Communication and Culture | Authorship in the Media: Alfred Hitchcock and the Thriller
C326 | 14925 | Barbara Klinger


Topic: Alfred Hitchcock and the Thriller
Class Number: 14925
MW 1:00 PM-2:15 PM
Film Showings (mandatory): Tuesdays 7:00 PM-10:30 PM

Fulfills COAS A&H Requirement
A portion of this course reserved for majors

Professor: Barbara Klinger		
E-Mail: klinger@indiana.edu
Office: Mottier Hall 201
Office Hours: TBA
Phone: 855-1796				

Alfred Hitchcock is perhaps the most written about classic Hollywood film director 
in both scholarly and popular presses. Beginning his career in England in the 1920s and 
gaining fame in the U.S. between the 1940s and 1970s, he is regarded as one of the most 
technically exciting, narratively savvy, and thematically complex of Hollywood directors. 
Part of this course will be devoted to examining Hitchcock’s body of work, analyzing his 
style and its evolution over the course of his career in film and television. Part will 
also be devoted to looking closely at Hitchcock’s legacy as the “Master of Suspense.” 
Throughout his career, Hitchcock was identified with the thriller, a genre of filmmaking 
defined by suspense. He was so identified with this genre that the work of directors who 
subsequently made thrillers has often been referred to as “Hitchcockian” and measured by 
the standards implicit in this label. We will consider some of the early directors 
identified with Hitchcock in this way, such as Claude Chabrol, John Carpenter, and 
Brian de Palma, as well as the continuing impact of Hitchcock’s legacy today. In the 
process, we will analyze variations of the genre associated with the “Master,” including 
the horror, Gothic, psychological, and noir thriller.

This course is designed not only to increase appreciation of Hitchcock's oeuvre and 
his legacy, but to sharpen student's skills of visual and critical analysis and knowledge 
of theories of authorship and genre in the field of film and media studies. To this end, 
we will read major scholarly essays on Hitchcock and other directors making thrillers, 
discussing diverse interpretations offered by different schools of criticism. Students 
can expect to write a series of short papers and take a mid-term and final exam. Required 
weekly screenings will feature films from both Hitchcock's British and American periods, 
as well as the works of filmmakers he influenced.