Hitchcock's People, Places, and Things

E-book – $34.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3997-8

Cloth Text – $99.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3996-1

Paper Text – $34.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3995-4
Publication Date
May 2019
Page Count
232 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

Hitchcock's People, Places, and Things

John Bruns

Hitchcock’s People, Places, and Things argues that Alfred Hitchcock was as much a filmmaker of things and places as he was of people. Drawing on the thought of Bruno Latour, John Bruns traces the complex relations of human and nonhuman agents in Hitchcock’s films with the aim of mapping the Hitchcock landscape cognitively, affectively, and politically. Yet this book does not promise that such a map can or will cohere, for Hitchcock was just as adept at misdirection as he was at direction. Bearing this in mind and true to the Hitchcock spirit, Hitchcock’s People, Places, and Things anticipates that people will stumble into the wrong places at the wrong time, places will be made uncanny by things, and things exchanged between people will act as (not-so) secret agents that make up the perilous landscape of Hitchcock’s work.

This book offers new readings of well-known Hitchcock films, including The Lodger, Shadow of a Doubt, Psycho, The Birds, and Marnie, as well as insights into lesser-discussed films such as I Confess and Family Plot. Additional close readings of the original theatrical trailer for Psycho and a Hitchcock-directed episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents expand the Hitchcock landscape beyond conventional critical borders. In tracing the network of relations in Hitchcock’s work, Bruns brings new Hitchcockian tropes to light. For students, scholars, and serious fans, the author promises a thrilling critical navigation of the Hitchcock landscape, with frequent “mental shake-ups” that Hitchcock promised his audience.
About the Author

JOHN BRUNS is a professor in the Department of English and the director of the Film Studies Program at the College of Charleston.

"In this elegantly written book, Bruns wryly turns the apparently cynical observation attributed to Hitchcock that 'actors are cattle' into a new and exciting way of viewing the director’s work. For if actors can be characterized in this way, then nonhuman places and things—including the so-called “unimportant” MacGuffin—also reward critical attention. Studying crowded urban settings and small apartments, tracing movement that occurs telepathically through time and space, and revealing the interactions of human and nonhuman, Bruns takes us on an exhilarating tour of Hitchcock’s often treacherous landscapes and the people and things in it." —Tania Modleski, author of The Women Who Knew Too Much: Hitchcock and Feminist Theory

"Hitchcock's People, Places, and Things is a knowledgeable, carefully thought out, and attractively written examination of key recurrent elements in Hitchcock’s films and the overall subtlety and effectiveness of his visual design. John Bruns expertly reveals how Hitchcock’s objects and spaces powerfully convey the vulnerability and fragility of the self, an inescapable sense of homelessness and impenetrable isolation, the difficulties and limits of communication and knowledge, and the often punishing impact of nonrational forces in life." —Sidney Gottlieb, editor of Hitchcock on Hitchcock