Hitchcock Hype at LASA: LASA’s Unique Class Spotlights the Filmmaker

Ewan McInerney, Staff Writer

“Psychological Makeup of Hitchcock Characters,” aka “Hitchcock,” is a course at LASA where students watch and analyze movies created by the legendary director Alfred Hitchcock.

Hitchcock, born in England, directed over 50 films throughout his career and helped shape the suspense and thriller genres in film. He was known for his pioneering use of camera angles and effects to create suspense and to allow the viewer to witness events from the characters’ perspective.

The course is taught by Chloe Cardinale, who also teaches Great Ideas and has taught English II and Contemporary Fiction. It is open to sophomores, juniors and seniors as an English elective, and the course is yearlong. According to Cardinale, she got the idea to create the class while teaching one of Hitchcock’s movies in Great Ideas.

“In Great Ideas, we were teaching ‘Vertigo,’ and I have such an obsession with watching movies, especially old movies,” Cardinale said. “I thought watching and analyzing old movies would be a cool concept for an elective class. It’s kind of my passion project.”

Another reason why Cardinale started the class was to expose students to older movies and how they were created. She said that, ordinarily, most people today would never get to see classic movies made by directors like Hitchcock.

“I don’t think that most young people would go out and seek a lot of movies on their own,” Cardinale said. “That’s why it was cool to see so many people signing up for the class when I created it.”

Senior Hobbs McAllister took the class last school year. He said that he chose to take the class because he wanted to learn about techniques and styles used in older movies.

“For me, the purpose of the Hitchcock class was to learn more about older films and filmmaking,” McAllister said. “Personally, I’m a big fan of Hitchcock, and I’ve watched a lot of his films before I took the class, so I was excited to find out more about his history and the films he made.”

According to McAllister, the structure of the course is relatively simple. Most of the class is spent watching and studying films.

“It’s really not that complicated,” McAllister said. “Every day in the class, we come in and talk to Ms. Cardinale for a couple of minutes. We decide what movie we’re going to do next and spend most of our time watching it. At the end of every film, we take a quiz about the plot of the movie. We also analyze parts of it and talk about how the styles used relate to Alfred Hitchcock.”

Senior Olivia Gonzalez also previously took the course. According to Gonzalez, at the end of the year, the Hitchcockian styles and techniques the class learned about are all put together into a final project.

“We were supposed to create our own Hitchcock movie as a final activity,” Gonzalez said. “We were writing our screenplays and getting ready to film our movies, which was going to be super cool, but unfortunately, that couldn’t happen because of COVID. That’s definitely something for future classes to look forward to after the quarantine ends, though.”

Gonzalez also took the Audio Video Production (AVP) course last year, which is a class focused on digital filmmaking. She said that the Hitchcock class allowed her to approach film from two different angles.

“It was really interesting to see from both perspectives in terms of filmmaking, between how you create the movies in AVP and the dynamic of mood or suspense that is the final result in Hitchcock,” Gonzalez said. “I’ve always found that really fascinating.”