Yes, that’s right folks. Lady Gaga has a habit of referencing Hitchcock (not always in the best ways). For example, the song “Bad Romance”.
Let’s take a look at the lyrics:
I want your Psycho,
your Vertigo stick
Want you in my Rear Window,
baby you’re sick.
It’s a horrible, horrible reference to anal sex (much like Hitchcock tends to reference homosexuality in his films), You get the idea.
Now, let’s take a look at the video for “Born This Way”.
Does the opening track sound familiar? Well, it should. That is the theme from Vertigo. Not only that, but Gaga appears as an ethereal creature while also taking a distinctly human form (and others, but then again she can’t stick with one look), another possible reference to Hitchcock.
My focus of study was the collaboration of Alfred Hitchcock and Edith Head. Hitchcock is one of the most well known directors and Edith Head is the most celebrated costume designer in history. One of the subjects emphasized this semester was the importance of a healthy collaboration and it was obvious that the pair worked well together. They boasted a production of eleven films in their collaboration, more than any other costume designer Hitchcock worked with. In my paper I focus on how Edith Head worked with Hitchcock to use costumes as a plot device, to define femininity, and create the style of the Hitchcock heroine and their connection in their professional and personal relationships. Hitchcock trusted Head a great deal. He would be a fool not to — Head was the recipient of eight Academy Awards (nominated for 34) in a career spanning six decades while working on 1,131 films with primary design credits in over 350. The major sources for my research included Edith Head: The Life and times of Hollywood’s Celebrated Designer compiled by David Chierichetti and Edith Head’s Hollywood compiled by Paddy Calistro, both containing first hand accounts as told by Head about the process of working with Hitchcock. The paper spans the timeline of their collaboration, from the beginnings of Head’s career and how she came to work with Hitchcock and their final project together.
Though Hitchcock suspends disbelief in the Freudian theories, he does use Freudian psychoanalysis as a plot device and MacGuffin in Spellbound. “Psychoanalysis becomes a figure that Hitchcock employs to express his disapproval of certain kinds of attitudes and assumptions associated with its application, so as to bring out the real issues with which he is concerned.” (157)
The Oedipal complex comes into play to describe relations between characters. Constance quickly fills the role of the nurturing mother for Ballentine, and it soon goes from a motherly role to one of romance. Dr. Brulov can be seen as a father figure and during Ballentine’s session with him even tells him to refer to him as his father figure for the analysis. During the analysis, both Constance and Brulov can be seen watching over JB like parental figures. Other roles come into play: guilt for the dead father, Doctor Edwardes, and fear of the bad father, Doctor Murchison, who has the power to punish.
Through the film, John Ballantine’s motivations are are driven by guilt, going into Freud’s theory of repressed memory. Freud’s belief was that traumatic events, often events from childhood, are repressed by the unconscious mind and the trauma can be triggered by other events or imagery — in this case, the parallel line Ballantine views is a trigger for the memory of his brother’s death. JB’s trauma has caused amnesia, and we’re lead to believe that he is guilty of the murder of Edwards. Psychoanalysis later reveals the memory is actually from childhood and Ballantine is innocent of killing Edwardes.
Hyde, Thomas. “The Moral Universe of Hitchcock’s Spellbound.” In A Hitchcock Reader, Second Edition, 156–63. Blackwell Publishing, 2009.
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 Murder, Strangers on a Train, and several other works.
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.