Arts Society & Culture

NYU cinema studies chair to lecture on Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’ at UGA

Athens, Ga. – Richard Allen, professor and chair of cinema studies at New York University, will lecture on the use of electronic sound in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 film “The Birds” Apr. 22 at 12:20 p.m. in Room 53 of the University of Georgia’s Fine Arts Building.

Allen’s visit is co-sponsored by the Jane and Harry Willson Center for Humanities and Arts, the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences department of theatre and film studies and the film studies program.

Hitchcock’s films have been a key subject of Allen’s research and writing. He has edited three Hitchcock anthologies and has served as editor of the Hitchcock Annual, a prominent journal of Hitchcock studies, since 2001. He is the author of “Hitchcock’s Romantic Irony,” published by Columbia University Press in 2007.

“Richard Allen is one of the preeminent scholars of Alfred Hitchcock, who remains one of the all-time favorite filmmakers of contemporary cinephiles,” said Antje Ascheid, a UGA associate professor of film studies and Willson Center associate academic director for arts and public programs.

“For Hitchcock, stylistic innovation was always tied to technological innovation,” Allen said. “His readiness to use an electronic soundtrack in ‘The Birds’ should be understood against the background of his self-conscious effort, in the wake of his lionization by the critics of Cahiers du Cinema, to make a film that pushed the boundaries of his art. I will argue that Hitchcock’s use of electronic sound is experimental in the sense that it expands the representational and expressive possibilities of sound in cinema.

“However, it is mistaken to think that Hitchcock used the electronic sound in ‘The Birds’ primarily because it was electronic. Rather, Hitchcock enthusiastically embraced electronic sound because it allowed him to create the dense layering of sound effects that he wanted for the film, one that anticipates modern sound design.”

Allen also will introduce a special screening of Hitchcock’s “Frenzy” Apr. 22 at 7:30 p.m. at Ciné, 234 W. Hancock Ave. For more information on Ciné, see

Willson Center for Humanities and Arts
The Jane and Harry Willson Center for Humanities and Arts is a unit of the UGA Office of the Vice President for Research. In the service of its mission to promote research and creativity in the humanities and arts, the Willson Center sponsors and participates in numerous public events on and off the UGA campus throughout the academic year. It supports faculty through research grants, lectures, symposia, publications, visiting scholars, visiting artists, collaborative instruction, public conferences, exhibitions and performances. For more information, see