Films of Classic Hollywood Directors: Alfred Hitchcock

Course Leader(s)
Day of Week: Wednesday
Course Length: 6 weeks
Starting: 10/23/2024
Ending: 12/04/2024
Period of Day: Period 2 Zoom
Time: 11:30 - 1:00
Course Fee: $60

Course Description:

Almost everyone knows Alfred Hitchcock as the “Master of Suspense” (and sometimes horror). He was also a master of film form using its formal elements, especially, editing, to have the camera, above all, tell the story. There are dozens of videos on YouTube by experts, enthusiasts, and Hitchcock himself analyzing and appreciating his technique, some of which we’ll view. But what I’m most interested in exploring is his ideas. The plot, what he calls the “MacGuffin,” is something along with suspense, to hold our attention, so he can convey his ideas about the nature of evil, male/female relations, personal responsibility, and scopophilia, among other topics.

It’s difficult to pick six from the 53 films that make up his oeuvre. I appreciate last class’s suggestions and some of them will be included in my list, I’m sure. I consulted several “best Hitchcock films” lists and came up with these six, most from mid-20th century: Rebecca, l940 (his only Academy Award film); Shadow of a Doubt, 1943 (Hitch’s favorite and one of mine); Notorious, 1946 (a romance); Strangers on a Train, 1951 (use of expressionism); Rear Window, 1954 (it has it all, Hitch in his prime); and Vertigo, 1958 (a darling of academia whose reputation has grown after its initial release.)

The format will be a brief lecture then discussion. All films will be watched individually before class. Films are available to rent for free in DVD format in public libraries or to stream on various streaming platforms, some free with membership others for a charge of $2.99 to $3.99.

Preparation time will be around two hours to watch films. In previous classes some students watched films twice. Viewing questions to help students prepare for discussion will be sent out about a week in advance of the film to be discussed for that week’s class.

Please note that the first class takes place October 23, during the break week.


Books and Other Resources:


Course Leader Bio(s)

Stan Hitron

I am a retired Professor of English and Humanities at Middlesex Community College in Bedford MA.
I taught a credit course on film analysis in the classroom and online and a non-credit film discussion class in MILES, MCC’s program for lifelong learning before and after my retirement in 2013. I taught my first class for LLAIC in the Fall 2022 semester and have offered a film series on a classic Hollywood director in every subsequent semester.