Psycho Analysis

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Choose From a Film an Important Sequence in which Excitement is created as much by Technique as by Action/Dialogue

The Shower Scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho is a crucial scene in the plot of the film. The scene itself shows the death of the main Protagonist, Marion. In this essay I am going to explore the Shower Scene in detail and show how Alfred Hitchcock created the excitement present in the scene as much by Technique as by Action and I will show how the scene is so important to Psycho as a whole.

Perhaps the most distinguishing feature of Psycho is the score to the Shower Scene. The composer accountable for it is Bernard Herrmann. The Action of the scene is very fast-paced and the Music present in the scene is a direct reflection of this. The instruments present all belong to the String family; Cello, Violin, Viola and the Double Bass are all present in the Scene. This creates a very peculiar sound, no Brass instruments to create the usual ‘Noise’ affiliated with action and no Woodwind to soften the sound and calm things down. The sound is very rough, the high, screeching Violins create excitement as the action becomes more frenzied, so do the Violins. Each knife blow is accompanied by ‘screams’ by the high violins. This goes on for the duration of the attack, there is no relent until Marion is dead. This leaves the Audience lost, confused as to what exactly is going on in front of their eyes. The screaming emitted from Marion and the Violins is almost in-sync. The excitement is carried very well, the Strings are consistently battering the Audience’s eardrums with incredibly high notes, and the Strings come in fast with the knife strokes allowing no rest by the Audience. As the attacker departs and Marion slowly slides down the wall and into the bath in her dying moments, heavy Cello and Double Bass movements seem to drag her body down. The serene sound of a Shower opens and closes the Scene. This makes the Audience uneasy. It makes the Audience...
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