Visual Motifs That Alfred Hitchcock Puts Into Research Paper
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visual motifs that Alfred Hitchcock puts into service to tell a film's story cinematically. The focus of the essay will be to discuss such visual motifs as they are to found both in Strangers on a Train and in North by Northwest. Also, we will examine how Hitchcock use editing, performance, doubling and camera movement to cinematically create both suspense and irony in these films. Additionally, we will consider if the films reviewers of the period noticed these Hitchcockian devices.
First we need to define visual motif and what it meant for Hitchcock as a part of his entire filmatic theme's vision. By looking at the films, it is obvious to this author that Hitchcock used film noir in his crime dramas, particularly those that emphasized cynical attitudes with sexual motivations and connotations. This is understandable as Hollywood's classic film noir period is generally seen as extending from the early 1940s to the late 1950s ("Filmsite"). This would make our essay's films probably the best populars examples of film noir, considering Hitchcock's notoriety. In the case of North by Northwest, we might be able to say it is the best and last of the classic period. Because of the film censors in Hitchcock's time, it is obvious that the sexual motifs and themes were there, although sub-rosa. He had to get them past the censors by suggestion, rather than outright showing of the naughty bits.
Film critic Richard Dyer sees this in Strangers on a Train, even to the point of revealing tinges of homosexuality. He sees this in the scene and comments that "Guy is going to tell Bruno's father what a psychopathic son he's got, down corridors, up stairs, past dog, dead of night -- only to find himself talking to Bruno (Dyer)." Basically relationship between Guy and Bruno is a black, twisted cynical relationship based on misunderstanding and perceived convenience. The relationship is hidden in the closet, much as homosexuality is.
North by Northwest may not exhibit this as well because of its lighter, almost comedic nature. However, the sexual chemistry is definitely there with the door swinging both ways in a frightening manner. For instance, in the movie, there are suggestions that the evil right-hand man Leonard may be a homosexual. When first introduced, Vandamm says to him "Ah Leonard, have you met our distinguished guest?" To which Leonard replies "He's a well-tailored one, isn't he?" Also, Vandamm asks Leonard's opinion of Roger Thornhill and all he remarks upon is the fashionable wardrobe.
Frequently, one can have a hay day psychoanalyzing Hitchcock movies posthumously in scholarly journals. The miracle of the Internet is that we can actually have interviews with important theatrical figures. To analyze how Hitchcock used editing, performance, doubling and camera movement to cinematically create both suspense and irony in…
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