Hitchcock Film Analysis

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Stars played a crucial role in the Hitchcock’s American films. When we analyse Hitchcock’s works in the 1940s and 1950s, it is deeply embedded in the star system. James Stewart served as Hitchcock’s icon of American manhood since his collaboration in Rope (1948). Amy Lawrence in her article “American Shame Rope, James Stewart, and the Postwar Crisis in American Masculinity” notes that “Stewart’s first film with Hitchcock highlights one of the recurrent themes of Stewart’s star image: the exploration of an American masculine subjectivity threatened at all times by a frequently undefined but inescapable sense of shame. While key elements of Stewart’s persona (a propensity for physical and spiritual suffering, lingering fears of inadequacy)…show more content…
War played a major role in the performance of Stewart during this period along with the public perception of his own war record added new dimensions to his troubled persona and addressed in unsettling numerous ways through his films. Though Rupert Cadell (James Stewart), Hitchcock could “consolidate the contradictions of Rope within a star persona that is at once sympathetic, troubled, disturbing and American in Hollywood at this time” (Lawrence 57). Rupert in the film serves as the “text’s original fascist and its ultimate American, the charmingly glib nihilist who asserts that “murder is a privilege for the few” and the righteous defender of the American way” (Lawrence 57). Rope is one of the transitional films that form part of the long postwar phase of Stewart’s career, where he spent five years trying desperately to re-establish his prewar popularity. This crucial period witnessed his shift from comedy to drama. But from 1946 to 1950, the films were evenly split between comedies and dramas which were either moderate success or outright flops. James Stewart can be seen as the most transparent of actors and according to Andrew Britton regards him as an “embodiment of homely, middle-American integrity and moral earnestness”…show more content…
Often Rupert uses gentle tone of mockery with women which is often signified by a soft voice, even murmuring is replaced by a harder, biting style when he puts someone on the spot. Because Rupert’s “faintly mocking, cynical air” vacillates between spoofing and embarrassing directness and with this he kept other characters on their toes and at a distance (Lawrence 59). Acerbic wit in 1940s Hollywood was often a sign of desexualised or sexually subversive character. If we analyse Hitchcock’s film the same characteristics can be seen in James Stewart in The Man Who Knew Too Much, Rear Window and Vertigo. While discussing Stewart’s performance in 1954 Rear Window, Naremore discounts/disregards “Hitchcock’s simplistic account of the Kuleshov effect or his glib descriptions of how the ‘best’ acting in movies is achieved” (240) This comment is applicable to Rope also: “As much a tour de force for the star as for the director,” each film “heighten[s] the cleverness of Stewart’s performance by severely constraining him” (241). Stewart’s “crisis of masculinity” is made visible most prominently through the spectacle of his suffering. Film after film wanted him to “exhibit unusual degrees of neurotic suffering, moral anguish, and
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