Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Hitchcock: Master of Suspense

Hitchcock's Methods for Suspense

In his more than 60 years of filmmaking,
Hitchcock (1899-1980) specialized in tales
of intrigue, be they murder mysteries or
suspenseful tales of adventure or psychological
revelation. His techniques for building tension
are renowned:

• a man on the run, often an innocent man
• an icy blonde—who may change
temperature when aroused by danger
• perspective shots that parallel a person's
• framing shots to heighten fear and
manipulate audience emotion
• chase scenes, often including a landmark
(in this film, the Forth Bridge over the Firth
of Forth north of Edinburgh, Scotland
• restricted spaces or train journeys
• zoom shots, crosscutting, and montages
• endings with a twist
• decoy elements or "MacGuffins" that seem
to be crucial to the plot (critics consider the
MacGuffin in The 39 Steps to be the stolen
design plans)
• withholding information

In his films, he often cast actors against
type, especially Cary Grant and James Stewart
who each made four films with
Hitchcock. Among his leading ladies were Ingrid
 Bergman and Grace Kelly, who made three films
each with Hitchcock.

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