Hitchcock: Audience/Viewer Reaction–Theory and Practice

Hitchock orchestrates his stories in self-consciously playful and techincally masterful mode, one that involves and addresses the audience directly.

Hitchcock and Pure Cinema

Hitchcock, influenced by the Russian director Pudovkin, has said: “The screen ought to speak its own language, freshly coined, and it can’t do that unless it treats an acted scene as a piece of raw material which must be broken up, taken to bits, before it can be woven into an expressive visual pattern.”

For him, pure cinema meant cinematic/stylistic narration without dialogue, without words.

Hitchcock on Universal Emotional Impact

Hitchcock had famously stated:

“If you’ve designed a picture correctly in terms of its emotional impact, the japanese audience would scream at the same time as the India audience.”

In a way, Hitchcock first excites the “worst feelings” of his audience, and then through his complex and fascinating spectacles, authorizes them to be satisfied. There is a sense of catharsis: the earlier sense o horror gives rise to purer and nobler feelings.

Hitchcock encourages  what could be described as false identification with evil characters, such as Norman Bates in Psycho, only to change later that identification.

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