ABSTRACT

The chapter explains that concern has been, in part, to show the extent to which the film undermines patriarchal law and creates sympathy for and identification with the female outlaw. It contributes to the development of female subjectivity in that it analyzes in the context of a feminist inquiry the works of the filmmaker whom some would call the greatest practical joker as well as the greatest misogynist. Women like MacKinnon who wish to expose the partiality of the legal system have done so by focusing on the issue of rape. Woman's sexual guilt, a major preoccupation in Hitchcock's films, is obviously not 'transferable' to men, and until such sexual asymmetry is recognized, the real complexity of the theme of guilt in the films cannot be fully grasped. Blackmail is one of the first of many Hitchcock films associating a room at the top of the stairs with sexuality and with danger and violence to a woman.