Suspenseful Symbiosis: Hitchcock in Pairs

Three double helpings of Hitchcock provide a look at the Master's evolving style and vision and his risk-taking innovativeness. Taught by Robert C. Cumbow.

November 7, 2019


We'll have a chance to compare the emerging Hitchcock of the 1930s with the consummate master of the 1950s-1970s. We'll compare, contrast, and spot the synchronicities in each pair of films. We'll see what changes and what stays the same in two of Hitchcock's approaches to the dark world of international espionage 30 years apart. We'll see differing manifestations of the sardonic wit for which Hitchcock became known and loved. Most of all, we'll celebrate some less-often seen films of this greatest of visual story-tellers and most beguiling of film directors. Join Robert C. Cumbow for this unique look at the the ouerve of the Master of Suspense.

SIFF year-round passes and vouchers are not valid for this event.

3 Thursdays - November 7-21, 2019
SIFF Film Center Classroom
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
$50 | $45 SIFF Members

Certificated Educators: This class is available for 6 Continuing Education Clock Hours through the Puget Sound Educational Service District. There is additional administrative cost through the ESD to redeem the hours. See additional clock hour class offerings and email us if you have any questions.

November 7 - THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (1934) and THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (1956): The only one of his own films that Hitchcock remade. The two versions offer an opportunity to compare and contrast the vision and style of Hitchcock's "British Period" with those of his golden films of the 1950s.

November 14 - NOTORIOUS (1946) and TOPAZ (1969): The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) marked Hitchcock's first sortie into the world of international espionage, which he visited again and again throughout his career. Both the widely-celebrated Notorious and the sadly under-appreciated Topaz display Hitchcock's mastery of the genre, assaying the constant risk and collateral damage of the spying game, in which love is always a casualty.

November 21 - THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY (1955) and FAMILY PLOT (1976): Two of Hitchcock's more light-hearted murder investigations, both delivering in abundance a cinematographic and stylistic mastery of place and time. The latter merits special consideration as Hitchcock's final film, filled with graceful gestures from a director who never stopped innovating.

It is recommended that attendees are familiar with (preferably watched recently) the two films for each class. The instructor will have clips from the films, but will not be showing the entire film during the class. There may also be optional readings provided for expanded education.

Seattle lawyer, teacher, and writer Robert C. Cumbow has been writing about film for close to 50 years. For SIFF he's dissected Psycho, Vertigo, The Thing, and King Kong, and has taught a series of seminars on the films of Douglas Sirk. He's the author of The Films of Sergio Leone and Order in the Universe: The Films of John Carpenter. He has taught courses in westerns, horror films, vampire films, taboo films, and the films of Alfred Hitchcock, Kathryn Bigelow, Stanley Kubrick, and David Lynch. Much of his work, new and old, can be found on the Parallax View blog at He practices with the Seattle firm of Miller Nash Graham & Dunn and has been legal advisor on several locally-made independent films. I, and also teach law courses at both Seattle University and the University of Washington. In addition to SIFF, Bob has taught film courses at University of Washington, Seattle University, Northwest Film Forum, and the Women's University Club.