A Silence from Hitchcock

By Murray Pomerance

Subjects: Film Studies
Hardcover : 9781438491875, 372 pages, February 2023
Paperback : 9781438491882, 372 pages, August 2023

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Table of contents

Introduction: What Is Given, What Is Not Given

1. A Notorious Way to Live

2. How a Lady Vanishes

3. Our Frenzied Life

4. For the Grace of God: The Wrong Men

5. The Trouble and Harry

6. The Dirty Truth of Topaz

Works Cited

Extensive meditations on silence in the films of Alfred Hitchcock.


In A Silence from Hitchcock, Murray Pomerance explores the resonating power of silence in the director's work—its variation, its haunting temptation, and its technical power. Working from a meditative devotion to and an illuminating familiarity with the director's work, Pomerance shines light upon six films, some of them (Notorious, The Lady Vanishes, and The Trouble with Harry) frequently, even obsessively treated, and others (Frenzy, The Wrong Man, and Topaz) less often discussed. In its strange relation to speech, memory, urbanity, guilt, mortality, and espionage, silence becomes, in these films, a dramatic protagonist in its own right. Written by a master interpreter of Hitchcock, this book offers new ways of seeing, experiencing, and thinking about the films of one of cinema's greatest artists, as well as new ways of reflecting on our experience of cinema itself.

Murray Pomerance is an independent scholar living in Toronto and Adjunct Professor in the School of Media and Communication at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia. This is the fourth and final volume of his Hitchcock Quartet, which also includes An Eye for Hitchcock, published by Rutgers University Press, and A Dream of Hitchcock and A Voyage with Hitchcock, both published by SUNY Press.


"Pomerance is among the world's foremost experts on the work, and working practice, of Alfred Hitchcock. In its revelation of riches so easily overlooked yet so clearly on display, A Silence from Hitchcock is a wonderfully humbling book. It shows how much of Hitchcock's craft may be habitually met with silence, and the insights to which it gives voice are inspiring, showing us how to look and listen with the respectful and imaginative attention that our experience of film deserves." — Elliott Logan, Monash University