Fatal Spaces: Alfred Hitchcock, Fritz Lang, and the Art of Murder (2007) by Ryan McBride
Before Alfred Hitchcock rose to fame, German director Fritz Lang was considered by many to be cinema's pre-eminent master of suspense. Lang's thrillers and crime epics had an abiding influence on Hitchcock's visual and narrative storytelling, even as, years later, Hitchcock's films would in turn exert their narrative and stylistic influence on the crime films and gothic melodramas Lang made while in America. Significantly, both directors returned time and again to themes of murder and guilty entrapment in the films they created. This study considers the murder scene as the key to understanding the contrasts between Hitchcock's and Lang's aesthetic, narrative and moral visions. It focuses in particular on the ways in which both directors use architecture and filmic space to communicate, in purely cinematic terms, a metaphysics of murder. It concurrently examines the implications of the directors' spatial strategies on larger thematic issues such as guilt, identity, sexuality, and the creation of suspense. The book is addressed primarily to students and scholars of Hitchcock and Lang, classic cinema, film aesthetics, and the use of architecture in film.