Skip to content

Psycho Film Review Essay

Psycho Film Analysis

[Type text] [Type text] [Type text]

SACE ID: 777879E Centre: 313

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...

Loading: Checking Spelling

0%

Read more

A media analysis of the film 'Psycho' by Alfred Hitchcock. Looking specifically at voyeurism, third person narrative and the roles of both male and female characters.

974 words - 4 pages From the moment when Marian pulls up in her car outside the motel, there isa tense atmosphere which is created by the bad weather and the fact that shearrived in the dark. Using this setting makes us (the audience) feel slightlyanxious even from the beginning, and also by using the second personcamera angles we are made to feel like voyeurs watching Marian and heractions. When we are wanted to focus on a...

Film: Psycho, by Alfred Hitchcock Essay

1384 words - 6 pages People have been looking behind their shower curtain when they enter the bathroom ever since Psycho swirled its way into movie theaters in 1960. This irrational fear of lurkers in the bath and scary psyches began with the first ever slasher film: Psycho by Alfred Hitchcock. Throughout the years, Psycho never lost its potency as the movie that created the horror genre as we know it. The low-budget “just for fun” film project that Hitchcock had...

Hitchcock's Film Psycho

2469 words - 10 pages Hitchcock's Film Psycho Ever since the first horror movies were produced they have attracted huge audiences seeking to be scared, chilled and thrilled. Horror movies are so popular because the audience can get the adrenaline rush of being scared without actually putting themselves in danger, and also the audience ultimately get a rush of relief at the end of the film when the killer is...

Suspense and Tension in film Psycho

2313 words - 9 pages Suspense and Tension in film Psycho Alfred Hitchcock 1960 horror film ´Psycho` is one of the most celebrated and scary films of its time. Hitchcock’s psychological thriller, psycho was and still is the mother of all modern day horrors. It cost Hitchcock around $800,000 to make the film. Psycho broke all film conventions by showing a leading lady having a lunch time affair in her underwear and also in the shower scene it...

"Psycho" is a film about being trapped

956 words - 4 pages Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" (1960) a film about the story of Marion Crane, her adventure of how she disappears...

Hitchcock's Tension and Suspense in the Film Psycho

1403 words - 6 pages Hitchcock's Tension and Suspense in the Film Psycho Of all of Hitchcock's films "Psycho is certainly the most critically acclaimed. It is thought of by many as 'genre-defining' and it certainly introduced many of the popular horror conventions used by filmmakers today. It is about a young woman named Marion who has stolen money from her employer and plans to run away with her boyfriend. On her journey she stays in a...

"How does Alfred Hitchcock explore the duality of human nature in the film Psycho?"

1771 words - 7 pages Alfred Hitchcock uses many ways to explore the duality of human nature in his films, especially in the 1960 horror thriller Psycho. The duality of human nature represents our inner self, aspects that are mainly opposites, the light showing good, the dark showing evil, the natural and the unnatural, are just some examples of human nature. Hitchcock explored the duality...

How did Hitchcock create fear and tension in the original audiences of Psycho before they entered the cinema and whilst they were watching the film?

1339 words - 5 pages In the late 1950s, early 1960s people could enter the cinema at any time they wished. People were also able to move seats throughout the film and talked for the whole duration of the film. This was a bad atmosphere for watching films as not everyone was concentrating on the film. Psycho changed this and the way that films were shown for ever. Hitchcock had to work within the environment to create a new cinema experience; he changed things that...

The Lasting Impact of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho

1604 words - 6 pages The 1960s film Psycho directed by Alfred Hitchcock was groundbreaking and continues to influence film making to this day. The film has been credited as being the foundation for modern day horror films and launching the “slasher” sub-genre. Alfred Hitchcock was known as the master of suspense which definitely proved to be true through all of his movies, especially his most influential film, Psycho, which surprised the audience with shocking bursts...

Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho

1083 words - 4 pages Alfred Hitchcock’s film “Psycho” created a tremendous impact on 60’s American films. Hitchcock powerfully describes the murder scene of Marion, while taking a shower at Bates Motel. Viewers and critics of the film believe that it is unconventional and overly violent for young viewers eyes, but some analysts think that it is a form of deconstruction, a new structure of horror film that Hitchcock wants to share. Different perspectives and ideas...

Alfred Hitchcock´s America Analysis

1579 words - 6 pages I. Identification A. Book Citation Pomerance, Murray. Alfred Hitchcock's America. Somerset, NJ: Polity, 2013. Print. B. Author Information The author of Alfred Hitchcock’s America, Murray Pomerance was born in Hamilton, Canada. He grew up there with a budding fascination for film. He went on to study at the University of Michigan were he gained a BA in sociology (Ryerson 2013). Murray Pomerance is currently a professor at Ryerson University in...

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

Show More