Alfred Hitchcock masters the art of storytelling, framing every shot carefully to help further the plot and develop characters. The techniques of visual storytelling that Hitchcock implements in his films are not just meant to entertain; they all serve specific purposes in building his fictional universes. Hitchcock establishes the personalities of his characters by showing exactly what the characters see and hear as well as their reactions to their surroundings. Along with point-of-view shots, Hitchcock employs montage editing, creating suspense and further allowing characters to be seen as multi-faceted beings.
Point-of-view shots are most apparent in Rear Window. The entirety of the film is shot from the perspective of L.B. Jefferies as he sits in his wheelchair day after day, immobile from his leg injury. The introductory scene itself is nothing but a series of point-of-view shots, moving left and right and up and down apartment rooms as Jefferies surveys the eccentric characters in his neighborhood before him. The limited setting not only makes the film more realistic in the sense that it only shows the surroundings that Jefferies can actually see from his wheelchair, but it also allows the audience to understand his frustration and boredom. Just like how Jefferies is immobile, viewers are also left feeling helpless as they too are forcefully limited to seeing the one neighborhood. This allows Jefferies to be characterized as a normal person who also experiences the monotony of daily life and is not impervious to curiosity and other temptations like meddling in the lives of others.
The scene in which Fremont sneaks into Thorwald’s apartment is another example of the effectiveness of point-of-view shots in developing chara...
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...who lost her life by picking the wrong motel to stay overnight, humanizing someone who had embezzled $40,000 from her employer. Of course embezzling money does not justify being murdered, but in reality, without this artfully executed scene, Crane might never have gained the sympathy and concern of viewers.
Hitchcock’s main talent that has allowed him to become such a successful filmmaker is being able to make the complex characters in his stories come to life onscreen. Point-of-view shots and montage editing both serve to create a better understanding of the characters themselves – their personalities, their values, their weaknesses and strengths. Without these techniques, viewers wouldn’t be invested in the characters long enough to wait and find out how they resolve their problems. Hitchcock has captivated audiences with his storytelling techniques and rightly so.
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