Courses / Undergraduate

Spring 2014

  • Special Topics in Film: Hitchcock Adaptations

    140 | CCN: 31699

    Eileen Jones

    4 Units

    Director Alfred Hitchcock’s reliance on literary works is a lesser-known factor in his filmmaking, in part because of Hitchcock’s famous “authorship” of his films, which he forcefully publicized. Yet Hitchcock was a frequent adapter of acclaimed novels such as Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train, Robert Bloch’s Psycho, Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca and Jamaica Inn, Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent (filmed as Sabotage) and Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac’s D’entre Les Morts (Between Deaths, filmed as Vertigo), in addition to short stories such as Daphne Du Maurier’s “The Birds” and Cornell Woolrich’s “It Had to Be Murder” (filmed as Rear Window). Hitchcock’s collaborations with screenwriters favored free and idiosyncratic interpretations of literary text sources; his intense unhappiness with the “faithful” adaptation process forced upon him in bringing Daphne du Maurier’s bestseller Rebecca to the screen, thus preventing it from becoming “a real Hitchcock film” in the director’s view, has been compellingly analyzed by Tania Modleski in The Women Who Knew Too Much.
    In this course we will examine Hitchcock’s films in terms of adaptation, in an attempt to re-establish the connection between his famous filmic “authorship” and the obscured literary authorship that preceded it.
    Psycho by Robert Bloch
    Published by Overlook, 1st Edition, Paperback, May 25, 2010.
    ISBN-10: 1590203356
    ISBN-13: 978-1590203354
    Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
    Published by William Morrow Paperbacks, September 5, 2006.
    ISBN-10: 0380730405
    ISBN-13: 978-0380730407
    Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith
    Published by W.W. Norton and Co., Reprint Edition, Paperback, August 17, 2001.
    ISBN-10: 0393321983
    ISBN-13: 978-0393321982