Hitchcock and Humor

Modes of Comedy in Twelve Defining Films

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About the Book

Woody Allen’s Manhattan Murder Mystery has been described as “a kind of Rear Window for retirees.” As this quote suggests, an analysis of Alfred Hitchcock’s methodical use of comedy in his films is past due.
One of Turner Classic Movies’ on-screen scholars for their summer 2017 online Hitchcock class, the author grew tired of misleading throwaway references to the director’s “comic relief.” This book examines what should be obvious: Hitchcock systematically incorporated assorted types of comedy—black humor, parody, farce/screwball comedy and romantic comedy—in his films to entertain his audience with “comic” thrillers.

About the Author(s)

Wes D. Gehring is a distinguished professor of film at Ball State University and associate media editor for USA Today magazine, for which he also writes the column “Reel World.” He is the author of 39 film books, including biographies of James Dean, Carole Lombard, Steve McQueen, Robert Wise, Red Skelton and Charlie Chaplin.

Bibliographic Details

Wes D. Gehring
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 290
Bibliographic Info: 38 photos, filmography, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2019
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7356-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3621-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments 1
Prologue: Working Towards Blackmail (1929) 3
1. Blackmail (1929) 29
2. The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) 45
3. The 39 Steps (1935) 61
4. Secret Agent (1936) 78
5. The Lady Vanishes (1938) 95
6. Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941) 114
7. Shadow of a Doubt (1943) 134
8. Rope (1948) 153
9. Strangers on a Train (1951) 174
10. Rear Window (1954) 192
11. The Trouble with Harry (1955) 210
12. North by Northwest (1959) 225
Epilogue, and Thoughts on Psycho (1960) 249
Filmography 255
Chapter Notes 259
Bibliography 270
Index 279

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Gehring remains supreme in film comedy scholarship”—Choice.