Alfred Hitchcock was a brilliant technician who blended sex, suspense and humor. Hitchcock directed more than fifty feature films in a career spanning six decades. He remains one of the most popular and most recognized filmmakers, and his works are still popular today. Hitchcock was able to master not only the art of the film making but also the art of the psychological thriller. Hitchcock trademark techniques that made his film classics today include “Emotion”, “The Camera is not a Camera”, “Dialogue is not everything”, and “Suspense is Information”.
Four of his recognizable films; Dial M for Murder, Rear Window, Vertigo and North by Northwest demonstrates the techniques of a typical Hitchcock film. EMOTION Hitchcock believed that emotion that comes from the eyes of the actors, he used close up shots of actor’s eyes which intensified the emotion, the farther away the less intense. By using this technique he’s not only able to show the actors feelings but also control the audiences’.
In the movie Vertigo we see Hitchcock’s “Emotion” technique as Scott runs after Judy into the church towers, audiences sees his fear as he chases after Judy, another of Hitchcock’s technique that he used to intensify the situation was by the spiraling of the stairs, the stairs becomes farther and farther as Scott continues chasing after Judy giving audiences a sense of danger. The camera zooms in for a close up of Scott’s face as we see a mixed of anger and disbelief after witnessing a suicide. Vertigo demonstrated Hitchcock’s emotion technique through Scott’s fear of heights and his theory of proximity.
Another movie review: Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer.
THE CAMERA IS NOT A CAMERA Another one of Hitchcock’s famous trademark techniques is “The camera is not a camera”, for this technique Hitchcock uses the camera and gives it human qualities like allowing it to roam and lets it go freely. By doing this Hitchcock lets audiences experience the story. In the beginning of the movie Rear Window, the camera is always at a constant pace with James. During the whole time all the audiences get are point of view shots of James looking out the window and around the room giving the audience a little more understanding of the story.
Hitchcock establishes not only James personality but also the plot and what may happen in the future. One of Hitchcock’s more stylish thriller, an man bound to a wheelchair spotting a possible murder, be ready to get frightened. DIALOGUE IS NOT EVERYTHING Another technique Hitchcock uses to draw the audience further into the minds of the characters is called “Dialogue is not everything” This type of technique allows Hitchcock to give the audience a sense of relation with a character by either having the actor always being pre-occupied with something during a scene or having them constantly distracted.
In North by Northwest audience see this specific type of element when Thornhill spies on Phillip and Leonard at Phillip’s retreat, after finding out that Eve might be in danger, he quickly writes a note on a matchbox and throws it down where Eve was sitting. Audience can easily tell Eve is a professional spy as she is able to decipher the note and uses an excuse to meet up with Thornhill. Hitchcock uses this technique to not only draw the audience’s attention but teases them with the thought of wanting more.
North by Northwest, a funny and yet thriller, including many memorable scenes like Mount Rushmore. SUSPENCE IS INFORMATION Hitchcock known as the master of suspense was not only excellent at playing the minds of the audience but also keeps them second guessing on the outcomes. Information is essential to Hitchcock’s films and tends to show the audience what the actors don’t see. An example of the suspense is in the movie Dial M for Murder in the ending when Tony unaware of the detective sneaking into his apartment and is waiting for him to find the key under the stairwell.
The audience knows that most likely Tony is going to remember the key in which he planted under the stairs, but instead of heading for the key right away Tony wanders around figuring where he could have left his key. Hitchcock uses this technique to prolong and to keep the suspense. A suspenseful film from beginning to end, with the hard headed detective and an eager husband battling it out. It will keep you guessing till the end. Emotion, the camera is not a camera, dialogue is not everything and suspense is information all contribute to Hitchcock’s stylistic filming techniques.