Alfred Hitchcock Essay

Submitted By bobarin0401
Words: 1213
Pages: 5

According to Chapter 4 of Nicholas Haeffner’s book, Alfred Hitchcock, the author exchanges his views on the subject of realism and how it is portrayed in Hitchcock’s films. Early in the chapter, Haeffner mentions that since the beginning of his career, Hitchcock received criticism for the lack of realism that was not portrayed in his films. The criticisms Hitchcock received regarding this subject did not matter to him. Hitchcock believed that the people who viewed his films wanted them to be credible, not just ordinary. As a director, Hitchcock understood that there was a fragile line that separated the two. An example that supports Hitchcock’s opinion can be viewed on page 56, where he states, “I don’t try to put onto the screen what is called ‘a slice of life’ because people can get all the slices of life they want out on the pavement in front of the cinemas and they don’t have to pay for them. On the other hand, total fantasy is no good either…” (56) The film, The Wrong Man, can be used as a prime example to demonstrate this fragile line that exists between realistic and unrealistic.
The film, The Wrong Man, follows the unfortunate events that took place in Manny Balestero’s (played by Henry Fonda) life. Manny was a local musician in New York City, who was wrongfully accused of armed robbery. Faced with serving jail time, Manny has no other choice but to try to clear his name. With the help of his wife, Rose (played by Vera Miles), he attempts to track down the people who can testify to his whereabouts in order to support his alibi. Stricken with even more unfortunate luck, Manny soon discovers that the individuals who can confirm his innocence have all deceased. Confronted with the possibility that Manny will be placed in jail for the lack of evidence to clear his name, Rose suffers a mental breakdown and is placed in the hospital. While watching his life crumble apart, Manny decides to take advice from his mother and prays to God for assistance. In a fortunate turn of events, the man who was responsible for committing the armed robberies was finally captured by the police. Manny is cleared from all the charges that he faced, but unfortunately for Rose, it will still take some time for her to heal from the mental break down. The film ends with a director’s note that informs the audience: two years after these events, Rose fully recovers from her breakdown and the couple currently lives in Florida. The Wrong Man is one of the few movies directed by Hitchcock that is based on actual events. In order to help the audience believe this film was not fictionalized, Hitchcock explains to his audience at the beginning of the film that this is based on a true story. This story helps to represent Hitchcock’s capability of delivering a film that represents duality of fantasy and reality.
Despite the fact The Wrong Man was based on actual events, the story does follow themes that are common in Hitchcock’s films. One of these topics that Hitchcock likes to include in his films is his portrayal of criminality and law. Identical to the film Saboteur, The Wrong Man follows the idea of an innocent man being wrongfully accused for a crime he didn’t commit. In Saboteur, Barry is wrongfully accused of setting his factory on fire. While in The Wrong Man, Manny is incorrectly blamed for a series of robberies that take place in his neighborhood. This reoccurring scenario that is regularly used in many of Hitchcock’s films represents imperfections of our legal system. Hitchcock’s idea of using a wrongfully accused man is one of the many ways that he expresses his opinions on the judicial system. On page 62, Haeffner uses the scene where Manny is brought in for questioning as an example. Haeffner reflects on this scene by stating, “In the room where Manny is questioned by the police, a large, messy hole can be seen in the wall, indicating that the police station (and by implication, the justice system) is in an