A Lacanian take on Herrmann/Hitchcock
in Partners in suspense
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As the title of this chapter testifies, it takes a Lacanian approach to Herrmann’s work with Hitchcock. Drawing on Kristeva’s Lacanian pre-Symbolic notion of ‘the specular,’ Brown finds Herrmann’s music, not just his film work with Hitchcock, but also his concert and radio music, to demonstrate the full specular potential of the cinema. Drawing on Laura Mulvey’s theories, the chapter examines the way in which Herrmann’s deployment of the Hitchcock chord (as referenced above) in Vertigo and Psycho in particular, remove film’s Symbolic discursive attachments, in a manner similar to atonal or experimental music, and returns it to its specular potential.

Partners in suspense

Critical essays on Bernard Herrmann and Alfred Hitchcock

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