Captain Lesley

Alfred Hitchcock creates his scene through the use of different camera angles. In his other films as well as Psycho, he makes good use of the camera shooting from an aerial vantage point and he uses elements of the scene to be incorporated in the shot (Arnold paragraph three).

This is seen in Dial “M” for Murder in which the camera does an aerial angle from the ceiling and shoots Wendice and Captain Lesley (or Swann) discussing blackmail and the chandelier is used to be incorporated into the scene and it is used in Psycho in which the camera angle depicts Norman Bates and Marion Crane are having a conversation in Bates’ taxidermy room and the camera shoots through the animals from a downward angle in order to create for the scene a sense of foreshadowing. Thus, the animals are a symbol of the emotions of the woman; they foreshadow her death and eventual ownership through her death to Norman Bates.

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One element that Hitchcock utilizes in this movie is a symbol; the phone (Lubin paragraph 2-4). The phone is not only used as a transference of scenes but also as a revealing factor of the character; the characters reveal their true intentions on the phone, their feelings, their desires, and it is with the phone that the plot progresses forward and things about the other characters are revealed to each other, such as Marion’s boyfriend trying to get a hold of her, and the police detective’s phone.

Hitchcock uses other things that are of importance, that are part of the scene in his other movies such as windows in The Birds in which the characters can witness the danger going on outside but also have distance from that danger, whether or not that distance is false.

Hitchcock uses the mother in Psycho for this revelation to characters and the audience alike in that Bates dresses up as his mother, uses his mother, and her voice in a mis-in-scene in order to persuade characters in believing a lie instead of the truth; the truth being that he dresses up as his dead mother and kills women whom he could potentially have a relationship with, or whom he likes. It is with these elements that the movie audience can have that voyeuristic sense of discovery of the character’s intentions and plot development that Hitchcock creates and progresses the thriller movie genre.

If there is one thing about the film that endeared it to society, it is the family, and the way it was portrayed. Ignoring the fact that the Corleones’ business was crime and all corresponding matters concerning it, the Corleone family can be considered as the epitome of a harmonious family, for their members are very closely-knit and drenched in happiness, just like any other family. But metaphorically speaking, the concept of family was only considered implicit in the film because it was somewhat dwarfed by the overwhelming power of the themes of crime and violence.

Ironically, it was exaltation of the family itself in the film was what caused moral disintegration (Browne 20). However, there are some points in the film that negate the concept of family closeness epitomized by the Corleones. An example of is the murder of Freddie Corleone upon the orders of the new Don, his younger brother Michael. Freddie had been proven guilty with siding with the family rivals, and Michael decided that it was detrimental to the rest of the family; but then again, the initial impression imprinted by the earlier parts of the film was not only negated, it was violated.

As the film exalted the concept of family as the primary refuge of people, it also became apparent that the film insinuated that perfection business is more important than family matters that can be settled, as if water is thicker than blood. Moreover, criticism is equally significant in deciphering why there is a character like Don Vito. His character, until now leaves us with a curious question that how can someone be so ruthless and yet so essentially warmhearted and devoted to his family (Anker 30).

Despite his small flaws, it was as if Coppola had depicted him as almost Godlike, which is very hard to believe, and also leaving behind a mysterious facet of his humanity. Criticism of the main character contributes to the most subtle of flaws permeating the film. Another element worthy of criticism is the apparent conflict in the passage of rites from father to son, from Don Vito to Michael. This was present in the conversations between Don Vito and Hagen, deliberating on who should succeed him.

Pondering this, it was obvious that Sonny was a hothead and not fit to be a Don, as Clemenza, Tessio, Hagen and even Sollozzo had concluded in different scenes. Freddie Corleone, form the very start of the film had been portrayed as weak, stupid, reckless and without force. And Michael, very clearly in the scene where Don Vito just recovered from his gunshot wounds, was not in any way wanted by his father to be immersed in the family business (Anker 27). This was as vivid as the lines on Don Vito’s face upon his learning that Michael had killed Sollozzo and McCluskey.

Without a doubt, the change in the course of the story and the metamorphosis of both Michael and the fate of the family added mystery to the film, but it also showcased the contradictions. Michael had repeated uttered that he wanted no part in the family business but the sudden change in him just because of his culpability in the killings was in a way, also hard to believe. It was as if the change in Michael did not even take overnight, so to speak. Albeit the unpredictability in the characters’ personas, we cannot help but feel a tinge of doubt concerning the utter believability of the abovementioned parts of the film.

Without question, they were believable, but not without us harboring any kind of curiosity after keen scrutiny. The criticism of the film’s wholeness is definitely important, for it clears the way for subsequent criticisms of the more hidden and underlying themes. The film, in the course of careful and deliberate criticism, slowly showcased the hypocrisy that society and the concept of family possessed and the mystery and reality of evil’s deceptiveness, carefully altering the perception and mindset of the viewers in the most powerful of ways (Anker 30).

Criticism, after all proves to be beneficial rather than detrimental. Only astonishment, awe, and the rollercoaster of emotions would show had analysis was used instead of narrative criticism. Analysis only makes us relate to the characters of the film and makes us forget the foremost consideration, the determining of the true essence of it. The finer points, as well as the hidden points of the film, were vividly explored because of criticism. To top this of, narrative criticism not only reveals, but awakens to the true “differences” between real life and fiction.

These differences are not literal in denotation, but should be interpreted with utmost broadness of understanding. One example of the theoretical assumptions derived is empathy; how can a rational viewer of the film possibly relate with real life gangsters or Mafiosi? If this question leaves us puzzled, which is sure, and then the theoretical assumption is absolutely concrete. Another is the inerasable stain that the film stamped upon Italian-Americans, to a worse extent, upon all Italians.

It need not be disputed that the film tremendously ravaged the reputation of Italian-Americans to the point that being an individual’s Italian heritage is associated with being a Mafioso; there and then we see the tremendous damage wreaked upon a particular ethnicity, the Italians as a whole. In addition, the film’s conveyance of the message that almost every individual is corruptible added to the assumptions. Exaggeration aside, films are very instrumental in shaping the mindsets of people and in crafting their perceptions.

There should be no deliberation at all, the viewing public probably reexamined the amount of trust they invested upon institutions upon experiencing the raw power of The Godfather. Summing all the aforementioned assumptions, we arrive at conclusion; the bottom line is that despite the snap back to reality of viewers after having watched the film, it does not mean that they are not at all affected by the message being relayed by it (Lyden 156). This, by all means, cannot be achieved by analysis, for only the method criticism can obtain such keen examination.

That the themes present in a particular film can meet the soul more than the bare eye. This is the ultimate revelation that was extracted from the criticism of a film hailed as one of the finest works in the history of motion pictures. Not only were the subtlest of elements were revealed by criticism, but how immensely infectious a particular work of art can be, and judging from what had been accomplished by this paper, it need not be argued that the film was and still is in some ways, a form of propaganda.

Aside from that, without a tinge of a doubt, the criticism proved that in a lot of ways, a masterfully crafted work of art can embody all the evils and ills of the world, epitomized by the rampancy of lust, murderous intents, gore, adultery, corruption, graft, and the notion of personal damnation omnipresent in the film. Boldly speaking, upon criticism, it cannot be argued, that the film can be classified as one of the most evil films ever beheld, but at the same time, a magnificently enchanting one, because without the presence of criticism, its follies would not have been deciphered and its flaws would not have been determined.

What even made criticism of this film more tantalizing is the utter fact that it was extracted from true accounts that took place in history, and not only did the film instigate a closer glimpse at what society really is, but it served as a reminder of what life really is, what really is taking place within its (society) confines. And yes, the criticisms have been made, but it seems that the film is simply too powerful, too broad and too complicated to put it under a specific scope.

This is because in spite of all assumptions, conclusions and conjectures derived from the meticulous criticism of the film, it is still unarguable that the film’s entirety, along with all its facets, is way beyond comprehension. The film was not a film after all. It was a phenomenon. Invasion of the Body Snatchers The horror movies of the 1940’s and 1950’s although sometimes cliche in their development give to the audience a wonderland of cinematic detail and emotional impact that is not replicated. Such movies are often also defined by their talented actors.

One such movie is Invasion of the Body Snatcher (1956). This film, directed by Don Siegel brings in elements of gore but also suspense. This dichotomy of conceptual realization in the film is what lends it as a classic horror film. The performance given by Kevin McCarthy is what truly heightens the story line of the film. That is one great difference between these two eras of movies; character development has become strained and non-existent in today’s genre but in Kevin McCarthy’s character Dr. Miles J. Bennell.

This film’s greatness does not hinge upon its graphic detail and gore but instead its subtle ability to incorporate into the story line such special effects as lightening and the covert viewings of bodies leads the viewer to image for themselves to a certain extent the gruesome details of the plot. This is one point of contrast between these two different styles of horror films. The 1940’s and 1950’s horror films presented something that does not exist in today’s horror films as did during this time; the theme of paranoia.

Paranoia was not just presented by the character’s depiction of the feeling but through different effects such as lighting and sound that suggestively pointed towards paranoia and accomplished not only the main character’s involvement with the feeling but by extension of these effects the audience’s involvement also, as White states, “Because we all fear death and try to protect ourselves from it, even the most clinical presentation of a murder is apt to interest us.

But the arousing of our fear of death by itself is not enough to produce horror; horror requires a certain manipulation of that fear. ” (White 7). It is through these specific films that the audience becomes a part of the spectacle of the film; through the characterizations, the plot, the point of view, and camera angles, each scene in these films aids in the development of the audience becoming immersed in the progression of the film.

Each of the elements listed above is an enhancement to the story, and without the use of Hitchcock’s bird’s eye view, Citizen Kane’s unrequited love as shown through the character’s dramatic scenes and off camera scream to enhance the scene, and the other film techniques used, these movies would not be memorable because the audience member would not be invested in the outcome. These films allow for a supreme suspension of disbelief and it is through this that true Hollywood magic is found.

Works Cited

Anker, R. M. Catching Light: Looking For God in the Movies. Chicago: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2004;


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