By Mervyn Nicholson
It is true that his movies of the war period (1939–45) are conspicuously antifascist, Lifeboat most of all, but the common view is that Hitchcock is essentially apolitical. “You generally avoid any politics in your films,” the French director François Truffaut said to him, and Hitchcock’s reply sums up his attitude: “It’s just that the public doesn’t care for films on politics.” He has nothing against it, but it is not what the public wants. It is significant that even Lifeboat was accused by some critics of supporting the Nazis.
Academics typically discuss everything about Hitchcock, except class—class not in a quasi-cultural sense, but in the technical and Marxist sense of class, with related themes of surplus extraction, alienation, immiseration, and revolution, implied in the term. As John Grant puts it, “the notion of ‘class’ is a dirty word in today’s America.” Critics notice the “dark side” of American society, plainly depicted in Hitchcock’s Hollywood movies; they discuss the alienation and cynicism, the satire, even nihilism, in his films.
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