After decades of criticism about perhaps the most famous director in history, it seems that nothing is left to be said. But maybe critics just haven’t been willing to be surprised by the films they have watched again and again. On this episode of New Books Network, Dr. Lee Pierce (s/t) interviews famed literary critic Dr. D.A. Miller (h) about ropes, shoes, desserts, stains, and the other surprising little touches that characterize Hitchcock’s surplus style.
In Hidden Hitchcock (University of Chicago Press, 2016), D. A. Miller does what seems impossible: he discovers what has remained unseen in Hitchcock’s movies, a secret style that imbues his films with a radical duplicity. Focusing on three films—Strangers on a Train, Rope, and The Wrong Man—Miller shows how Hitchcock anticipates, even demands a “Too-Close Viewer.” Dwelling within us all and vigilant even when everything appears to be in good order, this Too-Close Viewer attempts to see more than the director points out, to expand the space of the film and the duration of the viewing experience. And, thanks to Hidden Hitchcock, that obsessive attention is rewarded. In Hitchcock’s visual puns, his so-called continuity errors, and his hidden appearances (not to be confused with his cameos), Miller finds wellsprings of enigma. Hidden Hitchcock is a revelatory work that not only shows how little we know this best known of filmmakers, but also how near such too-close viewing comes to cinephilic madness.
Works by D.A. Miller mentioned in this interview:
“My Lockdown with ‘Death in Venice,’” LA Review of Books
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