Bruce IsaacsSep 28, 2020
The Art of Pure Cinema
Hitchcock and His Imitators
Oxford University Press 2020
The Art of Pure Cinema: Hitchcock and His Imitators (Oxford University Press) is the first book-length study to examine the historical foundations and stylistic mechanics of pure cinema.
Author Bruce Isaacs, Associate Professor of Film Studies and Director of the Film Studies Program at the University of Sydney, explores the potential of a philosophical and artistic approach most explicitly demonstrated by Hitchcock in his later films, beginning with Hitchcock's contact with the European avant-garde film movement in the mid-1920s.
Tracing the evolution of a philosophy of pure cinema across Hitchcock's most experimental works - Rear Window, Vertigo, North by Northwest, Psycho, The Birds, Marnie, and Frenzy - Isaacs rereads these works in a new and vital context.
In addition to this historical account, the book presents the first examination of pure cinema as an integrated stylistics of mise en scène, montage, and sound design. The films of so-called Hitchcockian imitators like Mario Bava, Dario Argento, and Brian De Palma are also examined in light of a provocative claim: that the art of pure cinema is only fully realized after Hitchcock.
Joel Tscherne is an Adjunct History Professor at Southern New Hampshire University. His Twitter handle is @JoelTscherne.