Hitchcock's Moral Gaze

Edited by R. Barton Palmer, Homer B. Pettey, and Steven M. Sanders

Subjects: Film Studies
Series: SUNY series, Horizons of Cinema
Paperback : 9781438463841, 342 pages, January 2018
Hardcover : 9781438463858, 342 pages, February 2017

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Table of contents


R. Barton Palmer and Steven M. Sanders


1. Jealousy and Trust in The Lodger
Graham Petrie

2. Fun with Suspicion
Thomas Leitch

3. Heroic Satans and Other Hitchcockian Heresies
Nick Haeffner

4. “Guilt, Confession, and . . . Then What?”: The Paradine Case and Under Capricorn
Brian McFarlane

5. The Forgotten Cigarette Lighter and Other Moral Accidents in Strangers on a Train
George Toles


6. Hitchcock’s Immoralists
Steven M. Sanders

7. Hitchcock the Amoralist: Rear Window and the Pleasures and Dangers of Looking
Sidney Gottlieb

8. Voyeurism Revisited
Richard Allen


9. Alfred Hitchcock as Moralist
Murray Pomerance

10. The Deepening Moralism of The Wrong Man
R. Barton Palmer
11. Hitchcock and the Philosophical End of Film
Jerold J. Abrams

Moral Acts

12. The Dread of Ascent: The Moral and Spiritual Topography of Vertigo
Alan Woolfolk

13. The Philosophy of Marriage in North by Northwest
Jennifer L. Jenkins

14. “The Loyalty of an Eel”: Issues of Political, Personal, and Professional Morality in (and around) Torn Curtain
Neil Sinyard

15. Hobbes, Hume, and Hitchcock: The Case of Frenzy
Homer B. Pettey

Alfred Hitchcock Selected Filmography

Offers new and compelling perspectives on the deeply moral nature of Hitchcock’s films.


In his essays and interviews, Alfred Hitchcock was guarded about substantive matters of morality, preferring instead to focus on discussions of technique. That has not, however, discouraged scholars and critics from trying to work out what his films imply about such moral matters as honesty, fidelity, jealousy, courage, love, and loyalty. Through discussions and analyses of such films as Strangers on a Train, Rear Window, Vertigo, North by Northwest, and Frenzy, the contributors to this book strive to throw light on the way Hitchcock depicts a moral—if not amoral or immoral—world. Drawing on perspectives from film studies, philosophy, literature, and other disciplines, they offer new and compelling interpretations of the filmmaker's moral gaze and the inflection point it provides for modern cinema.

R. Barton Palmer is Calhoun Lemon Professor of Literature at Clemson University. His previous books include Invented Lives, Imagined Communities: The Biopic and American National Identity (coedited with William H. Epstein) and Hitchcock at the Source: The Auteur as Adaptor (coedited with David Boyd), both also published by SUNY Press. Homer B. Pettey is Professor of Film and Literature at the University of Arizona. His previous books include Film Noir and International Noir, both coedited with R. Barton Palmer. Steven M. Sanders is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Bridgewater State University. He is the author or editor of many books, including The Philosophy of Michael Mann (coedited with Aeon J. Skoble and R. Barton Palmer) and The Philosophy of Steven Soderbergh (coedited with R. Barton Palmer).


"This is an indispensable contribution to Hitchcock studies … Highly recommended. " — CHOICE

"…a compelling collection of 15 essays. " — PopMatters