The Strange Case of Graham Greene and Alfred Hitchcock – A Comparison
Professor Neil Sinyard
The writer-director Neil Jordan once described the novelist Graham Greene and the film-maker Alfred Hitchcock as “the two poets of English criminality and bad conscience.” Yet he was puzzled by Greene’s consistent hostility to Hitchcock’s work, the only judgment during Greene’s period as the most respected and feared of English film critics that has clearly not stood the test of time. Was it a genuine blind spot on Greene’s part? Or did it reflect his apprehension that Hitchcock was encroaching on territory that he was marking out for himself?
This talk will explore some intriguing thematic, critical, biographical, and even religious connections between Greene and Hitchcock. With reference to such novels as The End of the Affair and Our Man in Havana and to films such as Vertigo and North by Northwest, the talk will draw fascinating parallels between the work of both men. It will argue that these two great artists are not so much artistic rivals as artistic blood brothers, and the most thrilling complementary couple of literature and film.
Neil Sinyard is Emeritus Professor of Film Studies at the University of Hull and Visiting Professor of Film at the University of Lincoln. Born in Hull and educated at Hull University, where he gained a First Class Honours in English Literature, he lectured for several years at Birmingham University and West Midlands College before freelancing as a film critic, a period which included a stint as Deputy Film Critic of the Sunday Telegraph. He returned to Hull University and founded the Film Studies Department there in 1999, becoming its Professor and Head until his retirement in 2008.
He has written 25 books and published numerous articles and reviews in international film journals. He has also contributed booklets and interviews to many dvd and blu-ray film releases. His work includes a book and several articles on the films of Alfred Hitchcock. He has also written a book on the literary life of Graham Greene. A member of the Graham Greene Birthplace Trust since its foundation in 1998, he is the Literary Editor of the Quarterly Graham Greene Newsletter and lectures every year at the annual Graham Greene Festival in Berkhamsted.
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