Themes and Plot Devices in The Films of Alfred Hitchcock - Food and Death

Food and Death

Food and death are often interrelated in Hitchcock’s films. It features most prominent in his second-to-last feature, Frenzy: the killer runs a fruit and vegetable stall, the body of his second victim is found in a potato truck, and, in a comic sub-plot, the Chief Inspector is forced to endure his wife’s experiments in cooking. It recurs in a number of earlier films, also:

  • A bread knife is the murder weapon in Blackmail, and Alice panics while trying to use one during breakfast the next day, as she keeps imagining she hears the word knife when others are talking.
  • In Sabotage, Mrs Verloc kills her husband with a knife she has used to serve dinner.
  • In Shadow of a Doubt Mr Newton and Herb discuss murdering each other during dinner
  • In Rope, Brandon decides to serve dinner on top of the chest where he is hiding the body of his murdered friend, David.
  • In Strangers on a Train Bruno asks a judge what it's like to give someone the death penalty and then go home and eat his dinner
  • In To Catch a Thief, Robie and Hughson discuss the ethics of murder and the death penalty while eating dinner.

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Famous quotes containing the words food and, death and/or food:

    We can come up with a working definition of life, which is what we did for the Viking mission to Mars. We said we could think in terms of a large molecule made up of carbon compounds that can replicate, or make copies of itself, and metabolize food and energy. So that’s the thought: macrocolecule, metabolism, replication.
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    We term sleep a death ... by which we may be literally said to die daily; in fine, so like death, I dare not trust it without my prayers.
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    A few pieces of fat pine were a great treasure. It is interesting to remember how much of this food for fire is still concealed in the bowels of the earth.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)