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Module QXE-2024:
Alfred Hitchcock

Module Facts

Run by School of Languages, Literatures, Linguistics and Media

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Prof Steven Price

Overall aims and purpose

  1. To assess the arguments for and against notions of cinematic authorship, including collaborative authorship, via a detailed examination of a wide range of films by Alfred Hitchcock.

  2. To study the historical, social and industrial contexts influencing Hitchcock’s work in a range of different national cinemas (German, British, American).

  3. To explain the differences between film and literary production and methods of critical analysis and interpretation via a study of adaptation, screenwriting, and spectatorship in Hitchcock’s work.

Course content

Alfred Hitchcock is perhaps the most notable example of a director whose films were popular both with audiences and with critics seeking to establish the credibility of film as an art form. His work provides a case-study of theories of authorship; of different national cinemas and studio systems, and of a particular genre, the thriller. In addition, the popularity and accessibility of Hitchcock’s films also raise questions concerning narrative, spectatorial pleasure, the gaze, and gender, and consequently provide an opportunity to explore the interrelation and limits of film theory and film practice

Assessment Criteria


Typically, work graded D- to D+ (or 40 to 49) will show many of the following qualities: • Unsure and lacking in confidence when discussing ideas • Referring to the subject in question in a superficial manner • Making an effort to provide fairly balanced answers • Some points in the argument irrelevant to the topic • Little evidence of background reading • Some uncertainty over language and syntax • Strengths and weaknesses fairly balanced; occasionally clumsy and unimaginative • In creative work: superficial • Not succeeding in mastering the requirements of the medium


Typically, work graded B- to B+ (or 60 to 69) will show many of the following qualities: • Discusses ideas adeptly • Most of the arguments about a specific field are well-aired • Displays knowledge of the subject in question; the answer is relevant • Shows analytical and clear thought • Gives evidence of relevant reading • Shows accuracy in expression with mastery over language. • A few minor errors here and there. • Signs of creative thought deserve a higher position within the class • In creative work: shows signs of originality, having understood the requirements of the medium • Plans of well-balanced and full answers, despite some gaps


Typically, work graded A- to A** (or 70 to 100) will show many of the following qualities:

• Discusses ideas with confidence and precision • Demonstrates maturity and sophistication • Displays deep knowledge of the subject in question; the answer is totally relevant • Shows independent, analytical and clear thought • Gives evidence of substantial and relevant reading • Shows great accuracy in expression, displaying total mastery over all aspects of the language • Shows occasional signs of brilliance and originality of thought • In creative work: displays considerable originality • Command over medium; may have potential for publication/production

Learning outcomes

  1. Understand the concept and main critiques of film authorship.

  2. Understand the social, historical, cultural and institutional contexts of film production.

  3. Ability to apply film theories to the study of individual films.

  4. Ability to analyse images, narratives, and other aspects of audio-visual texts.

  5. Select, digest and organise material and produce a consistent and coherent argument, presented in essay form, to a deadline.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
One 3,000 word project 75
Mid-term exam 25

Teaching and Learning Strategy


2 hour film screening per week x 11

2 hour seminar per week x 11

1hour study group per week x 11


1 x 2 hour film screening, weekly

1 x 2 hour seminar, weekly

Private study 156

1 film screening, weekly.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others


Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: