The project began with little structure. I had purchased a boxed DVD set of Alfred Hitchcock films, and I thought the time had come to start taking a close look at Hitch’s career, from beginning to end, a chronological film study of one of cinema’s greatest auteurs. I contacted my good friend James W. Powell about the idea, and we each became quite enthused about the prospect. That’s how a comprehensive, 1-year film-study email correspondence between Jason Bovberg and James W. Powell began.

As we watched the films week to week, we devoured the special features on the disc itself (commentary/documentary/others), and we also read passages from Donald Spoto’s film-by-film study The Art of Alfred Hitchcock, as well as the Hitchcock/Truffaut interview book. I also read the Hitchcock biography, Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light by Patrick McGilligan. The whole experience provided quite a Hitch-ucation.

Our Hitchcock Conversations started tentatively, our thoughts meandering and unfocused. It’s interesting, looking back, to compare our fumbling early words with the more confident discussions we enjoyed over films such as Shadow of a Doubt, Vertigo, and Psycho. We definitely found a rhythm as these conversations progressed, probing studiously into every frame and gaining increasing knowledge with each passing film. We scoured the celluloid for symbolism and metaphor, mood and theme, visual cues and audio techniques, diving as deeply as our brains would allow.

In the end, we could claim a deep understanding about one of the greatest directors in cinema. Over the coming weeks and months, I’ll publish those conversations here.

The Lodger (1926)
The Ring (1927)
Blackmail (1929)
Murder! (1930)
Rich and Strange (1931)
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)
The 39 Steps (1935)
Secret Agent (1936)
Sabotage (1936)
Young and Innocent (1937)
The Lady Vanishes (1938)
Jamaica Inn (1939)
Rebecca (1940)
Foreign Correspondent (1940)
Mr. and Mrs. Smith (1941)
Suspicion (1941)
Saboteur (1942)
Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
Lifeboat (1944)
Spellbound (1945)
Notorious (1946)
The Paradine Case (1947)
Rope (1948)
Under Capricorn (1949)
Stage Fright (1950)
Strangers on a Train (1951)
I Confess (1953)
Dial M for Murder (1954)
Rear Window (1954)
To Catch a Thief (1955)
The Trouble With Harry (1955)
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
The Wrong Man (1957)
Vertigo (1958)
North by Northwest (1959)
Psycho (1960)
The Birds (1963)
Marnie (1964)
Torn Curtain (1966)
Topaz (1969)
Frenzy (1972)
Family Plot (1976)