Alfred Hitchcock's Specific Audience Reached by Psycho and The Birds
For this piece of coursework I am going to compare and contrast two
Alfred Hitchcock Films in order to show how Hitchcock reached a
specific target audience. The films, to which I will be referring are
'Psycho (1960)' and 'The Birds (1963)', I will illustrate the
techniques, which the director (Alfred Hitchcock) used to appeal to
specific audiences. In particular I will be paying close attention to
"the shower scene" from "Psycho" and "the school scene" from "The
I will firstly give you an overview of what happens in each film.
"Psycho" is a horror/thriller. It stars Janet Leigh, John Gavin, and
Anthony Perkins. Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) is an office worker from
Phoenix who is in a relationship with Sam (John Gavin). She is asked
by her employer to deposit £40,000 dollars (a great amount of money at
the time when the film was made) in a bank. Since she is unhappy with
life due to the fact that she has to meet Sam in secret, she decides
to take the money and start a new life. She heads towards California
but tiredness and a storm force her to get off the main highway and go
to the Bates motel. The motel is owned and managed by Norman Bates
(Anthony Perkins) who appears to be under the control of his mother.
In fact Norman has a Multiple Personality disorder, he kills Marion
and disposes of her body and the money, which is in a newspaper, in a
"The Birds" is also a horror/thriller. It stars Tippi Hedren and Rod
Tailor. Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) is the daughter of a rich San
Francisco businessman who seems to like to play practical jokes. She
decides to fool a man, Mitch Brenner (Rod Tailor) into believing that
she owns a pet store. This leads to the two becoming attracted to one
another. Melanie Daniels decides to take some birds to Mitch's house
in Bodega Bay. When she arrives she is attacked by a gull however
after this "accident" the attacks become more frequent and seemingly
Alfred Hitchcock had to abide by the Hays code in order to make the
film worthy of release in America. Compared to today's Hollywood
censorship code the hays code seems extremely strict. Most of the
successful may have had to lose some of their most effective and
audience attracting scenes in order to be released at the time of the
The following are some of rules of the Hays Code:
- No explicit Nudity may be shown.
- Audience should not be made to sympathise with wrong doers.
- A wrong doer should not be shown to get away with any wrong doing.
- In addition, blasphemy and bad language (even words such as 'Damn'
or 'Hell') were forbidden as was excessive, lustful kissing and
embracing: which was considered totally unacceptable.
Alfred Hitchcock managed to keep...