Feed on

Alfred Hitchcock’s dramatic thriller “Psycho” came out in 1960 and was originally a box office flop. The now critically acclaimed classic was produced by Hitchcock himself and Paramount Studios. The film is a classic Alfred Hitchcock one with all of the elements that they contain. It is full of suspense, has something dark beneath the superficial surface, has a sort of dark humor, a heavily psychiatric plot, a lot of sexuality, and is full of long takes. The movie also contained a strange look on women. Hitchcock had a weird relationship with women and showed this in the film. This crazed mother loving killer is obsessed with the idea of looking in on someone. He peeps in on Marion Cranes’ character very often throughout the film with a male gaze like a fly on the wall as a voyeur. Through formal elements like lighting, editing, cinematography, mise-en scene, music and costumes Alfred Hitchcock shows how fragile the human mind can be, and how murders aren’t just cold hearted psychos but that they can have fragile minds with thoughts that ought to be studied.

The final scene of “Psycho” is the most important scene in my opinion. The scene starts off with cops waiting outside the chiefs offices anticipating the news on the psycho killer Norman Bates, played by Anthony Perkins. This psycho killer is suspected of killing innocent Marion Crane, played by Janet Leigh, and Det. Milton Arbogast, played by Martin Balsam. The scene then goes into the chief’s office where everyone including Marion’s sister and lover are awaiting the news while a psychiatrist walks in. The psychiatrist explains the fragile state of Norman’s psyche. He explains how as a child Norman’s mother sole handedly raised him and then met a man who Norman thought she put before him. Norman, crazed, poisoned them both and then couldn’t live with what he did to his mother. He stole her corpse and preserved it and lived with both personalities, his own and his mothers. Each day Norman lived having conversations with himself and living as both personalities, he could be fully his mother or half and half but never truly Norman. Telling his story to the psychiatrist as only his mother’s personality he explained that when Norman was physically attracted to a woman she must kill her for jealousy. Norman then would switch personalities and cover his mother’s tracks. After the psychiatrist tells the story, the shot goes to the hallway where a cop is bringing Norman, or what is now his mother, a blanket a female voice answers back “Thank You”. Then there is a shot of Norman going crazy with his mother’s voice in his head saying how she had to give up her own son who was crazy from the start.

In each shot of this scene Hitchcock uses low lighting to present a cold, office feel to the shot. There is a large use of cutting in this film that gives a feel of different perspectives. The cinematography used outside the office really gives a foreshadowing event that the audience is at the edge of their seat wondering what is going on inside the office. The silence makes you anticipate what is going to happen even more as you continue to sweat. In the office the mise-en-scene comes into effect because everyone is sitting and the psychiatrist is standing, showing his important role in this conviction and case. At the end of the scene the camera slowly gets close up to Norman sitting in an empty room going crazy. As he hears his mother’s voice speaking about how she had to turn her own son in and how she was going to show the cops how innocent she was, Normans face slowly becomes a smile. Over this creepy smile is a super imposed shot of his mother’s dead skull over his face. Showing they are one, this editing was so effective at showing how fragile Norman really was.

Hitchcock was a big fan of fellow director Fritz Lang, and his film “M” from the 1930s. This film was based on a child killer and how his reasoning was not just because he was sick but that he had psychiatric issues. Inspired by this, Hitchcock returned to this idea and explored it further. The film started out to be seen as a cheap thriller and the audiences did not like it. The studios did not want to produce it for it was very scandalous for the time. Not only was the subject matter very risqué but also Janet Leigh’s bra is often exposed. Hitchcock even had to pay half of the production costs along with Paramount because it was far too chancy to put all that money in. It was bound to be a flop. Only the French fully embraced the film until later when the U.S. did. Hitchcock’s film did not get great praise until more recently and now the film is known as a true classic ground braking film which gave birth to many things in thriller genre.

This scene was great at wrapping up the amazing thriller “Psycho”. It gives an explanation to the shocking events that take place throughout the film. The scene sheds light on the mind of a killer who had severe women issues. The film was ground breaking for its time and a really incredible story. Through this scene the audience is finally able to break down the psychological issues going on behind this psycho killer.

For starters I have changed my mind, this was the best movie we have watched! Although I did not find it as spooky as a lot of people did, I still completely loved it! The way the camera filmed a woman’s body so sensually with the perversion of being a voyeur was so perfect for the film and something completely ahead of its time. The way sexuality was brought in such a subtle way was so great compared to films now a days where absolutely everything is about sex and n9thing is left to the imagination. At this time showing a bra was completely unreal what happened to that?

I understand how the film was not completely accepted by America at the time, and why the studios did not want to fully produce the film. I think that now people can appreciate the film for being so incredible. It was so ahead of its time story line wise, affects wise and sexually. The film completely shocked me because I was afraid I would think that it was overated.

My absolute favorite part was the end, which is why i picked it for my film analysis. I loved the way the film didn’t just pin the bad guy for his crime but really got into his reasoning behind it and his psyche. The film channeled Fritz Lang’s “M” and gave light to why people commit the crimes they do. In this case insanity and jealousy of his mothers attention. The end scene with the super imposing on the killers face was amazing and completely technically advanced for its time. I absolutely loved how his mothers face and his became one it looked so good! Watching this film really made me realize what a genius Alfred Hitchcock is and how his film truly influenced so many horror films since. I see so many Hitchcock things in other films its insane!

Well for starters, HELLO COLOR! It was really refreshing to finally watch a film with color which was fabulous! In fact this film has become my favorite we have watched. The melodrama which was really interesting and full of really amazing characters.

The film which was a wide-screen composition was full of things that were really artificial.  For starters although the film introduced color to the class, the colors were outlandish! Really bright and unrealistic, they practically hurt my eyes, the bright yellows and purples. The emotions were also a bit unrealistic and over dramatic but that’s classic to melodramas. The whole film was full of excess between the emotions and everything you see visually, it was just all too much, but in a good way!

My favorite thing in this film was the idea of masculinity in crisis, which is refreshing since almost every film shows a damsel in distress. In class we debated on where our sympathies lie. Unlike the class my sympathies lied with the protagonist. Although his character isn’t the most interesting everyone seems to be out to get him. His best friend wants to kill him, while he didn’t touch the love of his life because of him. A girl in love with him wants to pin him for murder. All the while he stays polite and always comes to the rescue of everyone! I loved his character and I think his character made me love the film even more than I originally did!

This film was not only frighteningly realistic but really good for its time as far as the special affects went. The way that Don Seigel really played with a physiological plot of the whole “I’m not crazy…but am I” plot was so in depth and interesting and realistic. Although the story matter was uncanny and completely bazaar it did give a feel of something familiar becoming unfamiliar like your mother is no longer your mother but an evil creature alien that came out of a pod.

I think that the super scope wide-screen which was anamorphic by RKO was really good because it was very advanced for it’s time and I really enjoyed the wide-screen look in this film. I liked the way Seigel played with the idea of marriage and going to Reno to get a divorce I thought he really made you think of the importance of marriage or in fact lack there of. I disagree with that but it seemed to be his thought or motive on having the two main characters divorced.

Personally, I disliked the addition of the new ending. I think that the film would have been a lot more suspenseful if the director had left it off with the main character standing in the middle of the street with no hope, instead of him going to a doctors office and explaining what is going on.

I really enjoyed the suspenseful feeling of the movie as a whole though. The music, which was fabulously done by Carmin Dragon, the oblique angles and the way the camera shifted from everyday life all added to the suspense of the film which was fabulous.

Overall I loved the film, and was really happy we watched it in class.

Last week in class we watched a Japanese film from 1951. It was called “Early Summer” and it was directed by Yasujiro Ozu and it was written by Ozu himself along with Kogo Noda. When the film had finished everyone seemed as though they hadn’t quite enjoyed the film for it was a much slower paced realistic film, although I felt the exact opposite. Upon hearing we were going to be doing a Japanese film this week, I wasn’t exactly excited because a lot of the times I don’t like foreign films. “Early Summer” though ended up being my all time favorite movie we watched so far in class.

Ozu directed this film in a very different way than most of the films we have watched directed by other directors. Ozu used very low angle shots which made the audience really feel like they were on the same level as the characters and alongside them. This shooting style really made the film realistic. Also the fact that Ozu used a stationary camera where there was not much movement with added to the realistic feel of the movie, because the action moved around the camera. I also really liked the use of off-screen space because even though not everything happened on screen, the audience truly knew what was going on off screen.

I really enjoyed this film because it was so beautiful shot, everything felt so stunning. The Japanese culture for me is just quite interesting and everything and everybody feels so unbelievable coy and striking. The use of “pillow shots” really added to the attractive scenes because they really were lyrical and poetic. I also enjoyed Ozu’s classic choice of topic, with a family drama that showed the real relationships of a family and not just merely a facade. The relationships between all the characters were far from boring and the little boys really stole the show in my opinion! Ozu likes to study and show us what it means to be human and have a film without drama, and this one was a good example of that. Although it wasn’t the fastest film and it didn’t have that much action I truly loved it!

The screwball comedy from director Preston Sturges “The Lady Eve” was produced in1941 by Paramount studios. One of the very first scenes that begins the whole movie is where Jean and her father scope out Charles Pike, an ale arrest, for their latest gambling scam aboard a high class cruise ship. They are not the only ones scoping him out though in this scene, every woman on the cruise ship seems to have their eyes on him. Sturges uses formal elements like color, editing, cinematography, mise-en-scene, and music to set the scene to portray the characters intentions that go on throughout the whole film. The theme of the film is honesty, and threw this scene you are able to see that Jean’s intentions with Charles might not be the most innocent. The comedy in this scene allows the audience to not think about what was going on at that time which was the end of the great depression. The viewers are able to escape into a hilarious movie and away from the harsh realities of the economy.

The framing of the scene is a mixture of medium close up shots and long shots. The cinematography of the scene shows were the focus is, whether it be on the whole shot or just a specific thing, like Jean or the book that Charles is reading throughout the scene that has a lot of meaning since it is called “Are Snakes Necessary” by Hugo Marzintz, and Jeans character is portrayed as a sly snake. The color of the scene shows the personalities of the characters and the feel of the cruise. Almost everyone on the cruise wears white and light colors even Charles is wearing a white suite; everyone is so proper and innocent looking while Jean and her father are in black which relates to her attitude throughout the whole movie, always up to no good. Editing is used in a very different way in which one scene is edited into another, in the form of a mirror. It shows how Jean has been watching Charles and that her tripping him wasn’t an accident but merely a ploy to get him interested. Mise-en-scene is used very well because the things that are placed in each shot have a reason for being there and represent something most of the time. Music is placed to set the scene and show the high class, classical feels of the cruise ship, it even continues to play after the loud crash of Charles falling and hitting into a waiter. The scene is really revealing of Jean’s dishonesty and what seems to be bad intentions. All the elements show her slyness and his naivety. All of this points to what’s to come which is her pulling the wool over his eyes but yet still winning his heart in the end.

The historical context of this film really explains a lot about it. In the early 1940s the Great Depression was coming to an end and everyone was still feeling the devastation. Due to these horrible conditions, the film industry still thrived for it was a fairly cheap indulgence, often offered incentives to come, and showed multiple movies or continuous ones. Movies also were being made faster and cheaper. Going to the theatre was a cheap way to get away, and escape into a world of happiness and humor, which is why there was a good market for screwball comedies much like this one. Also at this time, movies began being censored; directors had to follow The Hays Office Production Code of 1930. Many things were seen as obscene like sexual innuendos, a lot of skin, cursing, etc. All of this influenced the movie, which was funny and risky for the audience but yet modest enough to please the industry.

The scene was very telling about what is to come in “The Lady Eve.” It shows the nature of all the characters and the comedy of the movie in general. The whole film is about the line between being honest and dishonest. The scene shows that Jean is scheming from the start and isn’t too honest with Charles. This stays constant throughout the film, as does the comedy level. The film as a whole really was reminiscent of it’s time as there was a large market for films like this. The story line develops and becomes a little complicated and convoluted but this scene really sets the whole mood and feeling of the film.

This week in History of Cinema, we watched a film from the 1930s called ‘M.’ It was a film from Germany, with English Subtitles, about a man who was mentally unstable. This instability drove him to the crimes he commited of kidnapping and killing little girls.

This film embodied a lot of the techniques that Prof. Herzog explained earlier on in class. The director Fritz Lang, who lived between the years of 1890-1976, created a film that was not only visually engaging and plot wise interesting, but also very brilliant full of all kinds of editing and sound techniques.

Lang used techniques like sound bridge, parallel action, and off screen space to develop the story line. He used sound bridge, sounds bleeding from one scene to the previous one or preceding one, in the scene where the news boys were running down the street screaming “EXTRA! EXTRA!” The screen is black for a while and you just hearing them screaming, kind of foreshadowing something coming, that something was the boys telling the neighborhood the news of the latest killing. This was a dramatic effect that worked very effectively. Lang used parallel action, editing two different clips together to create a relationship, by putting the crime bosses on the phone with each other. The guys were talking about looking for the murderer explaining how all of the best men were on the case meanwhile they shoot to a clip of the guys sitting around drinking and smoking cigarettes to show what was really happening and for comedic relief. He also used off screen space to imply what was going on and not necessarily shoot the whole thing but yet the audience got what was going on. All and all i think it was a very good movie for its time, shot well and although it was quite slow i enjoyed it and took it as a good example of cinematography.

Hey Everyone =]

Hi, My name is Carlene Faith and I am a freshman at Queens College and I am a Elementary  Education major as well as a Media Studies major. I am really looking forward to this Media Studies class, the movies were going to watch and all the lessons were going to learn about Cinema

Spam prevention powered by Akismet

Skip to toolbar