A shot by shot analysis of a major scene in Hitchcocks Notorious

A shot by shot analysis of a major scene in Hitchcocks Notorious

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The 3rd Major Scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious

1.     The scene begins by fading in on the back of the silent man’s head (Cary Grant) in Alicia’s bungalow. Then the camera zooms out while sweeping right to give the first full shot and view of both of the main characters. They are shown seated at a table, with many empty bottles of liquor and glasses.

2.     Then a tight reverse over the shoulder shot of Devlin’s face (Cary Grant) is next. Devlin then proclaims: “There's one more drink left apiece. Shame about the ice.”

3.     Next the shot reverses again to another tight over the shoulder shot but of Alicia’s face this time. Where she asks a question about what Devlin says. Devlin then answers her question about the ice when the shot is still on Alicia.

4.     Now the shot reverses again to a tight shot of Devlin’s face over Alicia’s shoulder. He then asks Alicia a question: “Why do you like that song?”

5.     Then the shot reveres again to an over Devlin’s shoulder shot tight on Alicia’s face. She begins to smile and laugh. Then Alicia gets suddenly serious and says: “There’s nothing like a good love song to give you a good laugh.”

6.     The shot reverses again to a tight over the shoulder shot of Devlin’s face where he answers Alicia’s question.

7.     Immediately reverses again to a tight over the shoulder shot of Alicia’s face, where she is shown yawning with her hand over her mouth. Then Alicia asks: “It’s too stuffy in here isn’t it?” Devlin answers while the shot remains the same. Alicia leans in towards Devlin and asks him another question: “What about … we have a picnic?”

8.     The shot then reverses again to another tight over the shoulder shot of Devlin’s face. He then answers her question with a question.

9.     The shot reveres again to a tight but brief over the shoulder shot of Alicia’s face where she begins to stand up.

10.     Next the shot changes to a full shot of Devlin and Alicia where she continues to stand. The camera follows them up as they now both fully rise, thus revealing more than just there faces in over 9 shots. Alicia states that they should go outside, while Devlin has a drink in hand. She then asks if Devlin is going to finish his drink. Devlin says that he is and takes down the rest of the drink leaving only a few drops, as Alicia gazes into his eyes.

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Alicia then proclaims that Devlin is “… quite a boy.” She then takes the glass out of Devlin’s hand and finishes the last few drops. As she is finishing the drink, she is walking away from Devlin to the right as the camera follows her in stride, leaving Devlin out of frame. When the drink is finished Devlin catches up to her and walks on the screen from the left. Alicia then states that her car is outside and that they should go for a drive. After Devlin agrees to go for a ride, they start to walk a little more to the right. Devlin then asks; “What about your guests?”

11.     Immediately after Devlin says that the shot changes to a full shot of Hopkins passed out in a chair with Ethel on top of him. With the shot still on Hopkins and Ethel, Alicia proclaims that they will be alright.

12.     Then comes a full shot of Devlin (left) and Alicia (right). Alicia is stating that she wants to drive. She attempts to put down her drink but is obviously too intoxicated to even do that. Devlin takes the glass from her and puts it down properly. The camera then moves with them as they move towards the door. Devlin asks; “Don’t you need a coat?” Alicia proclaims that he will do just fine.

13.     The last shot in this sequence is outside the bungalow and shows the door opening. It is a full shot of Devlin and Alicia. Devlin closes the door behind them and begin to walk to the right as the camera moves right along with them. They stop at the end of the porch and the wind seems to be blowing fairly hard in Alicia’s hair. Devlin realizing that it is cold takes a large handkerchief and wraps it around Alicia’s bare midriff. He then makes sure its properly in place and begins to escort her off the porch. Screen then dissolves to the next scene.

     The setting in this scene is extremely important. It sets the very dark, romantic, and intimate mood and gives you your first actual dialogue between the main two characters. The romantic music in the background foreshadows the possibility of them getting together. Also the fact that Devlin’s comment on the music gets Alicia to laugh, shows that they are flirting with each other. The dim or dark lighting also makes this scene very intimate. The glass “prop” that they both drink out of is another symbol. It reveals that when Alicia can barely put the glass down, Devlin is attentive, kind, and intimate enough with her to take it out of her hand and place it on the table properly. Their “costumes” also set the mood. Devlin dressed in a nice suit, set to impress, while Alicia is wearing a dress that reveals some of her midriff, which is still proper yet sexy. This sets up the end of the scene when Devlin ties the handkerchief around Alicia’s midriff to keep her warm. This shows signs of intimacy, since he touches her while putting it on. The way that Alicia looks into Devlin’s eyes shows her also immediate love or at least interest in him. The tight over the shoulder shots that reverse back and forth show how close they are sitting from each other which create even more intimacy. The over the shoulder shots and every other shot in this scene are shot fairly tight which is another symbol for romance. This represents their closeness. Most of the shots use tight, closed framing but several are open framing allowing the characters to walk around a little to get the realistic impression of a real conversation. The composition of the scene is seamed flawlessly with the setting, background, music, character movement, and dialogue.
     The editing in this scene is simply perfect. Hitchcock’s use of crosscutting, tight, overt the shoulder, and straight shots give this scene an incredible smooth feel. The viewer of this scene almost feels that they identify or even more so, feel that they are in the scene themselves, imagining they are one of the characters. Hitchcock used constant tight crosscuts to give the scene some pattern and realism. Continuality is achieved through the tight cross cuts to give the scene a romantic and intimate feel. Hitchcock’s little use of jump cuts, dissolves, and fades in this scene also make it feel more like a real life conversation. His use of all these features is what makes other directors copy Hitchcock’s camera direction and realism even today.

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