Hitchcock, Sir Alfred Joseph
Alfred was the third and youngest child in the family. He might have gone on to follow in his father's footsteps as a grocer or develop a career of less notoriety except, perhaps, for a chilling incident in his early youth. Alfred was just five years old the day he committed some misdeed that convinced his father he needed a
lesson in discipline. His father sent him down to see the chief of police, with a note about what should be done to teach Alfred the error of this ways. The police chief promptly put him into a cell and slammed the door shut. Later, Alfred recalled that «the sound and solidity of that closing cell door and the bolt» never left his memory. He was really only abandoned behind bars for five minutes. Upon his release, the officer made sure to impress him with the chilling words «that's what we do to naughty boys». (Shepler, August 15, 1999)
Alfred's fear of authority and punishment was reinforced during his years at the Jesuit school, St. Ignatius College. At that time, corporal punishment was meted out by ritual beatings on the hands with a hard rubber strap. Alfred Hitchcock would later recall that those incidents felt to him much like «going to the gallows.» Punishment, and terror of it being unfairly administered by the police to someone undeserving would later emerge in Hitchcock's movies, particularly «The Thirty-Nine Steps», «I confess», «The Wrong Man» and «North by Northwest».
Every director makes the choices of what to emphasize and what to play down in a given screenplay. Hitchcock, throughout his career, always chose to highlight irony, surprises, moral ambiguity, and the uncertainties of life. I will attempt to illustrate what I think are Hitchcock's best attributes and supreme techniques as a director; specifically his use of camera angles, sound and ability to use the audience's imagination.
Hitchcock possessed a deliberate directorial style and vast technical knowledge. The director was known for his meticulous planning of every shot - before filming, he would sketch each scene with a list of every possible camera angle. Hitchcock used a full array of cinematic techniques in addition to montage to manipulate his audience, including unusual camera angles and carefully placed sound effects. He meticulously planned each shot in his films and treated the actor as just another object on the set, leaving the impression that nothing on the screen had arrived there by chance.
Indeed, what makes many of Alfred Hitchcock's movies so compelling is his focus on ordinary people being drawn into extraordinary and frightening events. There are no great beasts or extraterrestrial beings. The monsters may well be the neighbors across the way, as in «Rear Window,» or inside the psychotic mind of an otherwise likeable young man, namely Norman Bates in «Psycho». Espionage, terrorism and military sabotage, genuine fears during the years leading up to World War II and throughout
the Cold War, formed the basis for «North by Northwest,» «Secret Agent» and «Saboteur».
A technique that Hitchcock used to build suspense was to get the audience in on the real danger early in the movies, but leave the characters in the dark. In «Sabotage,» he has a delivery boy carrying a package that contains a bomb set to go off at 1:45pm. The audience knows this but the delivery boy only knows he's been told to deliver the package to an address in London by 1:30. As he dawdles down the street, distracted by this and that, tension builds as the clocks keep ticking off the minutes. Finally, he boards a bus to make up time.
When moviegoers refer to Alfred Hitchcock's style, they are usually thinking of his camera work and editing. Hitchcock's use of language, sound effects, and music is just as essential, distinctive, and masterly. Hitchcock was an important pioneer of sound techniques: he experimented with expressionistic sound in «Blackmail» with the interior monologue in «Murder», with subliminal sound in «The Secret Agent» and with computer-generated effects in «The Birds». Hitchcock has had an abiding interest in finding ways to incorporate music into the heart of his plot. Indeed, music is an essential component of the story in over half of his sound films, and eight of his protagonists are musicians. He thus can manipulate the audience's familiarity with and expectations about popular music as a way of defining character and controlling our responses without having to introduce any extraneous element. During a Hitchcock film we are typically looking at one thing or person while listening to another. By separating sound and image Hitchcock can thus achieve, denseness, tension and on occasion, irony. In three films where Hitchcock eliminates scoring, for example, he uses sound effects to much the same atmospheric effect: wind in the «Jamaica Inn», waves in «Lifeboat», bird caws in «The Birds». Indeed, in «The Birds» avian noises imitate the functions of music (instead of musical cues, bird cries maintain the tension), in Psycho music (screeching violins) imitates birds at various points. Hitchcock's incorporation of musical ideas into the thematic conception of his films is yet another example of how he uses the traditional elements of the soundtrack in unorthodox ways. (Weis, Elizabeth, 1982)
When it comes to on-screen murder Hitchcock deliberately plays on the creativity of the audience's imagination and this can be seen in his attempts to partially conceal murders. In «Blackmail» the murder takes place behind the curtains that surround Crewe's bed. A more interesting case of concealment comes in the murder of Miriam in «Strangers on a Train». When Miriam ditches her escorts in hope of talking to Bruno, he surprises her. His hands swiftly find her throat. Miriam's glasses fall off. Hitchcock cuts to a close-up of the glasses. Reflected in one of the lenses, we can make out two struggling figures. Hitchcock denies us a clear view of what is happening as Bruno strangles Miriam. The view in the glasses is distorted and provides a carnivalesque, fun-house perspective, yet we can tell that Bruno is completely overpowering her. The murder is also hidden from us aurally by the jangle of the carnival organ. The camera angle, the reflected, distorted image, the absence of editing, the absence of the sounds of the struggle, and the lighting all function to conceal the violence of the attack while simultaneously implying Bruno's strength and the inevitability of her death. Cinematic concealment is used to multiply the power of the killer. Hitchcock takes up the task of concealment again in Psycho.
Forty minutes into Psycho, Marion is murdered. When Marion gets into the shower at the Bates Motel and the water starts to flow, we see she is cleansing herself. She ahs decided to give back
the money that she embezzled. Everything has returned to normal until the bathroom door opens and a shadowy figure approaches the curtain. When the figure throws open the curtain, we see a knife raised at shoulder height. The first strike comes at forty seconds after the shower has been turned on. Over the course of the next twenty seconds there are twenty-eight cuts. There are no shots of the knife penetrating skin, there are no shots of open knife wounds, and finally, there are no shots of blood spurting. Hitchcock manages to make twenty-eight cuts without once showing either a fatal blow or a fatal wound. Hitchcock hides the actual violence by employing severe editing techniques. The violence that takes place is put together by our imaginations, since it remains mostly hidden from our direct view.
Alfred Hitchcock, also known as «Master of Suspense,» was a director who loves to manipulate the audience through his films. As a director, he always stayed in touch with his childish fears. Ever since his father taught him a lesson about what happens to «naughty boys,» he always feared police. Hitchcock recalled that «the sound of that closing cell door and the bolt» never left his memory. Director of such works as Psycho and Dial «M» for Murder, Hitchcock told his stories through suspense.
Pages: 1 2
Please do not pass this sample essay as your own, otherwise you will be accused of plagiarism. Our writers can write any custom essay for you!
Hitchcock, Sir Alfred Joseph Alfred was the third and youngest child in the family. He might have gone on to follow in his father's footsteps as a grocer or develop a career of less notoriety except, perhaps, for a chilling incident in his early youth. Alfred was just five years old the day he committed some misdeed that convinced Personal love for films When I was 14 years of age I used to see many films. Of those films I liked technical films made by Steven Spielberg and Ramgopal varma the best. Their films inspired me very much, and then I decided to become a filmmaker. I had known about film making through watching interviews of the directors, Spellbound By Alfred Hitchcock Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck star in this mystery/thriller that dabbles in psycho-analysis and the troubles of the mind. Constance Peterson is a renowned psycho-analyst, whose ability to analyze data is unquestionable, but who has no life outside of her work. This all changes the day the new Chief of Staff, Dr. Edwardes (Peck) arrives. Andre Bazin Bazin believed that editing cuts off the viewer's opportunity to the wholeness and continuity of time and space. He believes that editing is manipulative as it forces the viewer to see what the film maker wants us to see. If a shot were uninterrupted and in deep focus, so that everything in the shot appeared Alfred hitchcock biography essay Alfred Hitchcock, admired genius and master of film suspense, died of liver failure and heart problems on April 28, 1980 in Los Angeles, California. He was the single most influential director in the film genre of suspense, having partly created it, and is one of the most well known and esteemed directors in the medium