Table of contents


Some notes on the problem of government by consent

This is Hitchcock’s only story that aims to disclose the American character. A transport ship is sunk by a German submarine & a few survivors on a lifeboat have to make it back to civilization. In their new misery, they have to organize in some […]

The birds

Modern independent womanhood & the terrifying danger facing the family

People were apparently really scared by this show. I’m not sure whether this taught them to like horrible things which are no real danger to them–or to avoid them. I’m not sure this really matters for the story–there’s the smug bird watcher who’s sure […]

The man who knew too much

The American abroad

This is a great show of the uglier truths about the private life. It should be a great introduction for Americans to the world as it was before Enlightenment disclosed every secret, unconcealed everything hidden.

Dr. Ben McKenna & family arrive in Marrakech. He was there onceā€“in WWII. He is in […]

Dial M for murder 3

On the difficulty faced by a man who wants to prove anyone innocent

When the mastermind explains his evil intentions to his henchman, the latter asks, why should I not just tell the police? The mastermind then shows how he has used his wits & his class to defend himself from suspicion while incriminating […]

Dial M for murder 2

Margot: Do you believe in the perfect murder? Mark: Yes, absolutely–on paper, that is–but I doubt if I could carry it out? Tony: Oh? Why not? Mark: Well, because in stories things usually turn out the way the authors wants’em to & in real life they don’t!

Writing is the triumph of art over […]

Dial M for murder 1

Some notes on the concealment involved in the laws

The title, like so many Hitchcock titles, is ironic. To catch a thief is about marriage, it turns out; the man who knew too much turns out to be about how innocent, so to speak, Midwestern Americans are; rear window is not at all about […]

To catch a thief 3

How to profit from a life of crime & heroism

The frivolous jokes throughout the movie are meant to moderate the seriousness with which we tend to take mysteries. When dangerous things are happening, we tend to become alert, & fear is never far away, nor yet anger. Moderating these sentiments is necessary preparation […]

To catch a thief 2

Modern woman faced with the sophisticated life

Robie says Frances must have come to Europe husband hunting; her mother says, she usually takes up with soft fools–she fears finishing school finished her. The girl lacks nothing but horse sense. She’s a mockery of the American self-made man: Spirited; she says, she likes to get […]

To catch a thief 1

The trouble with rich people

Rich people attract thieves. Thieves are moved by a popular sentiment–they believe it’s good to be rich, that wealth & happiness are about the same thing. Thieves, unlike most people, are not very sentimental, nor do they have moralistic feelings about laws. Who among us does not believe–the thief […]