Alfred Hitchcock’s films are renowned the world over, and a mountain of literature has detailed seemingly every facet of them. Yet remarkably few studies have solely focused on the recurring motifs in Hitchcock’s films. Michael Walker remedies this surprising gap in Hitchcock literature with an innovative and in-depth study of the sustained motifs and themes threaded through Hitchcock’s entire body of work.
Combing through all fifty-two extant feature films and representative episodes from Hitchcock’s television series, Walker traces over forty motifs that emerge in recurring objects, settings, character-types, and events. Whether the loaded meaning of staircases, the symbolic status of keys and handbags, homoeroticism, guilt and confession, or the role of art, Walker analyzes such elements to reveal a complex web of cross-references in Hitchcock’s art. He also gives full attention to the broader social contexts in which the motifs and themes are played out, arguing that these interwoven elements add new and richer depths to Hitchcock’s oeuvre. An invaluable, encyclopedic resource for the scholar and fan, Hitchcock’s Motifs is a fascinating study of one of the best-known and most admired film directors in history.
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