Exploiting Voyeurism and Implicating the Audience: ENG586

The Past and Prologue

“I’ll bet you that nine out of ten people, if they see a woman across the courtyard undressing for bed, or even a man puttering around in his room, will stay and look; no one turns away and says, ‘It’s none of my business.’ They could pull down their blinds, but they never do; they stand there and look out.”

Hitchcock, 1968

In this excerpt from an extensive interview with François Truffaut, Hitchcock meditates on the temptation of voyeurism, classifying it as a nearly universal entertainment. Throughout his career, Hitchcock exploited his belief that voyeurism is a widespread human temptation by constantly implicating the audience as a participant in a series of taboo activities: sex, violence, and murder among them. Though Hitchcock was often criticized for being overly technical at the expense of character or plot development, subject and technique coincide when dealing with the act of watching. Both…

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