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Alfred Hitchcock's Silent Films (2005) by Marc Raymond Strauss

author Marc Raymond Strauss
publisher McFarland & Co Inc (2005)
ISBN 0786419016
links LibraryThing

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Alfred Hitchcock called the silent "the purest form of cinema," and the ten silent films he directed between 1925 and 1929 reveal the young director's mature artistry. Hitchcock's silents have often been characterized as the work of a talented amateur, a young director practicing his craft during a pre-sound era of antiquated instruments and poor film techniques - the director experimented with myriad points of view, unique camera angles and movements, and special affects such as dissolves, blurriness, and violent cuts. These silents, however, contain the first appearances of some of his greatest and most familiar techniques: the vertigo-inducing crowd scene, the symbolic use of inanimate objects, the manipulation of the audience's emotions, and the self-conscious, macabre wit. This work discovers Hitchcock's talent and skill through close readings of the films from The Pleasure Garden to the silent version of Blackmail, using shot-by-shot descriptions and interpretations. Each film's chapter includes technical information, a summary of the critical response from the film's release to the present, and detailed analysis of the camera techniques and themes Hitchcock uses.


  1. The Pleasure Garden (page 11)
  2. The Mountain Eagle (page 26)
  3. The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (page 27)
  4. Downhill (page 44)
  5. Easy Virtue (page 57)
  6. The Ring (page 87)
  7. The Farmer's Wife (page 123)
  8. Champagne (page 181)
  9. The Manxman (page 195)
  10. Blackmail (Silent Version) (page 201)



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