The Style of Alfred Hitchcock: Films for the Focused Mind (MP3 download)
By Shoshana Milgram
We will examine six classic films—The Thirty-Nine Steps, Young and Innocent, Shadow of a Doubt, Strangers on a Train, North by Northwest and To Catch a Thief—directed by Alfred Hitchcock, whom Ayn Rand described as an artist of stature, and as a Romanticist. His films, said Hitchcock, were not "slices of life," but "slices of cake"—because "drama is life with the dull spots removed."
Hitchcock took seriously the artistic task described by Ayn Rand in "Art and Cognition"—that of conditioning our consciousness. "The filmmaker's responsibility," he said, "is to cultivate audiences capable of noticing and appreciating subtleties." His signature device—elegant dramatic suspense—shows respect for the spectator's mind by "letting the audience into the secret." His style rewards purposeful attentiveness. By analyzing esthetic integration in his work, we can sharpen our viewing skills. (Revision of a course offered in 1997.)
This course was recorded at the 2004 Objectivist Summer Conference in Wintergreen, VA.
(MP3 download; 4 hrs., 56 min., with Q & A, 169.98 MB)