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Psycho Film Review Essay

Psycho Film Analysis

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How does Hitchcock use mis en scene and foreshadowing as a device to reinforce ideas in Psycho?

In the 1960 thriller-suspense film Psycho, Alfred Hitchcock makes use of recurring symbols and techniques such as mis en scene and foreshadowing to explore the moral and immoral choices made by the film's main characters, as well as conveying internal conflict and secrecy. The film, for the first half, follows Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) and her split-second decision to steal forty thousand dollars in cash from her boss George Lowery (Vaughn Taylor) and run, as well as her consequential murder by the shy motel-owner Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins). Little in the film is there by accident, and Hitchcock explores these subtly placed themes through the manipulation of aspects of scenes.

Morality and immorality is a crucial theme in Psycho, which is conveyed using mis en scene. The film's first major plot twist involves a split-second immoral decision. When Marion returns to her home and is debating stealing the money, her choice is shown by Hitchcock's use of mis en scene. Her underclothes have changed from being white to black in colour, a subtle reference to her guilt. As she is still debating, she goes to the mirror and stares at her reflection, after which she looks back at the envelope containing the money and has seemingly made her decision to go through with the theft. Mirrors play a crucial part in reflecting characters' important decisions, as is shown when Marion trades-in her car. She goes into the bathroom to count the right amount of money and she is reflected in the mirror. The money is the only object fully in the frame of the mirror, making it the focus of her decision. When Marion arrives at Bates Motel and she and Norman are talking in the office, she is again framed in the mirror next to the desk. This mirror is placed there to show Marion as she makes the decision to use a fake name in the registry. Norman is reflected in the window of the motel office when he tells Marion "My mother... she's not quite herself today." Marion undergoes an internal struggle during her conversation with Norman in the parlour. Mis en scene is used to position Marion in the softly lit part of the room, while Norman is situated in the corner where he casts harsh shadows on the wall. This shows that while Marion has made an immoral decision, there is opportunity for atonement. This, coupled with Marion calculating how she is going to pay back the $700 she already spent, is when the audience knows she plans to return the stolen money.

Mis en scene and foreshadowing are...

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Essay about Alfred Hitchcock's film Psycho

1110 Words5 Pages

Alfred Hitchcock's film Psycho

Psycho, by Alfred Hitchcock, was shocking for its time. Made in the 1960's when film censorship was very tight to today's standards, Hitchcock pushed the limits of what could be shown and did with psycho things that had never been done before. The cinematic art, symbolism and sub-conscious images in this film were brilliant for the time and still are now. Realised for this, psycho has been copied in many ways and the things that made it great have become very clichéd.

From the very first scene in psycho, it is clear that the viewer will be sucked into the world of Marion Crane and Norman Bates. The opening shot is an aerial shot from the sky, pausing momentarily and…show more content…

Taxidermy is a very big part of the film, it hints to the ending, creates a scary atmosphere, describes Norman's character and is used before something evil happens. The stuffed birds prey down on Norman and seem to haunt him (as his mother does).

They mirror the way the dark, gloomy, gothic house watches over the hotel and also how Mother psychologically watches over Norman, this creates suspense as the audience wonder how he will use the tension he is building up.

Another example is when Arbogaust gets killed and when Norman is taking his mother downstairs, we watch over this scene from the top corner, as the birds do in Norman's office this implies that Norman is haunted by something watching over him. These examples foreshadow the ending of the film and the real situation between Norman and Mother.

The music builds a lot of tension and suspense in psycho, it tells us that something is going to happen very soon and we get prepared for it, the lack of music can make a scene seem calm and normal, which then contrasts with the loud scary music that starts quickly as the scary part happens. The audience are unprepared and scared. An example of this in the famous shower scene where Marion is killed. This is my favourite scene as every symbol is shown so obviously and we know exactly what is going to happen and yet we are powerless to stop it, the

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