How Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho Fits In To The Basic Feature Film Narrative Structure

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Media Studies Psycho Essay Charlie Anderson In his masterpiece "Psycho", director Alfred Hitchcock propels his narrative through closely following and manipulating the different aspects of the film matrix. These include the basic uses of conflict resolution, the manoeuvring of time and space and the utilisation of the narratives codes and conventions. Hitchcock uses a succession of non-autonomous scenes to describe how the apparent protagonist, Marian Crane (played by Janet Leigh), decides to steal $40,000, flee her home in Phoenix and undertake a long automobile trip to California. To the audience, it appears as though Marian Crane's theft and flight are the principal elements of the film's plot. Hitchcock, however, surprises the audience by using archival time both to lead us to believe that Marian Crane is his protagonist and then abruptly changes the direction of his film.

Psycho begins with the camera drifting lazily from left to right across the skyline of Phoenix, Arizona.

Hitchcock used similar shots in the beginning of both The Lady Vanishes and Shadow of a Doubt, implying a movement from the general to the particular and from the objective to the subjective. This sets the scene for the beginning of the film, an establishing shot showing buildings from a distance tells us that it must be a reasonably modern setting in a city. From this (where Hitchcock establishes the motivation for the narrative) we are moved to a desolate highway and a small isolated motel. This part of the real images matrix is easily achieved in the movie as the film continues to progress.

Early in the film we are introduced to the narratives supposed protagonist Marion Crane, Alfred Hitchcock appears to establish Crane as the main character of "Psycho" from the film's very first scenes. From here we meet her boyfriend Sam Loomis...