What interests Hitchcock? Not precisely character: he creates it, and his flair for casting sustains it, but it is character directed to the ends of a limited dramatic situation, star personality cut to size, Not, certainly, professional crime, the mechanics of a bank robbery or the operations of a spy ring. Professionalism hints at routine, and Hitchcock's is the art of the unexpected—a celebration of that jarring moment when, walking in the dark down a staircase which you know every foot of the way, you suddenly hit bottom one step too soon. When Hitchcock talks of his own technique, it is often in terms of a deliberate avoidance of cliché. (p. 161)
What does, then, interest this bland,...
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