1 Hitchcock: Accidental Meetings, Fateful Encounters

July 7, 2020; May 6, 2022–188

Accidental Meetings, Fateful Encounters are crucial in Hitchcock’s work.

H’s basic issue: How does an accidental encounter cause fatal consequences?

An apparent order of the ordinary life is precipitated into catastrophe by accidental encounter

H’s universe is governed by “malign spirit.”

Chance events tend to plunge normal citizens into a nightmare

The chance accident reveals the structure chance encounter is a joint between an element and empty space, a void that awaits the subject like a trap (Mladen Dolar, p. 43).

Strangers on a Train

The accidental brush of feet


Crossed trajectories in a hotel lobby

Family Plot

Karen Black appears suddenly out of nowhere, forcing Bruce Dern to stop.

The narrative is generated out of splicing together fortuitous encounter of the unlikely with the improbable. (Elsaesser).

The Wrong Man

The most somber of H films.

The mistaken identification of the hero as a thief, which happens purely by chance.

It turns his life into hell of humiliation, and it drives his wife into insanity.

H’s vision of a cruel, arbitrary, impenetrable Go who can bring catastrophe at any moment. (S. Zizeck in R. Allen, p. 130)