Movie Analysis : The Movie ' Notorious ' And ' The Birds ' Essay

Movie Analysis : The Movie ' Notorious ' And ' The Birds ' Essay

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In nearly all of Hitchcock’s films, behind many male characters lies a strong mother figure. In keeping with Freudian psychology, the mother plays an important role in our understanding of the characters. During his career, Hitchcock’s own mother had passed away and many critics speculate that he crafted these mothers to express those repressed emotions. Three films with particularly interesting mother characters include Notorious, Pyscho, and The Birds. Each have a very unique backstory but remain a central part of the movie’s storyline and our understanding of the son. In Notorious, Madame Sebastian is a vicious and controlling mother figure. Pyscho features a mother that controls half of Norman’s mind, and The Birds displays a mother with a strong attachment to her son. These mothers all effect our understanding the characters they have influence over and spark debate over who is truly responsible for one’s actions. They also provide some insight into the accusations of Hitchcock’s perceived misogyny in many of these films.
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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