Hitchcock's British films

Course Dates: 20/09/23 - 18/10/23
Time: 19:45 - 21:30
Location: Online
Alfred Hitchcock established his reputation early on in his British career, particularly with a series of thrillers that showcased his distinctive style. This course explores his British films and the factors that helped to shape his filmmaking and, subsequently, his reputation as a major film artist, while also considering his position in, and relationship to British cinema of the 1920s and 1930s.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £99.00 Concession £64.00

This course has now started

Course Code: HF213

Started Wed, eve, 20 Sep - 18 Oct '23

Duration: 5 sessions (over 5 weeks)

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

This online film studies course explores Hitchcock's British films and the establishment of his style. The main focus will be on his output during the 1920s and 1930s at Gainsborough, British International Pictures and Gaumont British, but we will also note Hitchcock's occasional returns to Britain later in his career after he had moved to Hollywood at the end of the 1930s, and that his first directorial roles were in fact undertaken in Germany. We will consider the influence of both classical storytelling techniques and the cinematic avant-garde on Hitchcock's British films (though these influences are apparent throughout his career) and his interest in 'pure cinema'. We will consider the emergence of the 'Hitchcock style', chiefly in his thriller films such as The Lodger (1926), Blackmail (1929) and the series of 'chase' thrillers that include The 39 Steps (1935). We will look at the reception of Hitchcock's British films, along with later critical accounts of his work during this period, in order to understand his approach to filmmaking, while also considering his position in, and relationship to British cinema of the 1920s and 1930s.

Films featured on the course will include:
The Pleasure Garden (1925), The Lodger (1926), Downhill (1927), The Ring (1927), The Farmer's Wife (1928), The Manxman (1928), Blackmail (1929), Murder! (1930), Number Seventeen (1932), Rich and Strange (1932), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), The 39 Steps (1935), Secret Agent (1936), Sabotage (1936), Young and Innocent (1937), The Lady Vanishes (1938), Jamaica Inn (1939), Under Capricorn (1949), Stage Fright (1950), Frenzy (1972)

Prior viewing and reading is not required. The tutor will provide notes for each session and suggest further reading and viewing.

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

• Hitchcock's films of the 1920s and 1930s (and later productions)
• Hitchcock, the avant-garde and the Film Society
• Hitchcock, technique and film style - including the adoption of sound and the 'Hitchcock style'
• Hitchcock and British cinema in the 1920s and 1930s
• Hitchcock and genre
• The reception of Hitchcock's films
• Hitchcock's reputation
• Critical accounts of Hitchcock's British films.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

• Assess Hitchcock's British films
• Describe and assess the influence of the avant-garde and the Film Society on Hitchcock's British films
• Describe and assess Hitchcock's technique and film style
• Assess Hitchcock's position in, and relationship to British cinema of the 1920s and 1930s.
• Assess Hitchcock's films in terms of genre
• Describe and assess the reception of Hitchcock's British films
• Describe and assess Hitchcock's reputation during the 1920s and 1930s.
• Assess a range of critical accounts of Hitchcock's British films and career and approach these within a critical framework.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

The course is suitable for all levels and you do not require any particular skills - just an enthusiasm for film and discussing film. The course will provide an introduction to the subject but will also be useful for those wishing to build on existing knowledge in the subject area.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Screenings of extracts from films, talks by the tutor, reading materials, small and large group discussions. It might also be a good idea to see what you can find out about the subject in advance of the class but this is not essential.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

You will require a pen and paper (or laptop/device) but the tutor will provide all other materials such as handouts. The tutor will show extracts from films and you do not have to obtain them.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Look for other Film Studies courses under History, Culture & Writing/Film Studies at www.citylit.ac.uk.

Jon Wisbey

Jon Wisbey teaches film at City Lit and Morley College. He was for many years a committee member and vice-chair of Chelmsford Film Club, screening contemporary and classic world cinema releases. He has an MA in Film Studies from the University of East Anglia. His teaching focuses on classical and post-classical Hollywood, European cinema, British cinema, film noir and horror cinema.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.