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Similarities in the films of Alfred Hitchcock

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  1. Introduction.
    1. Alfred Hitchcock's 'Strangers on a Train'.
    2. The wrongfully accused man.
  2. The reoccurring theme of distrust towards law enforcement.
    1. Uncle Charlie in 'Shadow of a Doubt'.
    2. A comparison between good and evil, innocent and guilty.
    3. Uncle Charlie - the murderer.
  3. The commonly occurring hero who has dark impulses.
  4. Conclusion - Hitchcock's use of similar characters, plots, and ideas.

Alfred Hitchcock's ?Strangers on a Train? (1951) carries with it the signature of its auteur director. Hitchcock's other films are marked in the same way using similar themes, character types, and storylines. ?Strangers? is most similar to ?The 39 Steps? (1935) and ?Shadow of a Doubt? (1943) so this essay will focus primarily on these three films. The innocent man who is wrongfully accused plot is the broadest similarity between the three. This leads to a specific distrust of law enforcement and Hitchcock's common connection of the innocent with the guilty. The concept of a hero who has dark impulses is a large part of this similarity between innocent and guilty. All of these reoccurring plots and ideas reflect Hitchcock's opinions, often called worldview, which comes out of his being an auteur.

[...] In 39 Steps? the ambiguity between good and evil can be seen most interestingly in the character of the professor. We meet him in the company of his family and we think of him as a safe man, one who can help Hannay who we know to be innocent. However, Hitchcock throws a curveball to us when we discover he is missing part of his finger, revealing him to be a part of the espionage ring responsible for the woman's murder for which Hannay is being pursued. [...]


[...] The police investigating and oftentimes trying to arrest the wrong man is reflective of their general lack of grace in Hitchcock's films, meaning their nature consists of hurting the innocent but never the guilty. The police in the film are investigating the wrong man, but only the audience knows Guy is innocent of the murder, if not totally innocent he at the least did not commit the act. This knowledge allies the audience with Guy and against the police, though this takes a secondary role to Guy against Bruno. [...]

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