Even though the last film he made came out nearly 50 years ago, Alfred Hitchcock's works continue to be major influences on contemporary filmmakers and not only entertain new generations of audiences but speak powerfully to us about our enduring personal, interpersonal, social, and political anxieties.
In this Verso University series of classes, we'll look closely at four major films Hitchcock made during his long career. The class will be taught by Professor Sid Gottlieb, a popular professor of Communication and Media Arts at Sacred Heart University.
The class will meet from Tuesdays, Februrary 13 through March 5, from 1:30 to 3 pm, in the Library's Komansky program room.
Participants are expected to screen each film (listed below) outside of class, and then meet to discuss it together in detail. Upon registration, information on how to access the films will be provided. Then, each week, Professor Gottlieb will send out topics and questions to consider as you watch the film that may be pursued in class discussions, along with whatever participants want to talk about. He will bring in clips from each film that should be helpful in focusing, especially on Hitchcock's ways of visualizing the dramas and themes that his films revolve around.
The films to be discussed are as follows:
Shadow of a Doubt (1941), which Hitchcock often called his favorite film, is a memorable study of a young girl coming of age, grappling with the many dangers of life lying just beneath the surface of her "happy" family and small-town life.
Rear Window (1954) pictures a world quite like our own, dominated by looking rather than doing and haunted by being "alone together."
The always delightful and always challenging North by Northwest (1959) takes one of Hitchcock's favorite actors, Cary Grant, across the landscape of America, doing his best to survive the downsides of an empty life as an ad man and the dangers of international intrigue and romance.
The course will end with Psycho (1960), perhaps the film he is most well-known for these days, a masterpiece of horror and suspense but also of wit and what Hitchcock called "pure cinema."
Note: Class size is limited. There is a registration fee of $25, and registration is for all class sessions. The Westport Library wants to ensure that all interested students are able to participate in Verso University courses. If the registration fee is a barrier to entry for you, please contact [email protected].
About our Verso University Instructor:
Sid Gottlieb is professor of Communication and Media Arts at Sacred Heart University. His undergraduate courses focus on critical approaches to media studies, film history, film comedy, and special topics courses on individual directors, like Hitchcock and Orson Welles.
Professor Gottlieb is the longtime editor of two scholarly journals, the Hitchcock Annual (Columbia University Press) and the George Herbert Journal. A multiple recipient of Sacred Heart's scholarship award, he has published essays on Hitchcock, Welles, Eisenstein, Capra, Herbert, Milton, Marvell, Vaughan, Sterne, and Austen, among others.
Verso University is the Library’s lifelong learning and education initiative, serving up year-round offerings of classes, workshops, and lectures designed to further education and learning. Offerings run the gamut of educational opportunities, ranging from one-time lectures to ongoing courses to classes that meet weekly or perhaps monthly.
Verso University programs are made possible by the generous support of the Nancy J. Beard Lifelong Learning and Education Fund.