How Hitchcock Challenges Audience Expectations in his Film Psycho

How Hitchcock Challenges Audience Expectations in his Film Psycho

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How Hitchcock Challenges Audience Expectations in his Film Psycho

Hitchcock does very well in his film with censorship of film making in
the nineteen fifties as he goes right to the limits of were the film
is just suitable to show the nation. He does this many times in his
film, one example is where Marian gets undressed and dressed. You see
her bra and knickers in this scene, which is very unusual back then,
it is worse than seeing nudity in films now. If Marian had taken any
think else off in this scene it would have been explicit nudity,
therefore not be able to be shown in the film. This is what I mean by
how Hitchcock takes censorship to the limit.

Some other censorship themes that Hitchcock took to the boundary was
expressive kissing, swearing and brutality. Hitchcock went as far as
possible with censorship to grip the audience and get more of a feel
to the film. Psycho is a fifteen in England to buy on video these days
because the censorship now is nothing compared to back when the film
was made, a director can do basically anything now. The audience now
would say it should be a twelve or lower as there is no swearing or
sexual scenes and not that much brutality and parents would not mind
their children seeing this. The scenes are still scary to the audience
though and it would take quite an intelligent twelve year old to wrap
their head round what is about and how it develops at the end.

The editing in psycho is great and must have taken a week to do just
one scene. It is very good for the scene and for the audience as it
builds tension and creates an atmosphere. The best scene to show this
as an example is the famous shower scene where Marian is murdered,
whilst having a shower, by Norman dressed as his mother with a knife.
There was seventy-eight separate camera set ups needed for the shower
scene from the shower head, down the toilet, from the mirror, Marians

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view, Normans view, the walls of the shower, the plug whole, from the
door e.t.c. This is very effective for the audience as the tension
mounts going from one shot to another very rapidly with the music on.
After the seventy eight camera set ups were filmed, the editor had to
edit them leading up to hundreds of shots in the five minute scene.

Hitchcock uses a lot of irony in Psycho in clever ways. Irony in
psycho creates tension, wonder and laughter as the audience knows what
is going to happen and why the actors are saying what they are saying.
Hitchcock gives his audience hints in his irony of what is going to
happen in the film e.g Traffic cops says to marian

" There are plenty of motels in the area… I mean… just to be safe"

This is great irony because later in the film she does goes to a motel
and dies there. It was a hint left by Hitchcock of what is going to
happen, it creates tension and is funny because it is so ironic that
she does actually die.

Alfred Hitchcock miss-en-scene a lot but is hard to do as it needs
deep thought as to what he is going to put in the scene to be ironic.
The audience sees an example of this at the beginning of the film
where her boss to take to the bank hands her over cash. In the
background is a picture of a desert on the wall when it could be
anything else. Hitchcock puts a desert in the picture to be ironic as
in the end she is lifeless like a desert, goes to a deserted motel,
she is isolated there like a desert e.t.c. It is very crafty but very
well done; if the audience spots this picture whilst watching the film
it leaves you in suspense, wonder and a great effect.

In Psycho motifs are made important as it reveals detail about the
characters, emphasises strategic parts of the film and gives the film
a cyclical rhythm. Mirror reflections are a common motif in Psycho.
Marion sees herself in the mirror as she packs her bags, then she cant
look at herself in the bathroom mirror when she buys a car with stolen
money. This is a good motif as it reveals detail about Marion,
emphasises that it is stolen money and she is worried. There are other
motifs during the film, which are checking into the motel (Marion,
Lila and Sam) and Marion packing and unpacking her bags. This gives
the film a good cyclical rhythm.

Hitchcock though up many ways of which to promote Psycho, word of
mouth and advertisements mainly. Hitchcock being, known as master of
publicity had no problems advertising it. He used many techniques to
promote Psycho such as film posters (not of murders of Marion in her
underwear). Hitchcock asked people not to reveal the ending of the
film. He made a six minute advert where Hitchcock walked through
Norman bates house describing the film vaguely. He only let people
sees the film once and if they wanted to see it again they had to pay
again which was extraordinarily rare back then. It was important
Hitchcock did this for the films profits and viewers because the
audience were all in suspense; the film poster affected the audience
because a woman in underwear attracted all the men. People must have
thought it had to be good if there was a six-minute trailer the film
could afford. All this helped huge crowds flock to see Psycho in the
cinemas and all his advertisement ideas were a great success.
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