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.

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