Category Archives: Student Projects

Notorious

This 1946 film was wonderfully constructed by Alfred Hitchcock’s cinematography. This paper explains the different camera shots used in the film with descriptions of the scene when it was taken place. I decided to talk about the tracking shot, medium shot, close up shots and orbital shots that are in the film. Using different camera shots in a film allows the film to display unique aspects. Hitchcock’s use of camera angles gives the film his Hitchcockian style. This film is known to have the best camera angles in all of Hitchcock’s films. Hitchcock even made is own platform to allow the camera to slowly creep down onto Alicia’s hand where she is holding the key, to get a certain shot for one scene. Behind every camera shot that is displayed in the film there is almost always a hidden message. For example the scene with the tracking shot of the cup of coffee being carried over to Alicia made it clear that the coffee contains poison and that Sebastian and his mother are trying to kill Alicia. Hitchcock’s use of cinematography in Notorious is one the best throughout all of his films.

Abstract of Rebecca

Rebecca

This film of was created by Alfred Hitchcock and David O. Selznick in 1940. This film is based off of the novel, Rebecca, by Daphne de Maurier. De Maurier wrote a very progressive and radical novel inferring to homosexual relations between two women, Rebecca and Mrs. Danvers; as well as Mr. de Winter’s secret of his inability to be intimate with his wife being of his sexual orientation. David O. Selznick, the producer,  wanted to keep their film adaptation of the novel as close to the original story as possible; making the film very sexual and progressive for the time frame. Hitchcock did not want to direct the film like the novel, he believed his films were better when he deviated from the original story. However, he had to listen to Selznick’s input on the film because Hitchcock was under contract with him. After Rebecca was released, people claimed it was not a “Hitchcock picture”. It did not have any of his crude sense of humor or many of his motifs that appear in other Hitchcock films. My paper is on Hitchcock’s relationship with David O. Selznick as well as their adaption of the film and the sexual and progressive tendencies taken from the original story.

Hitchcock’s Torn Curtain

Torn Curtain was a spy thriller made in 1966. My paper is analyzes why this film was mediocre in the climax of Hitchcock’s career. His intentions of homosexuality, morbid motifs, and disregard of collaborator’s all made the movie substandard. During this era, audiences were already paranoid about the Cold War and Hitchcock allowed the outlet of movie going to enhance the audiences’ paranoia even further. Also, the Gromek murder scene, supposedly the best scene in the film, was too grotesque for the viewers to watch since it was very realistic. The motifs in the film imply that America is in a dark place and preparing for nuclear war. Moreover this makes the audience feel uncomfortable while watching the film. In addition, the cameo could also instill fear in the audience since it is meant to portray that Gromek, a spy, is watching the American’s, and sending American intelligence back across the Iron Curtain. Lastly, Hitchcock’s failed relationship with collaborators was his main downfall. The score from Bernard Herrmann was spectacular compared to that of John Addison’s and Hitchcock would not accept help from other collaborators who wanted to help him when things were going downhill, like John Michael Hayes. Ultimately, the substandardness of Torn Curtain was the dramatic turning point of Hitchcock’s career because of the hidden messages of homosexuality, motifs, and his use of collaborators.

Hitchcock’s “Rope”

Alfred Hitchcock uses an expert technique and theme of homosexuality to create Rope, a masterpiece that survives as part of his great legacy. Rope, filmed in 1948, has been widely analyzed throughout the decades as a unique piece of work, in both good and bad ways. The narrative itself, with its strong homosexual components, is unique piece of work. Hitchcock used many new techniques to create this film including Technicolor and “real time.” Hitchcock referred to the film as one of his “most exciting” pictures to design and bring to life. Rope is an exceptionally unique film that presented many challenges to the director, most notably the limited set design of the apartment. In the critical analysis paper I hope to analyze the techniques that Hitchcock used to make the film, and the underlying ideas of homosexuality at the time. By looking at theses two key aspects of the film, I hope to be able to take a fresh look from a different perspective into the mastermind of Hitchcock himself. The paper argues that Rope, even though it was received poorly at the time, is now recognized as one of Hitchcock’s greatest creations.

Rope

Rope contains many elements that are now referred to as the “Hitchcockian” style. Hitchcock is famously the master of suspense, but there are many other little traits he places in each of his films that make it recognizably a Hitchcock film. This paper shows how Rope is a Hitchcockian film by explaining Hitchcock’s repetition throughout his work. In Rope there are three main characteristics that scream Hitchcock when you watch the film: the visual effects, reoccurring themes, and Hitchcock’s special ability to control his audience. The visual effects can be shown by the fact that this was Hitchcock’s first attempt with a color film, allowing him to emphasize things he wouldn’t have been able to in previous movies. For example, the transition from day to night is very significant to the plot and that effect wouldn’t have been the same in black and white. Rope is famous for its theme of homosexuality, which Hitchcock had a way of sneaking in to a lot of his films since it wasn’t acceptable at the time. And finally, Hitchcock’s control over his audience. In Rope Hitchcock takes over the audience in sneaky ways, such as having us hope no one looks in the wooden chest when we know what has happened is wrong.

MARNIE

Hitchcock’s film Marnie from 1964 was criticized at the time of its release as being a poorly made picture however, the cinematographic style represents numerous themes that Hitchcock tried to display.  This paper argues that the cinematography, narrative themes, and artistic purpose reveal the true meaning behind this film while also showing a connection to society through the dynamics of each character.  The film contains motifs that Hitchcock has continued to use in other films such as the use of color as a symbol.  Exploring the red suffusions in the screen and the painted backdrops that Hitchcock uses will reveal the purpose behind the film.  The film Marnie is now praised for the subtle Hitchcockian themes and obvious clumsy technique that displays Marnie’s character artistically.  Hitchcock incorporates many motifs in the film such as the familiar driving scenes, wide shots, close-ups, and musical compositions that hurt your ears while also adding old techniques to enhance the unrealistic nature of Marnie’s perspective.  The paper will also go into Hitchcock’s purpose behind creating a film that develops the characters through their interactions while also spanning the relative time in the movie to represent a whole week.  The paper concentrates on the characters and Hitchcock’s artistic purpose in the film to display connections in society.

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.

 

 

 

 

The Significance of Notorious Abstract

Hitchcock’s 1946 film Notorious is a stand out amongst the famous director’s numerous films. Though he made many other films that are arguably some of his best, this one stands as one of his more perfect, in terms of the actors cast to play the roles, cinematography, story, and so much more. I am pointing out three elements to this movie that influenced audiences at the time of its release and in the present, and influenced how Hitchcock made his other films from then on. His cinematography and the way he trumped production codes at the time truly revolutionized the way directing was approached as an art; his utilization of war-time sentiments and politics enabled Hitchcock to invite audience sentiment and personal investment in the movie – utilization of such personal topics such as patriotism is something he continues to use in his later films; apparent in this film is also his usage of strong female characters – films after this one began to churn out stronger females as a result of this bar-setting lead character in Notorious. All three of these factors all come together to make this film a standard for all other films to come.

The Trouble With Harry (1954)

Renowned Hitchcock critic Robin Wood described The Trouble With Harry as “the only truly Hitchcockian comedy.” Unfortunately, Hitchcock’s guilty pleasure film failed in both American and British box offices at the time of its release. Many critics believe its failure was caused by the bizarre humor Hitchcock used in the film. He had thought, having used a more British-centric comedic style, UK audiences would gravitate towards the film, and that this in turn would help to open up American audiences to a different type of “funny.” The other aspect of the film which could have turned audiences away was the dreamy quality the film was shot in, which is an effect developed by one of Hitchcock’s favorite cinematographers, Robert Burks. Burks helped to give the desired effect of a surrealist dream, which Hitchcock had used before, most memorably in Spellbound. While this film has some strange characteristics, 60 years later it is considered a Hitchcock oddity that is a must-see for true Hitchcock fans. After collecting dust for several decades, The Trouble With Harry has finally started to receive the fame it deserves as the one and only Hitchcockian comedy.

Word count: 189

Wood, Robin. “Male Desire, Male Anxiety: The Essential Hitchcock.” In A Hitchcock Reader, edited by Marshall Deutelbaum and Leland Poague, 223. 2nd ed. Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1986.

Hitchcock’s Rope

Hitchcock’s Rope was a forward thinking project for its unique use of the long take film technique throughout the entire film, as well as its taboo themes of homosexuality and the funniness of murder. Hitchcock referred to this film as an experimental “stunt,” and it received poor initial reviews from critics and audiences. However, these criticisms resulted from the fact that the movie itself was too far ahead if its time, and upon it’s rerelease in 1983, the film grew in stature as one of Hitchcock’s acclaimed films. The long take method was very tedious for Hitchcock, and this may have contributed to his overall dissatisfaction with the film. In order to shoot the movie, Hitchcock had to wheel the camera around on a specially designed dolly, which was even more difficult because this was Hitchcock’s first Technicolor film, and the camera was humongous. actors and actresses also had difficulty because they had to practice for weeks, and if they messed up eight minutes into the film then they had to start over. However, this film method ultimately creates a tense atmosphere in the movie because it feels drawn out. Audiences and critics failed to realize this importance of Hitchcock’s directorial vision.