Mike Frank

Academic Hitchcock criticism was, in its early years, shaped by the theological-ethical preoccupations introduced by Eric Rohmer and Claude Chabrol in the first detailed exploration of Hitchcock as a serious artist/auteur. For that criticism the dominant theme in Hitchcock was human evil and original sin. More recently, especially under the influence of Laura Mulvey’s landmark “visual pleasure” essay, serious Hitchcock criticism has emphasised the gender elements in the films in general. Critics in this tradition place sexual desire and the politics of patriarchy at the centre of Hitchcock’s work. By and large, these strains of critical thought have remained separate. It is possible, however, to see them as two aspects of a larger Hitchcockian vision, one that sees sexuality both as necessary and as inevitably the source of much human evil.