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What is an auteur? A basic way to put it is “a director that is also an author.” Sadly, it is much more complicated than that. An auteur is someone who oversees everything. From audio and visual elements of the motion picture to the directing job as a whole. An auteur is more to be considered the “author” of the movie. In other words, every element like blocking, scene length, lighting, and camera placement would be done by the director and by no one else. So why am I bringing all this up you ask? Well, I believe that Alfred Hitchcock was one of the most influential auteurs to ever live. Not only does he direct the films, but he is the mastermind behind all of his films start to finish.I will explain to you how Alfred hitchcock incorporates himself in films ranging from The Birds all the way to Psycho and how he is in fact an auteur.
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Hitchcock is so unique because he had an unconventional way of doing things.. For example, he collaborated with the same people when making many of his films throughout the years. This provided a consistency that is missing and unmatched from many other filmmakers’ careers. he often collaborated with the same people from Psycho, North by Northwest, and Vertigo. In collaborating with the same people, he is creating a consistency within his filmography that is necessary for auteurism.
Let’s talk about psycho…
There are many things that hitchcock does with the movie psycho that makes it so great. First off, Hitchcock tries to use a ton of short cuts and long shots with the camera and uses ominous sound in the background to create suspense. Here are some examples of what I’m talking about.. In one sequence, Marion packs to leave with some money and there ends up being no sound. In another scene which has short and long sequences, Marion’s sister Lila and her husband rented a room out at the Bates Motel, hoping to learn what has happened to Arbogast. When Lila approaches the Bates’s house on the hill there is a long shot of it against the sky. This pattern of long and short shots is repeated. Hitchcock also uses subjective shots in this scene.
The music/sound in Hitchcock’s films are especially innovative and effective. Hitchcock partnered up with Bernard Hermann to create the soundtrack in the background that makes the scenes so famous, Especially the shower scene.
The lighting in psycho is extremely interesting. Psycho is a black and white film… this fact alone makes the scenes quite menacing because shadows of objects seem to become disturbing pictures while also engulfing the viewer.
Now let’s talk about The Birds and compare these two works of art
The birds is one of the most famous films from Hitchcock. Hitchcock uses a ton of certain unique things throughout the film to illustrate what is happening though the film. In the movie, Hitchcock often uses a high-angle shots and in my opinion, that’s what makes it so famous.
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A major similarity that I managed to see is how Hithcock uses the camera to zoom in at different times during his two films. This happens in both films to show some of the super little details so the audience would be more aware of the things going on throughout the movie and giving them hints to figure out the mystery that’s happening in the film. I have examples from both movies where he uses this technique. In psycho, Hitchcock uses extreme close ups to show the object that Marion dies to. She dies to a knife, and that is quite clear to spot because of the close up that was used. The zooming effect makes it clear for the audience to see what the Figure does with the knife. In The Birds, there are multiple extreme close ups that are presented when the birds are attacking Melanie…there is a mixture of her facial expressions shown and the birds attacking. This makes the audience worry about what’s happening.
In conclusion Alfred hitchcock uses countless techniques such as Camera angles, lighting, sound, etc to create a persona for himself and his work. Overall, Alfred Hitchcock not only directs his films, but is in the background masterminding the whole film from start to finish. That is why I believe that Hitchcock is in fact an auteur.
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