There are three key scenes that best exemplify Hitchcock’s technical competence. After Alicia’s party and run in with the police, she is shown lying in bed with a hangover. We see a close up of a concoction Devlin made Alicia for hangovers. The next shot is a Dutch angle of Devlin, arms crossed and in shadow. Alicia drinks more of the concoction and camera’s perspective is in Alicia’s point of view. The Dutch angle slanted to the right rotates clockwise to an upside down shot of Devlin because Alicia is lying upside down on the bed. Coincidently, after the elaborate camera work, Alicia sits up and says, “What’s this all about? What’s your angle?”. Hitchcock’s technical competence in this scene is a testament to his authorship.
There are two other scenes that exemplify Hitchcock’s technical competence and ability to connect his vision with the film’s subject matter. A turning part of the film is when Alex realizes he has married an enemy to the Nazi party. He drudges up the staircase, a central facet of a Hitchcock film, to break the news to his mother. Alex, sitting in a chair, delivers the line “I am married to an American agent”. The image of Alex is an overhead close up shot in low-key lighting. This scene denotes a shift in Alex’s character. He is no longer trusting of Alicia because now she poses a threat to his façade for the Nazis.
In the third scene, the camera assumes Alicia’s point-of-view upon discovering her husband and stepmother have poisoned her. Alicia leaps from her chair and...
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...ousy, just as you’ve always been jealous of any woman I’ve ever shown interest in,” complains Alex to his mother. It is Alex’s mother who conceives the idea to potion Alicia and it is his mother with whom he argues for the keys to the closets.
The parallel between Alicia’s dependence on Devlin and Alex’s on his mother is prominent in the final scene. The scene takes place on the grand staircase of Alex’s mansion. Influenced by German Expressionism, stairs serve an integral role in this and subsequent films. Alicia, propped up by Devlin, and Alex, shadowed by his over-bearing mother, all descend the grand staircase in the mansion under the eyes of the Nazi party. Outside of the house, Alicia and Devlin make their escape to freedom while Alex reluctantly returns up the stairs to his fate with the Nazis. Ending the film on the stairs attests to Hitchcock’s style.
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