Hitchcock's Villains: Murderers, Maniacs, and Mother Issues

Hitchcock's Villains: Murderers, Maniacs, and Mother Issues

by Eric San Juan, Jim McDevitt


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The films of Alfred Hitchcock are appreciated for a variety of reasons, including the many memorable villains who menace the protagonists. Unlike so many of cinema’s wrongdoers, the Hitchcock villain was often a complex individual with a nuanced personality and neuroses the common person might not be able to relate to, but could at least understand. If such figures did not always elicit sympathy from the audience, they still possessed characteristics that were oddly appealing. And frequently, viewers found them more likable than the heroes and heroines whom they victimized.

In Hitchcock’s Villains: Murderers, Maniacs, and Mother Issues, authors Eric San Juan and Jim McDevitt explore a number of themes that form the foundation of villainy in Hitchcock’s long and acclaimed career. The authors also provide a detailed look at some of the director’s most noteworthy villains and examine how these characters were often central to the enjoyment of Hitchcock’s best films. Whether discussing Uncle Charlie in Shadow of a Doubt or Norman Bates in Psycho, the authors consider what attracted Hitchcock to such characters in the first place and why they endure as screen icons.

Intended for both casual and ardent fans of Hitchcock, this book offers insight into what makes villainous characters tick. While serious students will appreciate observations in Hitchcock’s Villains that will enhance their study of cinema technique and writing, general fans of the director will simply enjoy delving further into the minds of their favorite villains.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442212138
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 01/15/2017
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 196
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.70(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Eric San Juan is the author of Lakehurst: Barrens, Blimps & Barons (2011) and Stuff Every Husband Should Know (2011).

Jim McDevitt is a freelance writer who has written numerous articles and stories for a variety of print and Internet publications.

San Juan and McDevitt are the coauthors of A Year of Hitchcock: 52 Weeks with the Master of Suspense (Scarecrow, 2011).

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v

Introduction vii

1 Karl Anton Verloc: Sabotage (1936) 1

2 Hitchcock as His Villains 13

3 Uncle Charlie: Shadow of a Doubt (1943) 21

4 Authority Figures as Villains 35

5 Alexander Sebastian: Notorious (1946) 41

6 The Villainy of Ideas 53

7 Brandon Shaw and Phillip Morgan: Rope (1948) 59

8 Villainous Mothers 71

9 Bruno Anthony: Strangers on a Train (1951) 81

10 Villains as Innocents 95

11 John "Scottie" Ferguson: Vertigo (1958) 101

12 The Villainy of Nonvillains 115

13 Phillip Vandamm: North by Northwest (1959) 121

14 The Psychology of Hitchcock and His Villains 133

15 Norman Bates: Psycho (1960) 141

16 Cruel Women and Opportunistic Men (the Other Villains) 155

17 Bob Rusk: Frenzy (1972) 165

Selected Bibliography 177

Index 181

About the Authors 185

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