Author Archives: Marion Butler

Frenzy

This movie is probably one of the most horrifying and grotesque of Hitchcock’s films. Hitchcock incorporates many themes in this movie: strangulation, the screaming woman, flashbacks, the wrong man, sex, and the serial killer. In Frenzy the serial killer, Barry Foster is going around town killing innocent women with a necktie. The uses of strangulation is fairly normal for a Hitchcock film but the question is why the killer uses a necktie instead of his hands. Hitchcock has used the screaming woman motif in some of his movies the most well-known examples are in The Birds and Psycho. This theme is represented in this movie too. When the killer is strangling the woman the camera zooms in on her screaming face. There is a very important scene in the movie where the main character, Barry Foster, is having flashbacks of the murder he just committed. This shows that he is starting to feel guilty and afraid that he might get caught. The wrong man is in this movie as well. Barry Foster covers up his murders by framing his friend, Richard Blaney. Sex is a big part in this movie because the killer gets sexual gratification by raping the women before he kills them. Finally the serial killer motif is used in Hitchcock films, especially this one. This paper will be analyzing the thoughts and motives of the killer and the role of the serial killer in the media.

 

 

 

 

Comtemporary Art

A photo from the Feature Film

I am going to describe the artist, Douglas Gordon and his work. Gordon is a Scottish artist and won the Turner Prize in 1996. He currently lives and works in Berlin, Germany. His specific style centers around repetition and memory. He often uses material from the public realm. He also plays with the element of time and uses multiple monitors. He worked on the movie Psycho by using time. He slowed down the movie so it would last 24 hours. He made a film called Feature Film. The film includes the score that was in Hitchcock’s Vertigo. He tends to take ideas from other films and incorporate them into his movies. He uses the famous scene in Taxi Driver where the character breaks the fourth wall and talks directly to the camera. He also is quite a photographer.

Views on Vertigo

I really liked Vertigo. The acting and the directing were amazing. I can see why scholars name this one of the most influential films of all time. I think the shots that Hitchcock used were fantastic. I like how it looked when Scottie was hanging on for dear life. I also loved the scene at the end when he seems to overcome his vertigo and follow Madeline/Judy up the tower. This film is the most personal to Hitchcock because of the way Scottie controls Judy and the way he tries to make her into Madeline. This film also takes a look into the theory of voyeurism and gaze. Laura Mulvey is a strong feminist who is not a particular fan of Hitchcock’s work. She observes Vertigo and thinks that when Scottie stalks Madeline/Judy that he is objectifying her. Mulvey thinks that men always look at women in a dirty way and the women are always objectified. I do not agree with Mulvey’s statements. A woman could just as easily gaze at a man in a way that objectifies him. I somewhat agree with Mulvey, but only to a degree. I think men can look at women in a way that objectifies them (pornography), but women also have the power to do this as well. I don’t think women are as innocent as Mulvey makes them out to be. They aren’t always the victim.

Hitchcock Themes

After watching many of Hitchcock’s films such as Shadow of a Doubt, Spellbound, and Strangers on a Train. I have decided to comment on the family dynamics in Shadow of a Doubt. The family dynamics throughout this movie are downright creepy and incestuous. When the movie starts out with the parallel of Uncle Charlie in his bed and young Charlie in her bed there is a weird dynamic. They both appear to be sick and something is missing in their lives. Young Charlie desperately wants Uncle Charlie to visit and he somehow gets this message without being contacted. They seem to have a weird telepathy that only the two of them seem to understand. When he arrives young Charlie is oblivious and doesn’t realize that he is a creepy man. As the movie progresses she starts to become suspicious of him and eventually kills him. The family dynamic is also screwed up because Charlie’s little sister is very mature for her age and automatically realizes that uncle Charlie is bad. Also uncle Charlie treats the family’s dad as if he is a child. He tries to take the dad’s place as the head of the family. In the end they realize that uncle Charlie was bad news and that he was contributing to the bad family dynamics.

Hitchcock Themes and Motifs

I really enjoyed both of these movies and I think Hitchcock is a genius behind the camera. He uses themes and motifs brilliantly in both films. I like how in both of the movies he uses shadows. In The Lodger he casts a shadow that looks like a cross to convey a Christ-like figure and in  Blackmail he casts a shadow that looks like a mustache to convey a criminal. We also realize that there seems to be a love triangle in both movies. As we will see in Hitchcock films, men are very controlling of women and will not let them have a say in most situations. Hitchcock films The Lodger in an interesting way since he does not have sound available. When the scene is outside there is a blue tint in the reel and inside it is a normal black and white tint. In Blackmail Hitchcock has the use of sound but he does tease us at the beginning with not putting sound in on purpose. In Blackmail there are many themes and motifs to be talked about, such as the paintings, laughter, control and so on. In The Lodger Daisy has two men to choose between and they both love her. In Blackmail Alice is not satisfied with Frank so she wants a new romance with the artist. The artist, Crewe does not love her and only wants her for one thing. I think both of these movies are very similar. They are both thrillers, have love triangles, shadows, black and white, and so on. I think these films differ because one is sound and the other is not. Hitchcock uses sound creatively when he makes the word “knife” the only word heard in the scene in Blackmail.

 

Shadow cast in The Lodger

Shadow cast in Blackmail