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Alfred Hitchcock

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English 375

Prof. Jerry McGuire

April 4, 2007

Alfred Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock is a fabulous director. Hitchcock's films usually fall into the categories of his characteristic themes. These themes include: the transference of guilt from a guilty person onto an innocent person, the police pursuit of an innocent man; the double-chase motif in which an innocent man pursues the culprit while he himself is being pursued by the police; the deceptiveness of appearances; the sudden outburst of violence and absurdity in the midst of the most mundane everyday activities (Fabe 140). The theme that fits most with his film Notorious is the deceptiveness of appearances.

The leading lady in Notorious, Alicia Bergman, is persuaded into working for the American Federal Bureau of Intelligence. The FBI is looking to find the major players of a Nazi group that is planning to take over the world. Alicia is to use her sex appeal to get into the house of one of these men. The FBI chose her because her father was a part of their plan, and it would be easy for her to be welcomed into the homes of the Nazi men if they chose to check her background. To the Nazis, she appears to be in their favor; however, it is the ultimate deceit for she is working to undermine them.

Hitchcock also uses a lot of the same characters in his films. He uses the beautiful blond heroin that appears to fascinate the camera, the big nosy crowds of photographers, and the evil or terrifying mother figures (Fabe 136-37). This is definently evident in Notorious. The film opens with the large crowd of photographers and news reporters; all of them trying to talk to and take pictures of the beautiful blond heroin of the film. The horrible mother figure in this film will be her mother-in-law; who protests the engagement from the very beginning.

Hitchcock loved the psychological effects he has on his audiences. It was said that he did not care about the films so much as he did the audiences response. He's a sucker for the technical components rather that the story line. Hitchcock is also a fan of making the viewers feel like they are a part of the film. This he does with those technical components he loves so much. The tempo and volume of the background music, along with the lighting and editing, can make the audience feel what that particular character is feeling. He also achieves this effect by shooting close-up shots of details and by using point-of-view shots.

The series of scenes in which Alicia realizes that her husband and mother-in-law are the reason she has been feeling ill. She is in the den area with Sebastian, her husband, her mother-in-law, and Dr. Anderson, a friend of Sebastian. She sits in a big chair across form her husband and mother-in-law while Dr. Anderson is walking around. Alicia is feeling ill so her mother-in-law is pretending to be caring and keeps Alicia's teacup full. When Madame Sebastian gets up to refill Alicia's cup Hitchcock cuts to a close- up of the table with the tea pitchers on it. Yes, two pitchers. One of these pitchers is especially for Alicia. They have been poisoning her since they found out she was working for the Americans. We see Madame Sebastian pick it up and fill Alicia's cup with what it seems to be a smirk

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