Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Graduate School

First Advisor

Louis H. Leiter

First Committee Member

Diane M. Borden

Second Committee Member

Robert T. Knighton


The implication of space in film is worth exploring in detail particularly with regard to the films of Alfred Hitchcock, since he is, perhaps more than any other filmmaker, concerned with the dynamics of proximity. Possibly because of his experience as a set designer on Graham Cutt’s silent films Woman to Woman (1922), The White Shadow (1923), The Passionate Adventure (1924), The Blackguard, and The Prude’s Fall (both 1925), Hitchcock very early in his career was faced with the task of expressing himself - without words - through setting, set shape, and room size. In Francois Truffaut's book, Hitchcock, the Master relates an important (since he remembers his) childhood episode in which his father arranged for the chief of police to lock him in a jail cell for five or ten minutes, admonishing that, “This is what we do to naughty boys.” Consequently, we see in Hitchcock’s films (which were all visually designed by him in the storyboard process) a persuasive aura of claustrophobia which involves a certain amount of connotes guilt and fear. As I intend to explain, this claustrophobia has far-reaching implications in five hermeneutic contexts, proving to be an important key to his moral-aesthetic universe.





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