Professor to analyze Hitchcock themes at the Loft Cinema

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Arizona Daily Wildcat

File Photo /The Daily Wildcat

One UA program is turning to classic films to engage the Tucson community.

Established in 1984, the Humanities Seminars Program was founded by UA affiliates — although the classes are not offered through the College of Humanities — and offers no-for-credit courses taught by leading UA faculty members, with classes in areas including musical theater, ecology, law and art history.

The program will host a special event at The Loft Cinema on Wednesday, when professor of classics and anthropology David Soren will presents Alfred Hitchcock’s “Saboteur.”

The 1942 thriller follows Barry Kane, an aircraft factory worker who is on the run after being wrongfully accused of starting the fire that killed his best friend. The film is in black and white, with a runtime of about 100 minutes. “Saboteur” is one of the two films that Hitchcock designed specifically to be shown to an audience on the big screen, Soren said.

At the event, Soren will share his insights on the film to help audience members interpret Hitchcock’s different techniques and themes.

Because Soren personally knows Norman Lloyd — the actor who played Frank Fry, the film’s main antagonist — he has inside information about Hitchcock’s film production methods to share with attendees on Wednesday.

Soren will begin the event by giving attendees a list of themes to look for. A fear of the police and Hitchcock’s strange relationship with blonde women are among some of the familiar motifs that can be seen in the film. Soren said that even if audience members don’t connect with what he’s trying to teach, they will at least be entertained.

“I can pretty much guarantee that there will be some gasps in the audience,” Soren said. “I hope people will find intellectual things to think about, but even if they don’t care about that at all, it’s still very entertaining.”

The screening on Wednesday will be something of an experiment, said Pat Brooks, who retired from her position as the director of external affairs in the College of Humanities in April of 2012, and is currently a volunteer of the publicity crew for the Humanities Seminars Program. “Saboteur” will be presented in the format of a class so the program can see if a film class offered in this venue would be viable in the long run.

Courses taught through the Humanities Seminars Program are typically held in the Helen S. Schaefer Building, which seats 90 students and also houses the UA Poetry Center.

In the past four years, the courses have experienced an influx of students, and leaders of the Humanities Seminars Program have had to scope out other possible venues, including The Loft Cinema, to seat students interested in the courses offered.

“People usually get hooked when they take our classes,” Brooks said. “They’re fascinating for professors to teach. People enjoy the instruction, which is top notch. [Soren] is a great representation of the caliber of professors in the program.”

Follow Casey Knox @Knox_Casey


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