Grace Kelly’s role in these two films from 1954 will be examined. This paper focuses on Hitchcock’s negative depiction of women in these two films regarding the Hitchcock blonde, the victimization of women with their roles in society, and romantic irony. In these two films, Kelly is placed in two very different situations. In Dial M for Murder, Margot’s husband plots to murder her, but in Rear Window, Lisa notices suspicious behavior taking place in the Thorwald’s apartment. Kelly therefore “switches places” as she reverses from a murder witness to the individual to be murdered. Both of Kelly’s characters, Lisa Fremont and Margot Wendice, will be examined and compared in both films with a larger focus on her role in Dial M for Murder. Using the analysis of Richard Allen’s analysis of Hitchcock’s films, published in 2007, the romantic irony and victimization of women will be inspected. This paper argues that Dial M for Murder and Rear Window give a negative connotation to women.
My assigned artist for my film, Dial M for Murder, was Daniel Canogar. His goal is to “bring dead materials back to life, reveal their secrets, revive the collective memory they contain to construct an accurate portrait of a society and an age.” Much of his work includes a green screen, on which he films individuals interacting with. The green screen is then removed, and the individuals are then projected onto other surfaces such as buildings. Canogar’s work includes the usage of lights and projection.
Canogar has also made a piece titled “Dial M for Murder” utilizing the magnetic VHS tape from the film. The result are latticed criss-crossed lines in which a video animation is projected onto them, forming a 3.5 minute video loop where the animation appears to move along the lines. The piece was inspired by Saul Bass’ credits in Hitchcock’s films.
David Canogar’s work has a technological/design connection to Hitchcock’s films. His piece titled “Dial M for Murder” is directly encouraged by Saul Bass’ credits. Canogar’s usage of lighting and projection could also be related to other Hitchcock films.
Canogar, Daniel. “Daniel Canogar – Artist Statement.” Daniel Canogar. N.p., 2012. Web. 01 Dec. 2014.
Even though I have not seen the other films on the British Film Institute’s list, I believe that Vertigo definitely deserves the spot as number one. It’s a film about identity as Scottie forces Judy to change her appearance in order to look like Madeline. I fully support Roger Ebert’s review of the film written in 1996 (1). In this way, Hitchcock is commenting on the way he treated and controlled the “Hitchcock blondes”. Hitchcock told them how to act, what to wear, and what to say.
When I first saw Vertigo a few months ago, I did not know who Judy was, nor did I recognize her as Madeline. It was not until Scottie changed her appearance that I was finally able to understand it. Seeing the film a second time, however, I was able to notice the artistic/cinematographic elements that I had missed the first time. After Judy’s transformation, she emerges from the bathroom in the hotel surrounded by fog, hinting that she was a ghost that had been awakened. The film also includes all of the “Hitchcockian elements” that are usually utilized in his films, including staircases and the panning of the camera to give the audience the effect of having vertigo.
- Ebert, Roger. “Vertigo.” Rev. of Vertigo. n.d.: n. pag. Roger Ebert. Ebert Digital LLC, 13 Oct. 1996. Web. 5 Nov. 2014. <http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-vertigo-1958>.
In the beginning of the film, at the train station, it is prominent that Uncle Charlie and little Charlie have an interesting relationship. The cutting between Charlie and her uncle walking towards each other reveal their emotions. While lying in bed in the opening scene, Young Charlie also suggests her “desire to cure her family” and do something for her mother.
The incestual relationship between Uncle Charlie and Young Charlie could represent a “marriage” among the family, as Uncle Charlie gives Charlie the ring as a gift. Upon his arrival, Charlie also reminisces with Charlie’s mom about their childhood. In this manner, Uncle Charlie takes over the role of Joe. Therefore throughout the film, Joe disappears, and “Charles strips his sister of her marital status and attempts to return to the world of their childhood.”
After Young Charlie realizes that her Uncle is the Merry Widow Murderer, her outlook towards Uncle Charlie changes and she becomes scared of him. However, in the beginning of the film, Young Charlie believes that the arrival of her uncle will save the family. When she becomes aware of the murders, her motivations change as she tries to get him to leave Santa Rosa.
McLaughlin, James. “All in the Family: Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt” in A Hitchcock Reader. 2nd ed. Wiley-Blackwell, 2009. pp. 145-155
In both films, Hitchcock utilizes a visual motif which appears to “frame” a character in a scene. These “frames” put more emphasis on them. In his films, these frames can include doorways, mirrors, and arches, where the character is placed inside.
In The Lodger, one of the first framed shots is the Lodger entering the house with Mrs. Bunting at the bottom of the staircase. The scene frames the Lodger in the doorway as he is about to enter. Novello is also slightly blurred, which insists that Novello is mysterious. This is echoed by the Lodger’s actions throughout the rest of the film, which allows the audience to believe that the Lodger is committing the murders. Another scene that uses this effect frames the Lodger in the window. This perspective seems to have been shot from outside of his room. When the Lodger is being chased towards the end of the film, his handcuffs get caught on the top of the fence, leaving him hanging from his wrists. This is shot from the viewpoint of the mob that is chasing him. The view frames Novello in between the bars of the fence. The framing emphasizes his guilt and adds suspense to the scene.
One of the framed shots includes the staircase scene that appears to trap Alice and the artist. Trapping the two characters within the staircases stresses the fact that the two are alone, which foreshadows the attempted rape that takes place after Alice and the artist arrive at the art studio. This scene in particular, was shot continuously, following the characters up the stairs in one shot. This further emphasizes the long walk up the staircase and stresses their moving away from the rest of the building and other people. The same framing technique takes place in the studio during the costume scene. Although Alice and the artist are in the same shot, they are separated from each other, which contrasts from the previous staircase scene. Even though the two are separated by the screen, the audience is put in suspense by the artist’s piano playing and singing. The unusualness of the artist’s playing presents the possibility of the barrier being crossed as Alice changes into the dress. The same technique is used during the chase scene in the British Museum. In this scene, the chase is framed by the hallways of the museum with artifacts on either side. When Tracy climbs up the rope in the museum, he is framed by a large Egyptian piece and an arch, which seem to emphasize his small size.