Analysis Of The Final Scenes Of Alfred Hitchcocks Essay

This essay has a total of 1220 words and 6 pages.

Analysis Of The Final Scenes Of Alfred Hitchcocks Notorious

Analysis of the Final Scenes of Alfred Hitchcock's Notorious

After viewing Alfred Hitchcock's Notorious for the first time, the film
did not strike me as particularly complex. Nothing specific about the film
lodged itself in my brain screaming for an answer—or, at least, an attempted
answer. Yet, upon subsequent viewings, subtle things became more noticeable.
(Perhaps Hitchcock's subtlety is what makes him so enormously popular!)
Hitchcock uses motifs and objects, shot styles and shifting points of view, and
light and dark to help explain the relationships between Alicia, Devlin,
Sebastian and Mrs. Sebastian, and an overall theme of being trapped. An
analysis of the film from the first poisoning scene to the final scene in the
film shows how the above tools lead to a better understanding of the
character's motivations.

The most obvious recurring object in the final scenes is the poisoned
coffee cup. In the first scene of the portion being analyzed, Sebastian
suggests to Alicia that she drink her coffee, and Hitchcock zooms onto the
object as she slowly takes a sip. In a later scene, Mrs. Sebastian pours the
coffee into the cup for Alicia, and sets it on a small table in front of her.
Here, Hitchcock not only zooms in on the small teacup, but heightens the sound
it makes connecting to the table, includes it in every shot possible, and shows
us not only the full coffee cup, but the empty cup as well after Alicia has
drank it. Again, the cup is zoomed in on after Alicia realizes she's being
poisoned. Because the coffee is poisoned, the coffee itself becomes a metaphor
for life and death, supported by the fact that the poisoner herself ours it,
and the shots of the full and empty teacup. In this way, it also suggests
Alicia's inability to escape her situation—whenever she drinks the coffee, she
becomes trapped due to the poison in her cup—and the poison in her sham of a

A repeated object not so noticeable is Mrs. Sebastian's needlework.
Mrs. Sebastian is constantly working on her needlepoint while Alicia is being
poisoned. Hitchcock, in fact, goes out of his way to make sure that a shot of
her 'toiling at her work' is included several times. One cannot help but be
reminded of Dickens classic A Tale of Two Cities—with Madame Defarge knitting
everyone's fate into her work. At the beginning of the film, Devlin hands
Alicia a handkerchief, and a scarf, which she keeps, but returns to him in this
segment. These pieces of cloth throughout the film help tie Alicia to the
different characters, and in essence, help control her fate in different

Hitchcock's use of shot type is another hint into his character's
personalities. Hitchcock is very fond of medium and close-up shots, and rarely
uses a longer shot in the film. This may suggest to the audience to keep a
closer eye on the character's facial expressions, as Hitchcock lets the actors
express their thoughts and feelings in this manner. An excellent example of
this would be when Alicia realizes that she is being poisoned Hitchcock zooms
in on her wide-eyed expression as she first looks at the teacup, then at Mrs.
Sebastian and her husband. Mrs. Sebastian's cold hearted stare back at Alicia
tells us exactly just how much hatred she has for her.

Hitchcock also uses devices in his scenes such as fades from shot to
shot. By doing this, Hitchcock illustrates his character's different
viewpoints. The fades themselves are used to connect Alicia's two different
worlds—her ‘fake' world (her marriage to Sebastian), and her 'real' world (her
relationship with Devlin). For example, when Alicia is unable to make contact
with Devlin due to her illness, there are several shots of her in her sick bed,
then fading to Devlin waiting impatiently at a bench. The fading between shots
usually comes at a point when Alicia is feeling trapped, and this suggests that
the fades represent her desire to escape back to her 'real' world.

Since, obviously, it is difficult to use colour as a nuance in a black
and white film, Hitchcock makes use of light and dark images. When Alicia and
Sebastian are alone together, it is usually in darkness.— implying safety in
Continues for 3 more pages >>

  • Film Noir
    Film Noir Forty years after Raymond Borde and tienne Chaumeton defined the challenge, critical commentators on film noir continue to grapple with it. Ironically, American writers did not immediately take up consideration of this indigenous phenomenon and the question of its "essential traits." Only gradually in a frequently cross-referenced series of essays in the 1970s did they begin to express themselves. There are now a dozen full-length books in English concerning film noir and undoubtedly
  • Dominican music and film
    Dominican music and film The Caribbean island nation of the Dominican Republic is little known by most Americans, but America is ever present in the Dominican consciousness. Until Sammy Sosa and Mark McGuire went head to head in the legendary homerun battle of 1998, few Americans were aware of any American-Dominican rivalry in western hemispheric culture. Nothing gave Dominicans more pride than to see Sosa hold Major League Baseballs homerun record, albeit for less than 24 hours before McGuire
  • Americanization
    Americanization "Former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau once compared liking next to the United States to sleeping with an elephant. He said, ‘You cannot help but be aware of its every movement.\'" The issue of American culture and its globalization has raised a lot of controversy. "The era of globalization" is becoming the preferred term to describe the current times. The term Americanization has been around for years. It wa
  • Americanization
    Americanization "If you ask me to name the proudest distinction of Americans, I would choose- because it contains all the others- the fact that they were the people who created the phrase to make money. No other language or nation had ever used these words before; men had always thought of wealth as a static quantity- to be seized, begged, inherited, shared, looted or obtained as a favor. Americans were the first to understand that wealth has to be created." Ayn Rand People have always been inte