Psycho Film Analysis

1012 words - 4 pages

[Type text] [Type text] [Type text]SACE ID: 777879E Centre: 313How 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 very important in Psycho when Hitchcock makes reference to the internal conflict of characters. A subtle clue to when exactly Norman (or, perhaps, the "mother side" of his personality) decides that he is going to kill Marion is...

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