Ever since the creation of filmmaking, filmmakers from all over the world have been experimenting and utilizing different filming techniques to alter or enhance the quality of their films. By utilizing techniques involving shots, cuts, and sounds, filmmakers have gained the ability to provide more meaning to their films as well as influence the way in which their audience interprets them. In Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller Rope from 1948, Hitchcock and his production team use many of these techniques. In the scene being analyzed Hitchcock employs these techniques, including close-up shots and mise-en-scene, to provide the scene with more meaning and affect the audience’s interpretation. By utilizing the filming techniques of close-up shots, a tracking shot, mise-en-scene, loudness, an eye-line match, and continuity editing, Hitchcock masterfully creates an atmosphere that adds to the suspense and intensity of the scene at hand.
The first filming technique used by Hitchcock to add a suspenseful element to the scene is close-up shots. According to class notes a close-up shot is a shot in which a certain feature or part of a subject, generally the face, takes up most of the frame. (Striphas) Filmmakers often use close-up shots to show detail or emphasize the emotional state of a character. (Striphas) In the scene being analyzed Hitchcock uses close-up shots in some very specific instances to capture the emotions of a certain character as well as the intensity of the situation. For example, Hitchcock uses a close-up shot to zoom in on Brandon’s pocket while he reaches for his gun, which occurs twice during the scene. By using this type of shot, Hitchcock adds an intense and suspenseful element to the scene by showing the viewers Brandon’s clear intention to grab the gun. Hitchcock also uses a close-up shot during the conversation between Brandon and Rupert in which Brandon asks Rupert what his theory regarding David’s disappearance is. By zooming in on these two characters, Hitchcock effectively displays the intensity of their conversation, Rupert’s skeptic feelings, and Brandon’s attempt to remain confident under pressure. Overall, Hitchcock smartly uses the concept of close-up shots to provide an extra element of suspense.
The second filming technique used by Hitchcock to create an intense ambience is a tracking shot. A tracking shot, as defined by lecture notes, is a shot in which the camera moves freely throughout a scene on a mobile base. (Striphas) Directors oftentimes use tracking shots for a variety of reasons, among which are to explore a room or to give a detailed view of a situation. (Striphas) In the scene being analyzed Hitchcock uses a tracking shot while Rupert is giving his description of how he would have murdered David. Hitchcock’s purpose of using this type of shot during Rupert’s description is to give the viewers the ability to follow the description visually. Not only does this shot help the viewers to process his description visually, but it also helps the description become more real to them. By being able to follow the events as Rupert describes them, the situation becomes more intensified for the viewers when they realize that the camera is following every step Brandon and Philip took in the actual murder of David. As a whole, Hitchcock very effectively uses the technique of a tracking shot to create suspense and intensify Rupert’s description of David’s murder.
The third technique utilized by Hitchcock to add an extra element of suspense to the scene is his manipulation of the mise-en-scene. According to class notes mise-en-scene means “what’s in a scene.” (Striphas) Mise-en-scene refers to all of the elements that appear in front of the camera, such as props, costumes, and the positioning of actors, as well as the elements’ arrangement. (Striphas) Throughout the scene Hitchcock uses the technique of mise-en-scene for a few reasons. For example, Hitchcock purposely places Brandon and...
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