Category Archives: Silent to Sound

Triangles in Hitchcock

One of the reoccurring Hitchcock motifs is the use of the Triangle.  Not only as a plot point, but as a visual as well.  For example, in both The Lodger and Blackmail, there seems to be one central female character and two potential male love interests creating a love triangle. This is a very common theme told through several of Hitchcock’s films including Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Notorious, Rope, Dial M for MurderStrangers on a Train, and several other works.

triangle lodger 1

Daisy is involved in a love triangle with Joe and the Lodger.

Alice is involved in a love triangle with Frank and the artist, Mr. Crewe.

Hitchcock used quite a bit of imagery involving triangles between the two films as well.

 

The Lodger

 

Blackmail

 

Staircase Motif

After viewing The Lodger and Blackmail it is clear that Hitchcock has his own set of motifs that can be directly associated with Hitchcockian style. One of his most famous motifs that he’s already showcased in The Lodger and Blackmail is the staircase. Hitchcock uses the staircase in The Lodger as a way of showing the audience the different levels of society each character is in. While the lodger is from a higher social class he is upstairs, and Joe and Daisy’s family are downstairs, symbolizing them as the lower working class. The staircase is used to show how the lodger comes down from his class to find this woman and bring her back up with him. The staircase is also used in Blackmail when Hitchcock built a special set just so the audience could watch the two climb the stairs in suspense of what will happen next. The staircase is an important motif which shows a beginning to the Hitchcock style as a whole.

 

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