Alfred Joseph Hitchcock uses a variety of cinematic techniques in both “Rear Window” (1954) and “Psycho” (1960). The most striking technique and the one that Rear Window is completely based around is the “Point of View shot”. It is a shot where the action is seen through the eyes of a particular character, the shot generally preceded or followed by a shot of the character (in this case, Jeff) looking. Most of the shots were close-ups of the main character, to show his facial expressions, thus enables us to work out what Jeff is feeling.
Another major technique used was obviously the “Pan” shot, where the camera shows us a big picture of what’s happening. In Rear Window, as the camera was scanning the other apartments in the panoramic view, it zooms in to a particular apartment and then looks around from that stationary position. In the opening sequence of the movie Hitchcock uses the camera’s subjective eye by panning over the city. The camera moves across the city and focuses more in on the buildings. Then it hesitates, giving the audience a chance to decided which window they would like to look through.
Then the camera starts to zoom in and makes the decision for them. This interesting camera view builds up to introducing the character of Marion. In the room Marion is with a man named Sam, Marion makes a proposal and he rejects it, during this time the camera movement shows the intensity and emotions going on with the rejection and the sexual act that was insinuated. The first half of the opening sequence symbolizes the film’s progress as a whole. There were a variety of scenes in the movie that made it very frightening. In the famous shower scene Hitchcock used symbolism for certain objects.
He used the showers curtain in a way to portray the viewer’s private world. Then it shows the shot of the showerhead intending to show the cleansing of Marion, it then signifies that the intruder has entered making the viewer an involuntary part in her slaughter. The shower scene is frightening mainly due to the high-pitched sounds of violin’s creating a screeching sound that is supposed touch the fear in our hearts. There are also the scenes of the house by the motel that Norman lived in; the house was viewed as dark, gloomy, and creepy looking using a long-distance shot, that showed the whole house.
Another interesting scene is when Norman is cleaning up after the murder of Marion. The way the view is shot it makes it look like the audience’s hands cleaning up the blood. When it comes to the characters of this film Hitchcock introduces the concept of continuity between normal and abnormal. Marion’s character is established as a sense of normality, but when it comes about to Norman it turns to abnormality. Using a clever dialogue and different camera movements Hitchcock subtlety showed the audience the shift of sympathies from Marion to Norman.
This can be best explained the first time they meet. When it shows Marion’s reflection in the mirror it moves into the subtle emergence of Norman, its almost as though he were a part of or comparable to Marion. At first the perception of Norman is that he is seen as a likeable man. The audience pity’s his situation of devotion and self-sacrifice for his mother. But then things change after the shower scene then the many other murders that follow. Norman is then viewed as an abnormal man.