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Title: Alfred Hitchcock: The Master of Adaptation
Authors: Bass, Thomas William
Advisors: Hunt, L
Keywords: Robert Bloch Psycho;Daphne Du Maurier;Authorship Versus Adaptation;Hitchcock British Plays;Theatrical Adaptation
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Brunel University London
Abstract: My research explores Alfred Hitchcock’s use of adaptation and the impact that this has on his status as an ‘auteur’. The aim, through looking at a cross section of his work, is to produce the basis for an adaptation model that could be used to examine his entire body of work, accounting for all influences, extratextual references, intertextualities, sequels, remakes and most importantly, other authors. By exploring Hitchcock’s use of the theatrical (a subject that is often ignored) and his lesser earlier films, we can begin to form the foundations for this model. By looking at his adaptation of a particular author and the textual evolution of one of his most iconic films, we are able to put this model to the test. Chapter one is the introduction, which looks at Hitchcock’s status within cinematic history, while also examining the current state of Hitchcock scholarship, auteur theory and adaptations studies. Chapter two examines the theatrical adaptations of Hitchcock’s British period, specifically shining light upon texts that are often ignored or maligned by theoretical study. Chapter three discusses the American theatrical adaptations, specifically looking at the role of the ‘meta-text’ and Hitchcock’s fascination with recreating the theatrical. Chapter four explores Hitchcock’s relationship with Daphne du Maurier, examining his adaptation of her work, overall themes, characters and ideologies. This chapter also presents an original reading of The Birds, which examines how Hitchcock’s film is more indebted to Du Maurier’s novels than her shot story of avian horror. Chapter five examines the evolution of Psycho. Hitchcock’s adaptation of, amongst others, Robert Bloch and Henri-Georges Clouzot will be discussed, as will the multiple sequels, remakes and exploitations that, in turn, adapt his own film. It will be argued that these texts are in fact adapting Psycho’s influences and origins as much as the film itself. Chapter six is the conclusion where the findings are analysed and the model of adaptation, which positions Hitchcock at the centre as a collector of texts is discussed. In occupying this position the notion of him as an ‘auteur’ is erased and instead he becomes the ‘Master of Adaptation’.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and awarded by Brunel University London.
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Dept of Social Sciences Media and Communications Theses

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