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“We’re all in our private traps… and none of us can ever get out” (Psycho, Hitchcock, 1960) - How depictions of Identity and Alienation in the City vary within the films of Alfred Hitchcock

Starzynski, Joanna Louise (2016) “We’re all in our private traps… and none of us can ever get out” (Psycho, Hitchcock, 1960) - How depictions of Identity and Alienation in the City vary within the films of Alfred Hitchcock. Masters thesis, York St John University.

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Abstract

Alfred Hitchcock was a prolific director in the early to mid-twentieth century; this thesis examines how the themes of alienation, identity and the city are depicted within his films and how they reflected societal events across his British and American films, from the 1920s to 1970s. Using the research methodologies of thematic analysis to select the sample, this research examines how the themes being analysed were representative of the times in which they were shot. The thesis covers two areas: Hitchcock’s British films between 1927-1939(including Lifeboat in 1944), and American work from 1940-1960.The concluding section explores how the core themes of those films have been portrayed in later work including Taxi Driver (Scorsese, 1976) and Drive (Winding-Refn,2011).The later work is a small sample that represents these themes through the shift from Keynesian to neoliberal society and how this is reflected in the progression from Hitchcock to later work.

The conclusion of this research demonstrates how in Hitchcock’s British films identity and alienation in the city represented how foreigners, racial minorities and women were alienated because the new social powers they gained were perceived to threaten the established community and male patriarchy. Conversely, in his American work one can read that Hitchcock depicts society from a psychoanalytic perspective, as it was of rising interest in these times through how people either performed multiple identities or were psychologically alienated from themselves through self-estrangement. In these films the interest in psychology peaked as well as Cold War paranoia, which increased people’s fears of masked and multiple identities. Finally, in the later work it appears that alienation occurs through the lack of norms and bonds within society. Therefore, the research demonstrates how alienation, identity and the city’s cinematic representations differ greatly, and their depiction is strongly influenced by what events occurred in each context.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Status: Published
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion Pictures
School/Department: School of Performance & Media Production
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/2161

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