Murder, Romance and Suspense: the films of Alfred Hitchcock

Course Dates: 22/09/21 - 24/11/21
Time: 19:45 - 21:30
Location: Online
Explore the work of the 'master of suspense' from innovative early films, including The Lodger, Blackmail and The 39 Steps, to late masterpieces, including Rear Window, Vertigo and Psycho. We will consider each phase of Hitchcock's career, his approach to filmmaking, the structure and style of his films, their major themes, and a range of key critical accounts of his career and films.
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 £159.00 Senior fee £159.00 Concession £97.00

This course has now finished

Course Code: HF213

Finished Wed, eve, 22 Sep - 24 Nov '21

Duration: 10 sessions (over 10 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 ten week online film studies course looks at the career and work of Alfred Hitchcock. It will consider each phase of his career, his unique approach to the filmmaking process and the distinctive formal qualities of the films and their recurring themes. It will, as with most approaches to Hitchcock, take an auteurist perspective and consider the presence of a distinctive authorial style in his work, but it will also take account of the wider production contexts in which Hitchcock worked and the many creative collaborations he formed. We will also consider critical accounts of his work and his reputation.

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 and the British film industry in the 1920s and 1930s
• Hitchcock's British films and the emergence of his authorial style
• Hitchcock, Hollywood, and Selznick
• Hitchcock and Hollywood in the 1940s and 1950s
• Hitchcock as independent producer and experiments with film style
• Late career Hitchcock, 1960-1975
• Narrative structure and film style
• Themes such as visual pleasure, voyeurism, gender, the 'transference of guilt', the 'wrong man', and suspense
• Authorship - i.e., Hitchcock as auteur
• Key critical accounts of Hitchcock's career and films

There are numerous books and articles on Hitchcock and his films and I will be mentioning these during the course. However, the following might be of particular use for this course though no prior reading is required:
• Robert E. Kapsis Hitchcock: The Making of a Reputation (The University of Chicago Press, 1992) explores the development of the director's critical reputation.
• François Truffaut, Hitchcock (various editions), a book length interview with the director in which he discusses his approach to filmmaking. See also, Hitchcock/Truffaut (Kent Jones, 2015), a documentary exploring this interview.

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

• Assess and describe Hitchcock's position in the British film industry of the 1920s and 1930s
• List and describe key British Hitchcock films
• Describe Hitchcock's authorial style
• Assess Hitchcock's films with Selznick
• Assess Hitchcock's work and position in Hollywood during the 1940s and 1950s
• Assess Hitchcock's work from 1960 onwards and its reflection of new and emerging trends in relation to particular films
• Describe narrative structure and film style in Hitchcock's work
• Identify and describe themes in Hitchcock's work
• Assess authorship as a critical tool and its application to Hitchcock
• Assess a range of key critical accounts of Hitchcock's career and films.

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 (see the reading
mentioned above) but this is not essential.

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

Bring a pen and pad, or device for notetaking. The tutor will provide all reading and viewing materials.

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

Look for other Film Studies courses under History, Culture & Writing/Film Studies at

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.