What is charm, how does it work, and why did Hollywood films of the 1930s to1950s load it on? Nancy West, Ph.D., a film studies professor at the University of Missouri, looks at the work of Alfred Hitchcock for the answers. Though Hitchcock himself may not have been the world’s greatest charmer, he had a deep appreciation of the quality, as did the writers who collaborated on his screenplays. From The 39 Steps (1935) to North by Northwest (1959), Hitchcock’s films invite us to think about the meanings and uses of charm, the narrative strategies that produce it, and the cultural and historical desires it reflects. Dr. West explores these issues as she asks the biggest question of all: If charm brings such delight, can Hollywood bring it back?

Free. Co-sponsored by the departments of English and Communication and Film Studies, the Lectures Committee, and the Creative Writing Program.

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