Alfred Hitchcock 's Cinematic Style Essay

Alfred Hitchcock 's Cinematic Style Essay

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Sir Alfred Hitchcock is recognised as one of the most pioneering and renowned directors in the history of cinema (Hockensmith A, 2012). His cinematic style that favours the use of suspense over surprise has become iconic and influential in modern film. Hitchcock’s early days as an assistant director at the UFA Babelsberg Studios in Berlin (German Expressionism, 2007), had a lasting impact on some of his later works produced in Hollywood. During Hitchcock’s time in Germany he became fascinated with German Expressionism. The film style, prevalent in the 1920s, arose from Germany’s post World War I experiences and largely reflects the dismal reality of life during the era and often invokes distorted and abstract images, as opposed to naturalism (Kevin, 2016). Hitchcock used these distinguishable techniques, such as the use of abstract sets, oblique camera angles and stark shadows and silhouettes to create suspense and instability in his own films. Psycho (1960) is undeniably Hitchcock’s greatest box office success and a landmark of suspense cinema. Infamous for its controversial scenes and twisted storyline, Psycho’s plot largely revolves around two central characters, Marion Crane, a young woman who uncharacteristically steals a large sum of money and is later murdered, by Norman Bates, a psychologically troubled man. Favouring the use of cinematography as apposed to other cinematic techniques to narrate a story, Psycho employs camera angles and montage editing as vital mechanisms to elicit an emotional response from the viewer.
Hitchcock uses contrasting angles to manipulate the mood of his scenes. This is best established during the ‘Parlour scene’, when a discussion between Marion Crane and Norman Bates becomes tense on the to...


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...ffective as the audience’s imagination is much stronger than anything that he could or was allowed to graphically depict on screen. Hitchcock’s employment of montage editing relies on what one brings to it as a viewer, as the audience always perceives the worst, which is what becomes so innately frightening.
Sir Alfred Hitchcock’s work as an auteur was grounded in the concept of film being first and foremost a visual medium, second to other methods of storytelling. Hitchcock employs camera angles and montage editing as vital mechanisms to elicit varying emotional responses from the viewer. This is evident throughout his extensive list of film credits and certainly, what is arguably his greatest film, Psycho. His unique cinematic approach to his films left an undeniable trademark, placing him deservedly amongst the greatest directors in the history of modern cinema.

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