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With a sharp eye for social detail and the pressures of class inequality, developed in his youth and early filmmaking in the UK, Alfred Hitchcock brought to the American scene a perspicacity and analytical shrewdness unparalleled in American cinema. Murray Pomerance works from a basis in cultural analysis and a detailed knowledge of Alfred Hitchcock's films and production techniques to explore how America of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s is revealed and critically commented upon in Hitchcock's work. The book considers both American culture and the Hitchcock films made in Hollywood about that culture in a broad perspective, encompassing the landscapes, personality portraits, and social analysis to be found in Hitchcock's films. Hitchcock's America is also full of stunning details that bring new light to Hitchcock's method and works. The American "spirit of place," is seen here in light of the titanic American personality, American values in a consumer age, social class and American social form, and the characteristic American marriage. The book's analysis ranges across a wide array of films from Rebecca to Family Plot , and examines in depth the location sequences, characterological types, and complex social expectations that riddled American society while Hitchcock thrived there. The American scene as he shows it is deeply inflected by the forces of modernity and social change, by charged social and geographic movement, by intensive infrastructural development, by moral conflict and a new face of evil, by the tradition of struggle and perseverance, by Cold War politics, by the pursuit of wealth, and by a relentless optimism and a hunger for change.
Murray Pomerance is Professor of Sociology at Ryerson University. He is also editor of the "Techniques of the Moving Image" series and his previous works include “An Eye for Hitchcock” (2004) and “Shining in Shadows: Movie Stars of the 2000s” (2011).
Table of Contents
Introduction: Alfred Hitchcock in America Hitchcock’s American Scapes Hitchcock’s American Personalities Hitchcock and American Values Hitchcock and American Social Form Hitchcock and the American Marriage Works Cited and Consulted Index