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Philosophy Research Archives

Volume 11, 1985

Sander H. Lee
Pages 225-244

Existential Themes in the Films of Alfred Hitchcock

The auteur theory of film-making (usually attributed in film to the French director Francais Truffaut) is explored with specific reference to the films of Alfred Hitchcock. It is argued that Hitchcocks’s films, in particular his later films, present a common theme which is in fact quite consistent with the outlook of Phenomenological Existentialism, especially as it was espoused by the philosophers Jean-Paul Sartre and Martin Heidegger. To support this position, textual analyses of various films directed and produced by Hitchcock are presented, including Rear Window, The Trouble with Harry, The Wrong Man, and Vertigo. The effects of this approach and its philosophical implications far the film-going audience are also examined.

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