Notorious is a movie that was filmed not long after Hitchcock’s mothers passing. It was one of the first times that he delved into the mother figure and this one was particularly dark. Madame Sebastian is the mother of a Nazi, Alex, who despite his situation is actually quite a sympathetic character. When we first meet this mother at a dinner party she is very stern and carries a certain level of control over her son. Alex is lovesick over an old romance while the mother is much more concerned about larger happenings. She is suspicious of this new woman’s intentions, but Alex dismisses her aversion as jealousy. In many ways, Madame Sebastian was right. Her son was blinded by love and taken advantage of by Al...
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...of the Oedipus complex and psychology and it made for a great cerebral thriller.
In the end, the reoccurring Hitchcock mother theme seems mostly to explain the motives of a character and a way to question where blame should lie. This theme of guilt of used commonly in his works and the guilt in these three films seem to lie in the mothers’ hands, but it is not completely clear. It creates interesting discussion such as the likability of Alex Sebastian, the innocence of Norman Bates, and the culpability of Lydia Brenner. Hitchcock depicted violence because it makes the audience uncomfortable. There are many innocent female characters such as Alicia Huberman, Marion Crane, Annie Hayworth, and Melanie Daniels who are victims of violence. Hitchcock does not depict violence against women for misogyny, but to create suspense when a sympathetic character comes under attack.
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