Hitchcock's Romantic Irony

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Overview

Is Hitchcock a superficial, though brilliant, entertainer or a moralist? Do his films celebrate the ideal of romantic love or subvert it? In a new interpretation of the director's work, Richard Allen argues that Hitchcock orchestrates the narrative and stylistic idioms of popular cinema to at once celebrate and subvert the ideal of romance and to forge a distinctive worldview-the amoral outlook of the romantic ironist or aesthete. He describes in detail how Hitchcock's characteristic tone is achieved through a titillating combination of suspense and black humor that subverts the moral framework of the romantic thriller, and a meticulous approach to visual style that articulates the lure of human perversity even as the ideal of romance is being deliriously affirmed. Discussing more than thirty films from the director's English and American periods, Allen explores the filmmaker's adoption of the idioms of late romanticism, his orchestration of narrative point of view and suspense, and his distinctive visual strategies of aestheticism and expressionism and surrealism.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Empire (four star review)

Tough but rewarding.

CHOICE
In-depth, insightful... Highly recommended.
Times Literary Supplement
[Allen's] knowledge of Hitchcock's films is impressive.
Film Quarterly
Carefully researched and artfully written... critics will be tracing the ramifications of Hitchcock's romantic irony for a long time to come.

— David Sterritt

Empire
Tough but rewarding.
Choice
In-depth, insightful... Highly recommended.
Cineaste - Michael Richardson
Comprehensive and gracefully conceived.
Time Magazines Literary Supplement
[Allen's] knowledge of Hitchcock's films is impressive.
Film Quarterly - David Sterritt
Carefully researched and artfully written... critics will be tracing the ramifications of Hitchcock's romantic irony for a long time to come.
Empire
Tough but rewarding.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231135740
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 10/9/2007
  • Series: Film and Culture Series
  • Pages: 328
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Allen is Associate Professor of Cinema Studies at New York University. He is the author of Projecting Illusion (Cambridge, 1995) and co-editor of four anthologies Film Theory and Philosophy (Oxford, 1997), Hitchcock: Centenary Essays (BFI 1999), Wittgenstein, Theory and The Arts (Routledge, 2001), Camera Obscura/Camera Lucida: Essays in Honor of Annette Michelson (Amsterdam, 2003). He is also editor (with Sid Gottlieb) of the Hitchcock Annual, a journal of Hitchcock Studies.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents


Preface     XI
Acknowledgments     XIX
Narrative Form
Romantic Irony     3
Suspense     38
Knowledge and Sexual Difference     72
Visual Style
Sexuality and Style     117
Expressionism     164
Color Design     218
Conclusion     251
Notes     261
Index     281
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