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Discuss Whether Alfred Hitchcock Can Be Considered an Auteur

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Discuss whether Alfred Hitchcock can be considered an auteur. Illustrate your argument with specific references to two of his films.

In order to ascertain as to whether Hitchcock can be considered an auteur, the understanding of what makes an auteur and its origin needs to be explored.

It is believed that a director can either be classified as a metteur-en-scene or an auteur. The classification of an auteur originates from the early 1950's, when a magazine in France, 'Cahier du Cinema' produced by directors of the 'French new wave' believed that certain directors including Hitchcock left a personal stamp on the films they produced. Francois Truffaut said. "There are no good and bad movies, only good and bad directors" indicating that he believes the success of a film is reflected on how the director interpreted the script. Auteur theory is based on the idea that the film director is the artist, meaning that a director could be seen as a parallel to a novelist or painter.

Andrew Sarris was the man who introduced Auteurism to the states with his book, 'Notes on Auteur Theory' in 1962. "The way the film looks and moves should have some relationship to the way the director thinks and feels". Sarris proposed three criteria for recognising an auteur, which I can use to determine if Hitchcock can be, classified an auteur according to Sarris. The criteria were,

* Technical competence

* Distinguishable personality

* Interior meaning arising from tension between personality and material

It is apparent that classifying a director as an auteur is a personal opinion, and there is no strict definition or classification of what or who makes an auteur, hence resulting in the auteur argument that still exists today. I can however decide if Hitchcock can be classed as an auteur by seeing if his work meets any of Sarris' criteria, other opinions combined with my own personal opinion.

I do believe that auteur theory exists, by the fact that films are a product of their director. No one person has the same way of thinking and creativeness, much like a book author or an artists (no one style of painter is the same), the way a film is, is due to the director.

The decision of whether Alfred Hitchcock can be regarded as an auteur needs to be answered. I hope that looking at some of his work, 'Psycho' and 'Rear window' will help me decide this. There is no doubt that Hitchcock is worldly regarded as an auteur by many; therefore there must be reasons for this belief. It was the French critics that based their theory of an auteur on directors such as Hitchcock and Robert Rossellini in the first place, so all along there has been little argument about him being regarded as an auteur.

The fact that the majority of his work including 'Psycho' and 'Rear window' contain large amounts of suspense, has resulted in the recognition that this is his style, making his films distinguishable, fitting with one of Sarris' auteur criteria. Suspense is greatly used in both 'Psycho' and 'Rear window' throughout the films.

In 'Psych' A moment of shared suspense between the audience and Marian is when she is driving alone with the policeman behind her. We both know he is there and are both wondering if he will discover the money she has stolen. The jerky music as she drives adds to the suspense. Vicarious suspense is largely used in 'Psycho' a classic example of this is where we can see mother through the shower curtain with a knife, before Marian sees. We know that someone has come in the bath room with a knife, but the fact that Marian cannot

see or hear because she is in the shower greatly increases the audience's empathy but the fact that we find ourselves wanting her to see and get out, indicates our helplessness, reminding us of our voyeuristic position. Hitchcock's excessive use of voyeurism in his films again indicates a personal style.

The fact that 'Rear window' is about voyeurism clearly indicates this. Suspense and voyeurism are the main features of the film, 'Rear window'. The point in the film where L.B. Jefferies watches his model fiancйe played by Grace Kelly climb up the ladder to the suspected murderers (Lars Thorwald's) apartment in order to find some evidence that he murdered his wife is shared suspense, as both the audience and L.B. Jefferies are feeling worried for



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