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Psycho and What Lies Beneath - Did Zemeckis copy Hitchcock?

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Introduction

Did Zemeckis copy Hitchcock? Robert Zemeckis has recently been accused of copying from Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 slasher movie, Psycho, in his new film, What Lies Beneath. As a private investigator hired by relatives of the late Alfred Hitchcock, I will look at all available evidence and decide whether or not Zemeckis copied Hitchcock. Psycho was made in 1960 and was the most controversial film of the time. It had many firsts, including the first flushing toilet in a film, and was nearly banned for the nudity and violence. Psycho is probably the most famous film of the twentieth century, and Hitchcock could well have been the most famous director. All ready there is clear reason why Zemeckis would copy Hitchcock, but I still have to examine the evidence within the films. The first thing I noticed when I watched these two films was that they both have trick beginning. In the first few scenes of Psycho, Hitchcock makes the audience believe that the film is the love story between Sam and Marion. In What Lies Beneath Zemeckis has tried to do the same thing by convincing the audience that the film is all about Claire's love life. Then Zemeckis makes it seem like it's about Claire's missing her daughter; he then surprises the audience when the story turns to the next-door neighbour, Mary. ...read more.

Middle

An obvious similarity between the two films is the bird's eye view of the stairs. In Psycho the bird's eye view of Norman carrying his mother down the stairs makes you feel quite uncomfortable, as if you are spying on them from the ceiling. Zemeckis takes this idea and uses it when Norman is carrying Claire up the stairs. He uses the same camera angle as is Psycho to create the same effect. Although Zemeckis has clearly used some of Hitchcock's ideas, I believe that Zemeckis has used a few of his own techniques as well. When Claire is lying paralysed on the hallway floor, the camera tracks towards her and then goes down, underneath the floor. This angle of Claire from beneath makes the audience feel uncomfortably close to the character; it also links in with the title of the film, What Lies Beneath. Most people would say that the colour in Psycho and What Lies Beneath are completely different; Psycho is in black and white and What Lies Beneath is in colour. I would say that there are more similarities than one would think. Hitchcock chose to make his film in black and white, even though most films in the 1960s were made in colour, and Zemeckis chose to use as little colour as possible without actually making it black and white. ...read more.

Conclusion

The way these scenes are directed is far too similar to be a coincidence of any sort. There many other, more subtle differences between the films which I believe Zemeckis copied from Hitchcock. The more obvious of these is the names of the characters. Madison and Marion are very similar names; also these two characters are two that die in the films. The use of mirrors throughout the films is extremely similar. Hitchcock used a lot mirrors to show that everyone has two different sides to them: one that everyone else sees and another, more secret one. In my opinion Zemeckis uses this in much the same way as Hitchcock did. The final comparison I will make is that of the endings. Both films end with a dead man and woman in their cars at the bottom of a lake. This is another connection that is too strong to be ignored. In conclusion, I would say that Zemeckis has, quite obviously, copied Hitchcock's ideas in his new film. However, I don't believe that it was done in a bad way; Zemeckis has not made a bad Psycho rip-off. Zemeckis has used Hitchcock's ideas to create another excellent film, a tribute to the great Alfred Hitchcock. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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