above, Wood, too, claims to know too much.


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