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Use of Birds in Psycho

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    Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho In this literary research project, I will delve into this movie to show that Alfred Hitchcock drew many of the elements in this work from birds. (Hitchcock, Alfred Joseph. Psycho. 1960. ) I picked this topic because I watched Alfred Hitchcock’s movies The Birds and Psycho when I was in high school and I was fascinated by the ideas that he presented in those films. I was fascinated at how he used birds as antagonists in The Birds. I watched Psycho after watching the birds and I noticed that there were many elements of that movie that made me think of birds.

    Psycho was made three years prior to The Birds and I believe that Hitchcock eventually decided to go ahead and make a movie starring birds after he had made one that had so many references to them. I have always been interested with how filmmakers think of and come up with ideas for stories. I have always liked making my own short films, but I have found that coming up with ideas for stories is always the toughest part. That is the reason that I would like the opportunity to explore deeper into Alfred Hitchcock’s works. I admire his works, and it seems to me that he has never been troubled by a shortage of inspirations.

    My struggles forced me to look to more unusual locations. I spent my days watching people and studying their motions and reactions to everyday situations hoping that I would find something that I could build on to. It seems to me that Alfred Hitchcock must have done similar things because he was able to create a masterpiece that captured an extreme psychological situation in great detail. When I was in high school I wrote a short two to three page paper about all of the bird references in Psycho. The closer that I looked at the movie the more things I found.

    The name of the lead female character is Marion Crane and she is from Phoenix. Crane and Phoenix are of course, both types of birds. Those references are not difficult to notice, but there are several others that require a more in-depth look at the work. Hitchcock uses many references to birds that do not specifically mention birds and are very subtle. The scene when Norman Bates stabs Marion in the shower has a few references to birds in it. The sound effects during the actual stabbing are high pitched shrieks similar to those of a bird of prey such as a hawk.

    The weapon and stabbing technique used to kill Marion Crane work together to form an allusion to birds. He uses a knife that he stabs downward with. This act is similar to how a bird would attack its prey. Marion is lower to the ground than Norman which adds to the idea that Hitchcock is using Norman to represent a bird swooping down on its prey. Hitchcock’s use of actual birds in some shots adds to the menacing nature of the movie. The scene with a large stuffed bird surrounded by shadows serves as foreshadowing for the trouble that is looming ahead for Marion. Wilshire, Peter.

    Alfred Hitchcock’s PSYCHO and ‘The Art of Pure Cinema. Australian Screen Education. 2009 This is an article written about Alfred Hitchcock’s film Psycho. It talks about how Psycho was one of Hitchcock’s experimental films because it was so unlike the norm of the day. It discusses how he assembled certain elements of film to create a frightening experience for his audience. Chandler, Charlotte. It’s Only a Movie: Alfred Hitchcock; A Personal Biography. Applause Books. This source is a full book length biography of Alfred Hitchcock. I will use sources like this to search for reasons as to why Hitchcock was so interested in birds.

    Spoto, Donald. The Dark Side of Genius: The Life of Alfred Hitchcock. Plexus Publishing, 1994. This book makes the case that since Alfred Hitchcock did not leave behind notebooks or journals he used his movies to tell his tale. It claims that his films are subtle representations of what was happening in the mind of this genius. Hitchcock, Alfred. Psycho. Paramount Pictures. United States 1960. This source is the movie Psycho itself Rebello, Stephen. Alfred Hitchcock and The Making Of Psycho. Open Road Integrated Media. 1999 This is a book that talks about the making of Alfred Hitchcock’s film Psycho.

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    Use of Birds in Psycho. (2017, Feb 14). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/use-of-birds-in-psycho/

    Frequently Asked Questions

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    What do birds symbolize in movies?
    In movie metaphors, birds can represent people who think they are above fate, or even fate itself.
    What do the birds symbolize in Psycho?
    Literally he is referring to his taxidermy, but it is actually a double entendre. He compares Marion to a bird earlier in the scene, and 'bird' is slang for a desirable woman, and of course, the word 'stuff' can be a euphemism for sex.
    What is the symbolism behind birds throughout the movie consider Hitchcock's use of mise en scene as it relates to birds?
    Colella writes that in the film the Birds serve as a symbol for fear and death and this symbolism is most obviously found in the parlor scene where Norman and Marion are getting to know each other.
    Why does Norman Bates do taxidermy?
    In Psycho, Norman Bates practises taxidermy to “fill” his “empty” time. But taxidermy is not used in the film merely as a marginal art practised by a marginalized character. It is a major motif that contributes significantly in adding to the Gothic atmosphere of the film.

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