Hitchcock: A Signature Style

Essay by elaine513University, Bachelor'sB+, March 2007

download word file, 4 pages 5.0

Downloaded 54 times

Alfred Hitchcock, the master of horror and suspense, had a cinematic style that was both intensely expressive and had a signature all his own. He was rumored to be an overbearing perfectionist, proof of this exist in all his films by his choice of lighting, camera position, and what he did or did not chose to show the audience. Hitchcock relied on the actors' performance but he also used the camera as another actor. He edited specific scenes and used specific techniques that would contribute to his overall vision of the film. The three most noticeable films of hitch's style were Vertigo, Psycho, and Shadow of a Doubt.

In Vertigo, Hitchcock uses light and shadow to make scenes more menacing and while this is not an uncommon practice among directors, Hitchcock utilizes lighting to its fullest to bring out the personality of each character. Kim Novak's character is a mystery that is accentuated by light and camera position to make her seem more elusive and interesting.

Hitchcock only allows us to see what James Stewart is seeing, making us draw on the same conclusions that he does. We become the main character in the film, searching for the truth in a sea of confusion and fear. The sensation of vertigo becomes a character all its own by the way Hitchcock uses light and camera position to express overwhelming dizziness. The audience experiences what it is like for James Stewarts' character to be afraid of heights. Hitch's greatest achievement is making his audience feel like they are in the movie, another character witnessing each actor's interaction and emotion. He loves to pull the camera back causing us to feel the dizziness of vertigo and the suspense of what is to come and at the same time make us feel both...