Auteur Theory• What is an ‘Auteur’? • A director’s personal creative vision strongly conveyed in body of work - they are the author of the work • The auteur exercises creative control over his or her works and has a strong personal style • The creative voice is distinctive enough to shine through all kinds of studio interference• What is ‘Auteur Theory’? • Truffaut, 1954 – Cahiers du Cinema / French New Wave • The method of analyzing films based on this theory or, the characteristics of a directors work that makes him an auteur.
Filmography THE EARLY YEARS / PRE-WAR BRITAIN HOLLYWOOD1920s – Developing a reputation 1940s - Embracing America 1960s - The Later YearsThe Pleasure Garden (1925) Rebecca (1940) Psycho (1960)The Mountain Eagle (1926) Foreign Correspondent (1940) The Birds (1963)The Lodger (1927) Mr and Mrs Smith (1941) Marnie (1964)Downhill (1927) Suspicion (1941) Torn Curtain (1966)Easy Virtue (1928) Saboteur (1942) Topaz (1969)The Ring (1927) Shadow of a Doubt (1943)The Farmers Wife (1928) Lifeboat (1944) 1970sChampagne (1928) Spellbound (1945) Frenzy (1972)The Manxman (1929) Notorious (1946) Family Plot (1976)Blackmail (1929) The Paradine Case (1947)1930s - The Early Period Rope (1948)Juno and the Paycock (1930) Under Capricorn (1949)Murder! (1930) 1950s - The Golden YearsThe Skin Game (1931) Stage Fright (1950)Rich and Strange (1931) Strangers on a Train (1951)Number Seventeen (1932) I Confess (1953)Waltzes from Vienna (1934) Dial M for Murder (1954)The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) Rear Window (1954)The 39 Steps (1935) To Catch a Thief (1955)Secret Agent (1936) The Trouble with Harry (1955)Sabotage (1936) The Man Who Knew Too MuchYoung and Innocent (1937) (1956)The Lady Vanishes (1938) The Wrong Man (1956)Jamaica Inn (1939) Vertigo (1958) North by Northwest (1959)
Hitchcock as auteur...• Extensive body of work• Considered by critics to have a signature style: “a Hitchcock film” despite working with Studios• Signature style established using film form, plot devices, use of characters, manipulation of audience• Worked almost exclusively on crime and suspense genre films, with comedy hybrids
Hitchcock as auteur... MASTER OF SUPENSE BBC Hitchcock interview, 1964 Audiences tension amusing film canon Talkies pure cinema the fright complex avoiding clichés Emotional responsehttp://www.hitchcockwiki.com/wiki/Interview:_Alfred_Hitchcock_and_Huw_Whe ldon_%28BBC%2C_05/Jul/1964%29
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Hitchcock as auteur...• Motifs • Staircases / houses / birds /national landmarks / portraits & paintings / jewellery / blondes / catholic iconography / confined space / mirrors• Audience • let the audience “play god” / manipulation of spectatorship• Style • ‘Pure cinema’ - film should communicate without dialogue / all formal elements were scripted & storyboarded• Themes • Ordinary people / mistaken identity/ love / sexuality / psychology/ trust & betrayal/ murder & crime as intelligent / voyeurism• Enigmas • McGuffins / false plateaus• Repetition • formal elements / plot devices / cast / themes / cameos
Vertigo’s canonical status• What is a canon? • rules or principles established as valid and fundamental in a field or art or philosophy • Examples that are deemed by critics to meet those rules and principles then take on canonical status• What is a film canon? • A limited group of films that serve as the measuring stick for the highest quality in the genre of film. • Chosen by critics and therefore elitist but, different groups of critics will have different opinions• Why has Vertigo achieved canonical status? • Seen to exemplify the achievements of studio system Hollywood film production • Mastering of film form - camerawork, editing, special effects, score and use of mise-en-scene • Complexity of narrative, plot and themes