This thesis examines depictions of evil in in the WWII and postwar thrillers of British/American director Alfred Hitchcock and his French parallel, Henri-Georges Clouzot. Though these directors are occasionally mentioned together because of the similar subject matter of their films, there is little scholarship explicitly comparing their works and their methods. This study takes advantage of the opportunity for cross-cultural comparison by analyzing six films—Rope (1948), Rear Window (1954), and Psycho (1960) by Hitchcock and Le Corbeau (The Raven, 1943), Le Salaire de la peur (The Wages of Fear, 1953), and Les Diaboliques (1955) by Clouzot—and considering how each film depicts ordinary and extraordinary manifestations of evil through themes of surveillance, guilt, gender, and sexuality. It attempts to reveal the effects that WWII, German Occupation, and the Cold War had on the development of the concept of evil in France and the United States. Hitchcock’s focus on individual deviances in the domestic sphere and Clouzot’s critiques of society as a whole demonstrate that evil is highly subjective, largely depending on personal beliefs and socio-cultural climates. In conclusion, this thesis ultimately hopes to prove the importance of comparing these directors’ films to better understand how perceptions of good and evil have developed in France and the United States.
English; French and Francophone Studies
Engel, Holly N., "Sinister Cinema: Depictions of Evil in the WWII and Postwar Thrillers of Alfred Hitchcock and Henri-Georges Clouzot" (2021). Senior Independent Study Theses. Paper 9491.
Arts and Humanities
Alfred Hitchcock, Henri-Georges Clouzot, evil, moral ambiguity, guilt, voyeurism, surveillance, gender, sexuality, World War II, Cold War, German Occupation
Bachelor of Arts
Senior Independent Study Thesis
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