In his book Male Myths and Icons, Roger Horrock makes mention of Alfred Hitchcock and his portrayal of masculine figures in a number of his films. Interestingly, Horrock is of the opinion that Hitchcock does not elevate the masculine figure in these pieces – rather he writes that Hitchcock’s primary interest lies in the exposure of “male perversity.”
While Horrock notes that women “are the victims in Hitchcock films” rather than men, he does not use this as evidence for a dominant, strong male stereotype. Rather, Horrock notes the psycotic flaws Hitchcock introduces in many of his amle characters. Vertigo concerns itself with necrophilia, Frenzy with rape and the well-known Psycho with psychosis. This image of man as a flawed and dangerous character suggests that it would be “farcical to suggest that Hitchcock simply permits. . .an uncomplicated identification” of his male protagonists as the relatable, stereotypical male role. Rather, Hitchcock attempts to reveal the darker perversity of men. Although they retain their power, especially over women, it is of important note that these characters are not idyllic emblems of masculinity as is seen in The 39 Steps. Hitchcock is interested in and has the capacity too expose a perversity of the male psyche through a number of his later films.
Unlike The 39 Steps, other works of Hitchcock have exposed a flawed and disruptive male character. Roger Horrock exposes this trend, revealing Hitchcock’s ability and desire to show men as morally and socially perverse, disrupting the masculine stereotype applied so flawlessly in The 39 Steps.