Alfred Hitchcock's Use Of Suspense In The 39 Steps

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After watching The 39 Steps (1935), I realized that Alfred Hitchcock really did have a talent for establishing suspense through films. Even though suspense was the primary focus, Hitchcock managed to effectively and intelligently mix humor, romance, and thriller. He uses a variety of techniques to convey these feelings to the audience. According, to some of his interviews with Francois Truffaut, Hitchcock mentions his love for The 39 Steps, specifically about the techniques he uses to create a bewitching experience throughout the film. In this film, he uses a variety of themes that he continued to constantly use throughout his later films. Around 1935, “talkies” were just being released and The 39 Steps was one of the many first “talkies” that …show more content…

For instance, Hitchcock purposefully used specific shots to captivate the acting and emotions of each character. In The 39 Steps, Hannay and Pamela (Madeleine Carroll) estranged and juxtaposition relationship, is what saves this film from being more than just suspense but helps add a romance touch to the film. When Hitchcock used wide shots, he captures the Hannay and Pamela’s emotional discomfort. The primary shots that Hitchcock uses in The 39 Steps, are close-ups instead of wide shots. Hitchcock uses close-ups to create suspicion in characters’ faces. A good example of this would be when Hannay and Pamela entered the hotel and talked to the hotel owners. Hitchcock zoomed into the owners face where no dialogue was needed to show that the characters were suspicious at first. Now, in order to show Hannay and Pamela’s marriage link through the film’s imagery, Hitchcock used a variety of imagery to suggest a romantic relationship link. The handcuffs could be seen as a symbol of wedding rings. Also the scene where they got into the car with the mistaken police, can be seen as the moment where they are off to their own honeymoon, which they later do go to a hotel and appear to be a recent married couple.

After I watched The 39 Steps a second time, I started to pay more attention to those transitions and themes that Hitchcock loved to use. The swift transitions

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