• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

An Analysis of Style and Form in Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’ With Special Reference to the Shower Scene

Extracts from this document...


An Analysis of Style and Form in Hitchcock's 'Psycho' With Special Reference to the Shower Scene Psycho has been referred to as 'Hitchcock's movie above all others'. The plot is simple, based on a novel by Robert Bloch, which in it's turn reflected a real incident of a man who kept the body of his mother in his house in Wisconsin. Psycho was filmed in black and white. Hitchcock's reason for this is that if the blood in the shower scene had been shown as red the scene would have been considered too disturbing and have been cut. However, the stark contrast between the black and white, shown again in the film when Marion changes to dark clothes and black underwear after she has stolen the money and become a 'thief', reflects the main theme of the film; the study of good and evil. The opening credits include the sharp contrasting horizontal and vertical black and white lines, breaking apart and erratically moving across the scene, accompanied of course by the eyrie music of Bernard Herman. The film and this music are inseparable. Originally Hitchcock wanted no music, but after it was composed he allowed it to be included. As over half of the film is silent, the music acts to build the suspense and atmosphere in a way that dialogue or simply silence could not. For example, as Arbogast climbs the stairs in the house the music lets the audience know by its urgent jarring sounds that something terrible is about to happen to him. ...read more.


Norman Bates was a normal person until his experiences and complex feelings caused him to loose track of rational thought. So much detail is given to the change over of cars and the motorcycle policeman to add detail to Marion's journey. As Hitchcock said, "You know that the public always likes to be one jump ahead of the story; they like to feel they know what's coming next. So you deliberately play upon this fact to control their thoughts. The more we go into the details of the girl's journey, the more the audience becomes absorbed in her flight." This means that when Marion arrives at the Bates Motel the audience is expecting her, not Norman, to be the main character of the film, which is what makes maroons murder in the shower so shocking and inapprehensible. It is hard for Marion to understand or control what she is doing, and so we understand why she decides she can drive no longer and stops at the Bates Motel. The audience knows that this is an unfavourable place to be by the way the sign suddenly looms out of the dark and mist. The Bates Mansion is also a daunting image. Norman Bates however dispels these feelings by being a likeable and shy young man. During his conversation with Marion, Norman helps her regain her freedom of choice in her life, and helps her decide to do the right thing and return the money. When Norman describes his own life this helps Marion. 'We are all in our private trap' he says. ...read more.


Guilt is again overpowering the rational actions of a person. Not persuaded by Norman's story Arbogast decides to investigate the house to talk to Norman's mother. As he walks up to the house and through the door the music begins it's warning tones. The audience is forewarned that something bad will follow. The camera uses a single shot as Arbogast climbs the stairs. He was made to look as innocent and complacent as he good. If close ups and different shots of him were used it would have given the impression more that he was doing something wrong, and that the suspense the audience fears will be released by him. When Arbogast reaches the top step the camera is placed very high for two reasons. The first is to hide the face of the mother when she comes out to stab him. The second is to make the close up shot of his horror stricken and blood smeared face directly afterwards all the more sudden and of impact. This murder could be considered more violent than Marion's, blood is visible on the victim's body, and the murder lasts for a longer length of time. The action is stretched out by Arbogast's fall down the stairs. The audience can see his face all the time while he is falling. To achieve this the crew superimposed a shot of Arbogast over a background of a shot taken by a camera moving down the stairs. The reason why to some Arbogast does not look like he is really falling at all is because he isn't even moving. ?? ?? ?? ?? Katharine Hill 11G - coursework ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Plays section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Plays essays

  1.  How does Hitchcock create atmosphere, tension and shock in Psycho?

    the end of Arbogast now played when indicating the end of Norman. The last scene we see is the last scene Hitchcock has put together all the pieces and explains what happened.

  2. Talking In Public: a Critical Analysis of Joyce Meyer Speech “What Is the Problem?".

    the level of response accorded Joyce by the audience when she used these techniques was somewhat ambivalent. I believe her spiritually challenging utterances had a dual impact on the listeners: a muted, pensive, and thought-provoking acknowledgement and/or a cheerful, open acclamation of agreement.


    This showed the elderly people are afraid of being attacked and also of death which helped us come to conclusion that elderly people constantly life in fear for example, the fear of new media technology, of changes in society, of death etc.

  2. Performance Analysis - 'Running away with the Hairdresser' by Earth Fall

    I may not have picked up upon without aid of the programme. Much of the performance was darkly humorous, similar to that of Bill Hicks' comedy. The performance used similar techniques to films directed by Quentin Tarantino, particularly by the use of music to represent mood, horror or shock.

  1. An analysis of an interview - Jeremy Paxman interviews the Prime Ministers: A Newsnight ...

    I say this as those people have made every ones life what it is today - they are the people with the power to make change in this world.

  2. Language analysis for Paradise Lost

    , but this line can also be considered as an hyperbole. Emotive language is language that appeals to the audience's emotional state and can cause the audience to empathise with a character. In this case, the audience would feel slightly hopeful because there is still hope but barely enough guarantee

  1. Having Watched Gus Van Sant's Remake of Alfred Hitchcock's Film Psycho Analyse How Van ...

    This motif of sex throughout the film emphasises the fact that throughout Marian has not been innocent and doesn't have the usual characteristics of a main character.

  2. Discuss the conventions of science fiction films with reference to Armageddon and Independence Day.

    radio, this automatically gives you a clue as to what is going to happen. Drum rolls are used as well, this is usually used when the American flag is shown, and this is patriotic. The same thing is used in Armageddon when the American flag is shown.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work