108 minutes, U.S.A., 1947, Black and White, 35mm

This screening will be introduced by Dr. Harvey O’Brien, Lecturer in Film Studies at UCD.

Hitchcock always named this as a favourite: a small-town melodrama shot in the Californian location of Santa Rosa, and the film with which he felt he became a fully American director. ‘The stronger the villain, the stronger the film’: Hitchcock’s formula is powerfully illustrated here by Joseph Cotten, serial killer of women who travels, vampire-like, from the East to insinuate himself into his sister’s family and the local community.

Other readings of Hitchcock’s career may legitimately prefer films with a less upfront moral schema, but this one is undeniably central both to his own progress and to wartime Hollywood cinema. The mother of the family is played by Patricia Collinge, born and raised in Dublin; she shares a name, Emma, with Hitchcock’s own Irish mother, who died in England during the film’s production.

This film is screening as part of The Genius of Hitchcock: Part Two. A full retrospective of Hitchcock’s 52 surviving films is taking place at the IFI from December 2012 to March 2013.

A six-week Evening Course, Shadow of a Genius, will look at the work of directors influenced by Hitchcock and will take place from February 5th to March 12th. 

Book Tickets