An Evening with Alfred Hitchcock’s Mid-Century Cinematic Architecture

Presented by Preservation Utah and the Salt Lake Modern Committee


June 26, 2018  |  5:00 – 6:30 p.m.

Sweet Branch Library, 455 F Street, Salt Lake City

Followed by a no-host reception at Avenues Proper, 376 8th Avenue

Suggested Donation $10

No registration necessary.


Enjoy a lively evening discussion of film and architecture focusing on director Alfred Hitchcock’s penchant for creating suspenseful chase scenes, heart-stopping moments, and romantic interludes against the backdrop of American architecture. Two leading historians on the topic, Christine Madrid French (a University of Utah alumna) and Douglas A. Cunningham, Ph.D. (editor of two books on Alfred Hitchcock’s films), will present the latest in their work interpreting Hitchcock’s mid-century movies, including Vertigo, Psycho, Rear Window, and The Birds.

Cunningham will discuss ideas for the creation of a Vertigo film-site heritage trail in “Mapping/Marking Cinephilia: The Case for a Vertigo Heritage Trail,” and French will explore popular film archetypes in “The Building is the Celebrity: Alfred Hitchcock’s Mid-Century Cinematic Architecture.” These visually rich presentations will illuminate the building backstories of the Villain’s Lair, the Motel & the Mansion, and the Urban Voyeur in Hitchcock’s most famous movies--where the buildings are the real celebrities. 



Douglas A. Cunningham is Adjunct Professor of Humanities at Brigham Young University and Adjunct Professor of Literature and Film Studies at Westminster College in Salt Lake City. He is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and taught literature and film at the US Air Force Academy for five years of his twenty-year military career. He earned a Ph.D. in film studies at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2009. In 2015, he directed Listen, Darkling, a short film produced as a personal tribute to Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. Cunningham is a noted scholar of Alfred Hitchcock and the editor of two volumes on his work, including The San Francisco of Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo: Place, Pilgrimage, and Commemoration (2011), and Critical Insights Film: Alfred Hitchcock (2017), books that contribute to the ongoing discourse about the "Master of Suspense” and his larger influence on world culture.

Los Angeles native Christine Madrid French is an architectural historian with a degree in historic preservation from the University of Utah, and a master's degree from Thomas Jefferson’s University of Virginia. Ms. French has fought for recognition and preservation of significant structures across the country: she served as the Director of the Modernism and Recent Past Program at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, successfully sued the federal government to save a Richard Neutra-designed visitor center and headed a project to rehabilitate a nineteenth-century Florida mansion, which had to be cut in half and floated across a lake to save it from demolition. Ms. French is currently writing American Modern Architecture: Frame + Character in Hitchcock’s Cinematic Spaces, to be published by the University of Virginia Press in late 2019. She is a graduate of the University of Utah College of Architecture + Planning.



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