‘Strangled the Chicken’: The Spectacle of Gay Male Sex and the Incitement of its Discourse in Rope

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Victoria Romanik
Mark Guerrero


In this paper, I explore discourses of gay male sex and homosexuality in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope (1948) as it situates within the highly-restrictive moral landscape of the Motion Picture Production code era. Although the restrictive economy surrounding these regulations had supposedly expurgated all discourses of sex and sexuality from the public sphere, I will draw on Foucault’s History of Sexuality (1984) to argue that this was not the case. Instead, I shed light on the paradox of censorship, by which the shrewd restriction of sexuality has transformed gay male sex into a topic of discussion. I then offer a critique of Hitchcock’s spectacularization of gay male sex, urging us to question how discourses of gay male sex are being constructed and who is constructing these discourses.

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