AMS-20061 - Alfred Hitchcock's America
Coordinator: Oliver Cg Harris Room: CBB1.053 Tel: +44 1782 7 33016
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 5
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office: 01782 733147

Programme/Approved Electives for 2019/20


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2019/20

Alfred Hitchcock was an historian, critic, and analyst of American culture, as becomes clear by focusing on some of the greatest films he made in Hollywood from the early 1940s until the late 1950s. We will pursue cultural and politicised readings, while also attending in detail to both the production histories of his films, the stars, studios, and collaborators he worked with - and, through close attention to detail, their paramount formal features.
Themes considered include the relation between national security and sexual identity, the complicity of cinema in a surveillance culture, fashion and the politics of gender construction.
Although previous experience of studying film is not a requirement, students will be expected to engage throughout the module in the close observation of formal features in Hitchcock's cinema.

1. To develop students& knowledge of Hollywood as an industry and of American culture during the war and postwar years, through the work of a single director;
2. To develop students& abilities to analyse both formal features of film texts and referential features in relation to American culture and history.

Talis Aspire Reading List
Any reading lists will be provided by the start of the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes

apply skills in close textual analysis of film; will be achieved by assessments: 1, 2, 3
apply a critical understanding of the institutional imperatives of Hollywood as a culture industry during the 1940s and 1950s; will be achieved by assessments: 3
analyse formal features of filmmaking and cinematic themes and relate them to broader cultural and historical issues in American society; will be achieved by assessments: 1, 2, 3
describe and evaluate key features of American society during the 1940s and '50s. will be achieved by assessments: 1, 3

Study hours

10 x 2-hour seminars
9 x 30 minute- lecture/workshops
1 x 15-minute one-to-one feedback and planning session
107 hours 15 mins preparation for seminars, workshops and assignments
9 x 2-hour film-screenings.

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Class Participation weighted 10%
Standard attendance and participation
Class participation, which includes preparation based on week-by-week questions given in the Module Document; contribution to small group work discussion of the set questions; drawing on notes based on the weekly set critical reading; and an effort to grasp the nature and importance of formal textual features of the films being studied.

2: Short Paper weighted 30%
1,200 word paper
1,200-word short paper is designed to develop students' abilities to make formal analysis of filmic motifs, combined with a recognition of how such motifs contribute to larger thematic concerns. Requiring a bibliography and accurate presentation, the assessment also prepares students for the major long essay. Students are expected to make good use of still images to support their analysis.

3: Essay weighted 60%
Long essay to enable students to demonstrate the module's main learning outcomes
2,500-word essay, chosen from a range of set titles, that require students to demonstrate skills in both close textual analysis and a broader ability to describe and evaluate both key themes or methods in Hitchcock's cinema and/or larger cultural/historical references.