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TCM Presents The Master of Suspense: 50 Years of Hitchcock is a Course

TCM Presents The Master of Suspense: 50 Years of Hitchcock

Ended Aug 7, 2017

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Full course description

Course Description

Coming this Summer, sign up for the newest online film course from TCM and Ball State!

We invite movie lovers and online learners from around the world to join us for a free, flexible online course, TCM Presents The Master of Suspense: 50 Years of Hitchcock (#Hitchcock50). This is the third free online course to be offered by TCM and Ball State, following Film Noir (2015) and Slapstick Comedy (2016).

In this Hitchcock course, enjoy multimedia course materials, daily in-app messaging with movie clips, mini-games, and ongoing interactions with fellow film fans on the TCM message boards or at #Hitchcock50.

We will explore 40+ Hitchcock films from his first film in the silent era, The Lodger (1927) to his final film five decades later, Family Plot (1976). In all, the course will reflect on Hitchcock's unparalleled 50-year career as one of cinema's most successful and unique filmmakers. The course will run concurrently with TCM's programming festival, "50 Years of Hitchcock", which will screen Hitchcock films Wednesdays and Fridays during the month of July 2017.

Both the course and the associated films are designed to enrich your understanding of Alfred Hitchcock, Hollywood filmmaking, and the shifts in popular culture and film production contexts that Hitchcock used to his advantage throughout his illustrious career. You will be able to share your own thoughts about Hitchcock and cinema history with a worldwide community of students, fans, and film lovers.

Contribute to the conversation using #Hitchcock50

Course Syllabus (Course Dates: Jun 26, 2017 - Aug 7, 2017)

Week 1

WEEK 1: Beginnings and British Silent Film Years: Hitchcock in the 1920s

  • Hitchcock's Early Life and his Start in Silent Films
  • Early Genre Influences on Hitchcock
  • Hitch's Constant: Alma Reville
  • The Importance of Stars in Hitchcock's Films
  • Early Developments of the Hitchcock Touch in Silent Films
Week 2

WEEK 2: The British Sound Film Years: Hitchcock in the 1930s

  • Hitchcock's Development in his British Sound Films
  • The Spy Thriller in Hitchcock's British Films
  • Hitchcock and Writers: 50 Years of Classic Collaborations
  • The Stars of the British Sound Period
  • Technique and Style in the British Sound Thrillers
Week 3

WEEK 3: The Selznick Years: Hitchcock in the 1940s

  • The Other Side of the Atlantic: Hitchcock Comes to Hollywood
  • Hitchcock and Film Noir
  • Hitchcock and Visual Designers: 50 Years of Classic Collaborations
  • Hitchcock and Hollywood Stars
  • Technique and Style in Hitchcock's First Hollywood Films
Week 4

WEEK 4: The Peak Years: Hitchcock in the 1950s

  • Hitting the High Notes at Warner Bros. and Paramount
  • Hitchcock and the Psychological Thriller
  • Hitchcock and Title Design: Focus on Saul Bass
  • Hitchcock and his Most Archetypal Stars
  • Hitchcock's Golden Touch in the 1950s
Week 5

WEEK 5: The Universal Years: Hitchcock in the 1960s and 1970s

  • Hitchcock's Later Years at Universal Studios
  • Hitchcock and the Horror Film
  • Hitchcock and Music: Focus on Bernard Herrmann
  • Hitchcock's Newest Stars
  • Hitchcock's Finishing Touches on a Masterful Career
Week 6

WEEK 6: The Legacy: Hitchcock's Impact on Film and Television

  • Hitchcock Lives! A Legacy of Influence
  • Hitchcockian Thrillers: The Thriller Genre After Hitchcock
  • Inspired by Hitchcock: A New Generation of Creators and Artists
  • More than a Cameo: Hitchcock as Star and Cultural Icon
  • Why Hitchcock Still Matters Today

Course Format

Each week will feature weekly lecture videos, content pages, quizzes, discussion forums, mini-games, live tweeting events, optional readings, and the Daily Doses of Suspense. The Daily Doses are brief, five minute learning modules involving a short video clip that will unlock inside of your Canvas course on Mondays through Thursdays during the length of the course.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need access to TCM to participate in this course?

No. For non-TCM subscribers, we will have free links to online public domain films and/or provide access to brief film clips, so anyone can participate fully in this course. But it is advisable, if you do not have access to TCM, to try to rent certain key films – a short list of essential films that students should rent on their own will be provided in the course.

How long is the course and TCM's The Master of Suspense?

The online course is 6 weeks long, and the TCM on-air Hitchcock festival is 4 weeks long (running every Wednesday and Friday of July 2017).

What kind of time commitment may I expect?

For students who seek to complete the course, it will take between two to four hours each week, and that does not include the additional time to watch Hitchcock movies on your own or on TCM. For students who would like to audit the class or can only participate occasionally, you are encouraged to participate as much as possible, especially on social media (#Hitchcock50) and on the TCM message boards.

Can I earn a Certificate of Completion?

Yes, students who successfully complete all of the course requirements will receive a certificate of completion. If you only want to audit the course, you will not be eligible to receive the certificate, but you are still welcome to take part in the course activities.

Are there any synchronous or live events in the course?

Yes. The course will use Facebook Live or Twitter's Periscope to have a few live events. But in case you are not available when an event is occurring, an archived video copy will be available for later viewing.

Will the instructor be involved in the course?

Yes. This is not a self-paced course. The instructor will be involved each week of the course, and new modules will be released every Monday during the course.

Richard L. Edwards

Richard L. Edwards, Ph.D.

Executive Director,
iLearn Research

Dr. Richard L. Edwards received his Ph.D. in Critical Studies from USC's School of Cinematic Arts. He is the co-author, with Shannon Clute of TCM, of The Maltese Touch of Evil: Film Noir and Potential Criticism (University Press of New England, 2011), as well as numerous articles on film topics. He is the co-host of the long running podcast series, Out of the Past: Investigating Film Noir. Dr. Edwards previously taught 2015's TCM Presents Into the Darkness: Investigating Film Noir and 2016's TCM Presents Painfully Funny: Exploring Slapstick in the Movies. This is his third course collaboration with TCM and Canvas Network. As Executive Director of Ball State's iLearn Research, Edwards specializes in teaching and learning innovations for online and blended education.


The social media, games, and many of the video assets shared in the course were created in collaboration with the Ball State University Immersive Learning Program’s Let’s Movie Design Studio. Learn More.

Let's Movie Design Studio