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Alfred Hitchcock

The expressionism exhibited in Alfred Hitchcock films is a combination of individual aesthetic decisions and specific pre-established formal resources. Prior to the 1950s, Hitchcock remained the leading American exponent of expressionistic thought. HitchcockÆs expressionism embodied personal aesthetic choice with German expressionism, British social realism documentary, and Russian expressive realism. As Fabe maintains, HitchcockÆs expressionism was influenced by Russian and German filmmakers, ôAt the same time Eisenstein was experimenting with the capacity of editing or montage to give heightened emotional and political impact to his filmed narrative, F. W. Murnau was concentrating on the potentials of the enframed image, the way specific photographic effects could add psychological expressiveness to the profilmic actionö (37).

In Rebecca (1940) and Rope (1948), we see HitchcockÆs use of these stylistic movements to portray the thoughts and feelings of his protagonists via a number of spatial and formal methods. As Robin Wood argues in HitchcockÆs Films, ôExpressionism evades simple definition, but a central impulse was clearly the attempt to express emotional states through a distortion or deformation of objective reality, expression taking precedence over representationö (27). This analysis will demonstrate HitchcockÆs brand of expressionism as evidenced in Rebecca and Rope.

In both EisensteinÆs and MurnauÆs films, significant psychological, visual, and narrative elements equate to the expressionism adopted and furthered by Hitchcock. Emotions and the subjective mind can distort point of view and psychology. Hitchcock uses psychological, visual, and narrative elements to express the anxiety and internal conflict of his protagonists in both Rebecca and Rope. In Rebecca, the de Winter home, with its gothic design and continual reminders of the first Mrs. de Winter, help to express the anxiety and disorientat...

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Alfred Hitchcock. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 20:49, May 25, 2020, from