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Event Details

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Date:
October 27, 2020
Time:
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Location:
Online event
Address:
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Email:
Cost:
Free
Shadowy black & white image staring down the center of a concrete stairwell
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Author John Billheimer: Hitchcock and the Censors

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

The local author joins us to share his Edgar Award-winning dive into the fascinating career of filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock, who spent a career battling and finessing the Motion Picture Production Code.

Throughout his career, Alfred Hitchcock had to deal with a wide variety of censors attuned to the slightest suggestion of sexual innuendo, undue violence, toilet humor, religious disrespect, and all forms of indecency, real or imagined.

During their review of Hitchcock's films, the censors demanded an average of 22.5 changes, ranging from the mundane to the mind-boggling, on each of his American films. Code reviewers dictated the ending of Rebecca (1940), absolved Cary Grant of guilt in Suspicion (1941), edited Cole Porter's lyrics in Stage Fright (1950), decided which shades should be drawn in Rear Window (1954), and shortened the shower scene in Psycho (1960).

In Hitchcock and the Censors, author John Billheimer traces the forces that led to the Production Code and describes Hitchcock's magician-like touch when negotiating with code officials and sidestepping censorship to produce a lifetime of memorable films. 

About John Billheimer
John Billheimer is the author of two mystery series; one with West Virginia failure analyst Owen Allison, and the other featuring Ohio sportswriter Lloyd Keaton. He has taught courses in film noir, hard-boiled fiction on film, and the modern mystery in film and print at Stanford and Santa Clara Universities. Dr. Billheimer lives in Portola Valley.