Author Archives: Jordyn Wade

Bob’s Burger’s and Hitchcock

Bob’s Burger’s is a common, young adult, animated series, about a man who owns a burger restaurant and his crazy, yet realistic family. Recently an episode aired for Thanksgiving that could only be referencing one thing, The Birds. It was time for the Thanksgiving feast and the town decided to honor thanksgiving that they would have a “Running of the Birds.” Yes, it’s exactly at is sounds, the town released tons of birds into the streets and encouraged the townspeople to run with them. Everything takes a turn for the worst when the birds begin to attack the people. Soon the town is in utter chaos. As you can see in the clip below, instead of creepy crows and ravens, there are turkeys and chickens but the idea is still very much the same.

At the end of the

episode the situation is resolved in a slightly different manner than the Hitchcock film however.Instead of the birds leaving Linda, the mother, discovers that there is a serious pecking order between the birds, literally, and that they are all fighting to get to the top of the pecking order. Linda then pecks the other birds and her family forcing the birds to accept her dominance. The birds then leave and Thanksgiving was a success. Therefore, even with some drastic changes it is still very evident as to what Bob’s Burger’s drew their inspiration from.

The Unreliable Narrator in Hitchcock Films

This paper focuses on the use of Hitchcock’s unreliable narrators particularly in the films, The Lodger (1927), Stage Fright (1950), and Psycho (1960). It explains the use of an unreliable narrator and how Hitchcock used it and developed it in his time as a director and producer. The paper also argues that despite the fact all three films use the same technique to create complex plot twists, each time it is used, Hitchcock uses the idea in a completely new and unexpected way in order to keep the audience guessing and entertained.

In the film The Lodger, Hitchcock creates an unreliable narrator by choosing to conceal information until the very end of the film. Without all of the facts it is easy to believe that “the Lodger,” Jonathon, is the antagonist, however after a carefully timed reveal it appears that it is not the case.

Stage Fright is the most popular and widely known use of the unreliable narrator. Here a character provides a false flashback, directly giving the audience fake information which goes unrefuted until the end of the film when the antagonist reveals he was lying all along to avoid going to jail.

Finally, Psycho, one of Hitchcock’s later films takes the idea to a whole new disturbing level. The reason not all information is given to the audience is because the antagonist legitimately believes what he is saying. As far as he is concerned he is simply the victim in the situation. This means that Hitchcock left no clues for the audience to discover who the murder was on their own.

Finally, I will directly compare and contrast all three films and how Hitchcock’s style and use of this idea has evolved over his career.

Vertigo or Citizen Kane?

While there is no doubt that Vertigo is an excellent film and will be remembered as such for many years to come, I do not believe that it was the best Hitchcock picture. Personally, I am much more inclined to give that credit to Psycho as it is faster paced and better know in the younger generation. It is very influential for many thriller films made after the fact which wasn’t as much the case with VertigoPsycho also has an advantage as it made later in Hitchcock’s career which provides a little more understanding on how to work with the audience and how certain camera angels and lighting provide certain feelings.

Granted Citizen Kane is undeniably one of the best movies to have ever been made, however, I still feel that Psycho in some aspects is a more enjoyable film. While I have not studied Citizen Kane in such great depth, the amount of planning and subtlety of Psycho was truly astounding.

I understand this is an incredibly unpopular opinion but I feel with the amount of enjoyment watching Psycho gave me it is hard for me to justify giving it any other spot on the list except number 1. There are not many times that you see a movie that so widely affects the audience or cinema in such a way so at the very least Psycho must be respected in that aspect.

Family Relationships in Shadow of a Doubt

In the film, Shadow of a Doubt, there is a very notable relationship between the protagonist and the antagonist. The protagonist is the young Charlie, a smart teenage girl, and her Uncle Charlie who is the Merry Widow Murder. Even before the Uncle’s true identity was discovered the relationship between Uncle Charlie and young Charlie was borderline incestuous. Uncle Charlie was giving his niece gifts and acting in ways that were all together not fitting for being her uncle.  Even how close he stood next to her gave an eerie romantic aura to the scene. 

For example in the chart below it is shown what is considered to be intimate, personal and social space and how much space is acceptable between people depending on the situation.                     personal_space

And here is a screen shot from the film of Uncle Charlie and young Charlie:

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(http://amoviescrapbook.blogspot.com/2012/11/shadow-of-doubt-hitchcocks-personal.html)

It is evident that the space between the two characters is far from social or personal. It would appear that they are very intimate with each other despite the fact they are related by blood.

Family dynamics often play a very important part in many of Hitchcock’s great films. In general there is a mother and father who are incredibly overprotective of their daughter. The daughter is always very intelligent and beautiful and tends to fall in love with the protagonist. This time however the family dynamic takes a very different twist. The mother in Shadow of a Doubt seems more lost than anything. She looks up to her younger brother extensively and has no idea anything inappropriate might be occurring between her daughter and her brother. Of course the relationship between Uncle Charlie and Young Charlie takes the family dynamic to an entirely new level. While it is not stated out right that there is a romantic connection between the two I found it was strongly implied and showed that this picturesque family was not perhaps so perfect.

However, there is another explanation for Hitchcock’s choice in creating the romantic spark between two family members. Uncle Charlie was a cunning man and he clearly had many mental issues so it would not be a surprise to know he was doing this on purpose. He knew that young Charlie was very bright and perhaps by trying to create a special bond with her he was trying to save himself.

Citations:

McLaughlin, James. ” All in the Family: Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt.” In A Hitchcock Reader, 145-155. 2nd ed. Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.

http://amoviescrapbook.blogspot.com/2012/11/shadow-of-doubt-hitchcocks-personal.html

http://blog.lib.umn.edu/vanm0049/psy1001section08spring2012/2012/04/youre-in-my-personal-space.html

Blondes

A common visual motif often found in Hitchcock films is small blond leads. Hitchcock seems to favor small young blonde women to play the star. This is due to several reasons. First of all during the time that was the idea of beauty. Every women wished to be thin, blonde and beautiful and looks are always a big part of the movie industry. They were also chosen because they seem very naive which is why it is surprising that these women are so competent and able to have ulterior motives which is generally unexpected for the time.

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In the film The Lodger, Daisy, the main character is at first portrayed as a simple model who is still living with her parents but it is later shown that she is very intelligent as she plays Joe, the policeman, into believing she reciprocated the feelings to some degree while really her attention was focused completely on the Lodger. This may have been due to the protection that being associated with Joe provided her with and it was only until her affections grew too strong for Jonathan (the Lodger) that she ended the ordeal with Joe.Unknown

In the film Blackmail, Alice, another young blond female lead is once again portrayed as foolish. She flirts like a school girl with the Artist and dresses in silly clothes for him. However when it comes down to it and she is uncomfortable she stabs the Artist to death. Many would believe such a young innocent gils would not be capable of committing such an act. This shows that Hitchcock really plays off of physical characteristics. Also having blonde hair and light skin reminds people of purity and that makes it easier to root for her character as being inherently good but being caught in a bad situation.

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Therefore, in conclusion, Hitchcock uses young blonde girls to play his female leads because they are what was considered beautiful at the time, they appear innocent and surprise the audience with their intelligence considering the general population at the time believed women were generally less competent than men.