Hitchcock famously defined “pure cinema” as montage: “to me, pure film, pure cinema, is pieces of film assembled.” It’s a simple, workable definition of one aspect of film form that had long fascinated filmmakers and theorists. This article attempts to analyze the foundation of Hitchcockian montage as a process of the fragmentation of the organic whole of visual, aural, and narrative form. I begin with Hitchcock, and then consider the materialization of a Hitchcockian montage schema in the work of Dario Argento and Brian De Palma, two filmmakers who proudly declare an aesthetic and philosophical debt to Hitchcock’s cinema. In their explicit imitation of the Hitchcockian schema, I trace the cinema of the giallo and De Palma as a further abstraction of the part from the whole, but in this imitative, reflexive, aesthetic gesture, the bond between part and whole is increasingly tenuous, synthetic, and irrational.

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