Author Archives: mcassens

Pulp Fiction and Hitchcock

In Hitchcock’s famous slasher movie, Psycho, Marion Crane is shown driving in many scenes; this is also a famous motif Hitchcock uses in many of his other films. The driving in this film however, is more prominent because that is what takes her to the Bates Motel and leads to her death. In Pulp Fiction, Bruce Willis’s boxer Butch driving and stopping at the traffic lights after pulling off a big money swindle. That scene is very similar to when Marion takes the money and instead of going to the bank, like she tells her boss, she drives away with it. When both Bruce and Marion are at the stop light they see someone who knows they lied. It immediately makes them guilty and fearful of what is going to happen to them later.[/youtube]

This is a link to see Bruce and Marion in their escape scene next to each other to compare how similar they are.

Tracey Snelling, Woman on the Run, 2008

My assigned contemporary artist is Tracey Snelling. She is famous for her multimedia project exploring a fragmented narrative about a film noir heroine in Woman on the Run. Her exhibit transforms the Street Level Gallery at 21c Museum into another time and place through its video, photography, and 3-D story telling. Snelling takes inspiration through Hitchcock’s methods of creating suspense as well as motifs in some of his films. In her exhibit, it takes place in a motel, very similar to the setting in psycho. The main character, narrator is either a victim or a perpetrator, the audience is not sure until the end of the exhibit; the same thing happens in psycho. Marian Crane steals thousands of dollars, making her a thief and criminal, therefore making her the perpetrator, but after she is brutally murdered she is considered to be the victim. Hitchcock makes the audience wait and see to find out who she is until that scene. In Snelling’s exhibit there are a lot a shadows adding suspense and depth to a scene, also a sense of ambiguity. Snelling uses many more famous Hitchcockian tools in her contemporary art, but those are just a few main points having to do with this specific exhibit.

SnellingSnelling 2Snelling 3





Abstract of 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.

Freudian themes in Shadow of a Doubt

In Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt, Hitchcock uses Sigmund Freud’s Electra Complex, similar to the Oedipus complex but for a female, to explain the family dynamic. The oldest daughter, in this case, has a strange infatuation with her uncle instead of her father. Young Charlie was named after her mother’s favorite person, her little brother. Young Charlie ends up being a lot like her Uncle, for example, in their personalities, sense of humor, and their mannner physically. Their relationship is strangely close and uncomfortable for the audience to watch, because they are suppose to be the typical American family. Instead there is a sense of incest, which is against all social and ethical norms in society. In James McLaughlin’s article, “All in the Family”, in the book A Hitchcock Reader, he states that,” In Shadow of a Doubt, the family with its glow (its halo) may seem like a warm bath, but it all too readily becomes a swamp of frustrated yearnings, breeding demons of female emancipation whose ferocity it is barely able to contain. The representative American family, in short, is the true horror of the film.” This quotation perfectly sums up Hitchcock’s reasoning behind the uncomfortable family dynamic in the film.

Hitchcock’s loves of triangles

In both The Lodger and Blackmail, Hitchcock plays with the idea of love triangles. In The Lodger, there is a triangle between Daisy, Joe, and the mysterious Lodger. Before the Lodger is introduced in the story, Joe is trying to court Daisy, by attempting to win the affection from her as well as her parents. The lodger is then introduced in the film and Daisy needs to choose between the two.

Joe, Daisy, and the Lodger

Joe, Daisy, and the Lodger

Alice at Crewe's apartment

Alice at Crewe’s apartment


Because of this triangle, Joe mistakenly accuses the Lodger as being the “Avenger” because he wants to win Daisy’s hand. Joe eventually realizes his mistake and gives in to Daisy and the Lodger’s happiness.



In Blackmail, Hitchcock creates a love triangle between Alice, Crewe, and Frank. In the beginning, Frank and Alice are together in an unhappy and suffocating relationship. This forces Alice to seek attention else where, so she meets up with Crewe. He then attacks her. She’s gets away by using self-defense and kills him. This atrocity causes Alice to end up back in her unhappy relationship with Frank, which is her own personal prison. This film is different than The Lodger, because Alice does not get to make her own decision about who to be in a relationship with, but it still acts as a triangle.

This motif of triangles in relationships will be continued in many films directed later by Hitchcock. Triangles do not always have to be love triangles, but most of the time they are.