John Bruns


John Bruns is Professor of Film Studies and is also a faculty affiliate of the Women's and Gender Studies Program. John's first book, Loopholes: Reading Comically (Routledge, 2013), is currently out in paperback with a new introduction. The book takes classic and contemporary theories of comedy and applies them to a variety of topics in film, literature and culture. Andrew McConnell Stott (University of Buffalo, SUNY) calls it "the essential next step in the discussion and a must for humor scholars everywhere." He recently published a book on Alfred Hitchcock, entitled Hitchcock's People, Places, and Things (Northwestern University Press). He has also co-authored with Charles Ramírez Berg a film history textbook to be published by University of Texas Press, entitled Essential Film History: The Evolution of Movie Storytelling.


Ph.D., Film, Literature & Culture, University of Southern California

M.A., English, University of Southern California

B.A., Film, Television & Theater/English, University of Notre Dame

Research Interests

  • Film history, theory, criticism
  • Cultural studies
  • Literary theory
  • Comedy
  • Feminist theory

Courses Taught

ENGL 351: Studies in American Film

ENGL 390: Alfred Hitchcock

ENGL 212: Cinema: History and Criticism

ENGL 390: Studies in Film

Recent Publications

"The Dark Comedy Side of Genius." Review essay. Hitchcock Annual 24, Columbia University Press, 2021, pp. 80-105.

"Under Capricorn: Head, Shoulder, Knees, and Toes." Under Capricorn: 70 Years On. Conference Proceedings, Sep. 5-6, 2019, King's College, London, edited by Stéphane Duckett and Charles Barr, Movie: A Journal of Film Criticism, Universities of Warwick, Reading, and Oxford, 2021.

Hitchcock's People, Places, and Things , Northwestern University Press, 2019

"Tony Curtis in Sweet Smell of Success." Close-Up: Great Cinematic Performances, Vol. 1: America. Ed. Murray Pomerance and Kyle Stevens. Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press, 2018.