‘There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it’ Alfred Hitchcock The auteur theory began to develop in the 1950s it started with the writers of Cahiers du Cinema including Francois Truffaut who began to discuss that the directors personal vision within films, they should instead go beyond and express their individuality in response to the industrialised conveyer belt of Hollywood, churning out clone like films. This was beginning to develop in relation with the French New wave a new way of experimenting with film form. The films you create to be seen as an auteur must be unique have its own individuality and express a different style of creating such works then have these common threads running through their cinematographic library. The films become works of art and breaks film conventions of it times. Their distinctive style comes through the manipulation of the camera lens how the shot looks, the mise en scene, editing and sound this all bring the directors vision to life. In this essay I will be talking about the auteur theory in relation to Alfred Hitcock and his works and how the theory itself comes into practice within the themes and the aesthetics of his films.
Hitchcock’s films regularly have the theme of voyeurism within them, they also have very similar visuals like the extreme close-up as well as rather jarring music that complement perfectly to the scene both diegetic and non-diegetic like Psychos screeching shower theme and Rear Windows street sounds. The ideology he encompasses within his films and his love for blondes was also apparent “Blondes make the best victims. They're like virgin snow that shows up the bloody footprints. ” (Hitchcock) from Grace Kelly in Rear Window (1954) to Kim Novak in Vertigo (1958) and many more.
Film in general is voyeuristic, the audience submissively watches these characters and the story play out in front of them, Hitchcock plays on this, as the ‘respectable’ audience is taking part in this ‘peep show’. Also in Rear Window the theme of voyeurism is of the most obvious of Hitchcock’s films. A story about a photographer (voyeuristic profession) L.B Jeffries, who is confined to his apartment due to an accident, starts to gaze out of his rear window peering in to the lives of his neighbours. He then suspects Thorwald of murdering his wife. Jeff is indeed the voyeur, getting pleasure as well as the solace from boredom from these people who don’t know they are being watched. However we the viewer also become part of this theme, as we watch we are entertained by the seeing these characters looking into their life becoming the voyeur. He uses this same motif and confronts the audience in Rear Window as Jeff is being confronted by Thorwald as he asks the audience directly ‘what do you want from me?’ breaking the fourth wall and looking straight at the audience. It gives you taste of reality in confines of the constructed nature of film even though it portrayed as most realistic.
Psycho, a story about Marion who ends up in the secluded Bates Motel after stealing money from her manager: and of the motels owner the unhinged Norman, ‘it even set a new level of acceptability for violence, deviant behaviour and sexuality. ’ Similarly to Rear Window, Psycho begins moving towards a hotel window, through which the audience is introduced to Marion, the audience peering into her life. Some instances of voyeurism we see are when Norman gazes at Marion as she takes her clothes off, the audience also taking part in these acts of voyeurism. The moment were we see this best is one of cinemas best known scenes, the shower sequence. The audience watches as Norman waits behind the shower curtains, rips it back and stabs her to death. The shot is comprised by a multitude of different angles, so a lot of different perspectives for the viewer to watch this violent