Alfred Joseph Hitchcock is thought to be, by most, the greatest film director of all time. He was born in Leyton stone, London on 13 August 1899. He directed many great films such as The Lodger, The Birds, Sabotage, Notorious, Rear Window, and of course one of his greatest achievements ever, Psycho in 1960. He directed the first British sound film Blackmail. Alfred Hitchcock once said, Audience reaction is more important than the content of the film.
Throughout and before the playing of Psycho, Hitchcock manipulates the audience in many ways. The words that Alfred Hitchcock said that illustrates manipulation in Psycho the most is Terror is often accompanied by suspense in the unfolding of a thrilling narrative - or, to put it another way, a story which gives the reader a feeling of terror necessarily contains a certain measure of suspense. We can really see in Psycho that this is true, because all of the terror and surprise in the film is due to the building of suspense, done by Alfred Hitchcock. Hitchcock first starts too manipulate the audience before the screening of Psycho has even begun. The short trailer manipulates the audiences perception of what the film contains, and what the genre of the film is.
Psycho is a thriller, but this is not what the audience suspect when they watch the trailer. Hitchcock manipulates the ideas that the audience have about the themes and issues of Psycho. One of the main manipulation that occurs in the trailer is as Alfred Hitchcock gives an image that Norman Bates mother is alive. He does this by describing Norman Bates as being dominated by his mother.
This is not say the truth about the mother being dead, but does not lie either. Normans mother is dead, but is alive in the mind of Norman. She is therefore dominating Normans mind. Alfred Hitchcock makes us infer that the mother was alive throughout the film.
This manipulates the audience throughout the film. The audience think that the mother is alive, and therefore, she can potentially be the killer in the film. She is the killer in the film, yet is not the killer. Hitchcock also makes some scenes in the film sound so immense, that he is unable to describe it.
As he describes something, he talks really fast, giving us an impression that it is a fast scene. He also does not finish the sentences. This makes the audience want to see what really happens in the film. It's difficult to describe the way the twisting of the its too difficult to describe When describing some scenes in the film, he uses hand movements to show twisting. This makes us eager to see what happens. When Alfred Hitchcock reaches some parts of the set, he makes some faces and talks differently.
This makes the audience infer that something important or something significant has happened there. This manipulates the audience because they know something is going to happen, but do not know exactly what. Music is also used to manipulate the audience during the trailer. Bernard Her rman composes the main theme music used in Psycho. This music is very sinister, high pitched and has high tempo. The music adds a lot of tension and suspense in the audience.
As Alfred Hitchcock walks around some parts of the set, music will increase tempo, volume or will change. In some parts of the set, sinister music is played. This adds tension and also keeps the audience in suspense because the audience knows that something will happen in that part. Throughout the film, Alfred Hitchcock manipulates the audience most is by encouraging the audience to identify with the various characters in different parts of the film.
The inciting incident of the film, when Marion steals the money, is a great part of manipulation. She steals the money that Cassidy used to buy the house. We sympathise with Marion, because she steals the money for a reason. She loves Sam, and he needs the money if they are to be together and get married.
We sympathise with Marion stealing the money, because she is in love, and the only ways for it to be like that is if she steals the money. Another reason why we sympathise with Marion stealing the money is because we dont feel sorry for Cassidy. This is because he is very arrogant. He boasts about having a lot of money, and tries to flirt with Marion. Cassidy is also very chauvinist because the doesnt respect Marion. He thinks that he can easily get her because of his money.
He also hints to Marion that he can do a lot of money, trying to make her like him. He also says I never carry a much as I can afford to lose This tells us that he can afford to lose the money, and because he is very wealthy and arrogant, it would be good to use the money for a good cause. If Marion stole the money from a charity, we would not sympathise with Marion because she is taking money from a worthy cause. We also identify and sympathise with Marion by the use of voices. In the car when she is driving away from Phoenix with the stolen money, the audience hear the voices in Marion's head. The audience hear the voices of Marions boss.
The audience hear what Marion is thinking. The audience heard what the boss might say about Marion stealing the money. The voices make the audience feel frightened because they hear what Marion is thinking, and therefore they are put into Marion's mind. The audience want to help Marion because hearing voices is very sinister. When Marion is killed, and the film develops, the audience soon realise that the money did not matter and that Marion was not killed because of the stolen money.
The audience feel frustrated because she ran away from Phoenix due to the money. And if she didnt steal the money, she would not have been killed. The most commonly used method for identification is using Point Of View Shots. Point of view shots put us in the mind of the character that the point of view shot is on. Alfred Hitchcock used these point of view shots to make us identify with the character in many different situations. During the time that Marion Crane is alive, point of view shots are used a lot to make us feel how she is feeling.
One of the first point of view shots the audience see through Marions eyes is also is part of the inciting incident. This incident is when Marion steals the money. The point of view is of her looking at the money on the table. This puts us in her position because the audience think whether the audience would steal the money or not if they were in her position. There is also a point of view shot of Marion looking through the rear-view mirror when the policeman approaches her in her car. There are point of view shots looking through Marion's eyes when the policeman is talking to her.
The audience are put in Marion's position when the policeman is interrogating her. This manipulates the audience because it makes us feel nervous. This is because the audience have followed Marion through the story so far, and they have identified with her. Therefore, the audience feel as if they have a connection with Marion. We know that Marion has stolen the money, and so we feel nervous because we feel her trying to avoid the policeman questions, even though we know she is lying. There is also a very important point of view shot whilst Marion is being murdered.
We see Marions point of view shot looking at the silhouette of the killer whilst he is stabbing her. This manipulates the audience a great deal because the audience feel hurt because Marion is being killed. The audience are put in Marion's perspective and they see themselves getting stabbed. This is a very sinister scene. We also identify with Norman Bates. When Arbogast is questioning Norman, we see the shot through Normans point of view.
This makes the audience feel frightened because they are put in the position of the possible killer of Marion Crane. This also makes the audience sympathise Norman because he is being questioned and is unable to lie properly. We feel guilty because we are in Normans point of view. Another point of view shot that makes us sympathise Norman is at the end. This is when Norman is in the jail. We sympathise for him because we are in his position.
We sympathise for this because we know that it was not his fault that he was a psychopath, and that his mother had taken over him. Hitchcock encourages us to identify with the character so that we sympathise them. In this case, Hitchcock encourages the audience to identify with Norman Bates because he wants us to sympathise Norman being a Psychopath. Hitchcock wants us to sympathise the fact that he was overrun by his mother. This is a great form of manipulation. This is because Norman Bates has killed Marion and Arbogast and even though Norman has done this and has done some evil things in the film, we still feel sorry for him because we have identified with him.
Throughout the film, Alfred Hitchcock gives the illusion that the mother is alive in person. A sinister shot that manipulates the audience is just after Marion is killed. Whilst she is lying dead in the bathtub, the camera slowly goes to a close-up of her open eye. This is very sinister to the audience because the audience have identified with her a lot, and feel to have become part of her. When the audience see her head, they are all in shock. This is because everyone thought she was the main character and she would be the heroine.
This breaks the conventions if a normal film. She was also a big movie star in the time of the filming of Psycho, and so nobody expected her to get killed. One of the most crucial shot in the film that is used to make the audience know that the mother is still alive is when Norman is carrying the body to the basement. We hear the mother screaming and shouting, and therefore we think she is alive. Whilst Norman is carrying the mother, we see her body, but not her face, which is in fact rotten.
The camera shot is taken from the top of the hall. We see the top of her head and her body, and we know that she is still alive. The shower scene has over ninety shots in it. These subliminal shots add a lot of action and speed to the scene. The fast subliminal shots make the audiences heart rate increase, making them more irritable and hotter.
This is a subconscious manipulation that Alfred Hitchcock uses. Another great use of manipulation is by manipulating the audiences thoughts of the films story line. He does this by making the plot seem very complicated at some points. At one point in the film, Arbogast is trying to find out what happened to Marion. At this point, Arbogast adds some more themes into the film.
This is done, so that the audience lose interest of the current issues of the film, and start to get confused with the issues that Arbogast is talking about. This is done to build some suspense, and so that the audience will get a greater shock when something happens in the film, because they did not expect it. In conclusion, Alfred Hitchcock manipulates the audience in many ways. From sound to visual, conscious to unconscious and from identification with the protagonist to identification with the bad. This essay has shown all of the possible ways that Alfred Hitchcock has manipulated the audience through the film.