Thinking About Movies

In this modern day and age of instant entertainment, we can easily take things for granted. One of these things is the art of film making.

Stanley Kubrick and Alfred Hitchcock are famous directors who are both great examples of “Auteur theory.” The “Auteur theory” is the theory that  directors have a huge impact on the film and that directors have signature ways of directing a film. Directors, such as Stanley Kubrick and Alfred Hitchcock, can put their signature touch to their films just like fashion designers, writers, or painters. In Stanley Kubrick’s and Alfred Hitchcock’s films, they use suspense as a way to attract an audience, but the two of them use it in a very different way.  

Films like “North by Northwest” and “The Birds” by Alfred Hitchcock are two great examples of Hitchcock’s signature touch. Hitchcock uses suspense, but not the suspense you would think would be used in a horror movie. He gives the viewer information of what’s going to happen but doesn’t tell us when to expect it to happen. He creates an anxious feeling within the viewer by having them guess or figure out when it will happen. For example, in the film “North by Northwest,” there was a scene where the main character was stuck in a deserted area and it left the viewer wondering what was going to happen. The main character was supposed to meet someone but they never showed. The suspense was building up because we as viewers don’t know who they will meet. Since the unknown scares many of us, Hitchcock, as a director, uses it to his advantage to create great suspenseful movies.  Another example of Hitchcock’s touch can be seen in the film “The Birds.” He introduces the birds in the very beginning of the film and haunts us as viewers by consistently showing the birds in the frame. We as viewers begin to wonder what the birds will do. In many of the scenes he creates suspense when the scene is very quiet and there are sudden noises of birds to let us know that danger is coming. Yet we still question what the birds will do. Hitchcock builds up the suspense and blows it up in a unexpected manner. His intertwined suspense and surprise leaves viewers on the edge of their seat.

Another prime example of “Auteur theory” in films is “The Shining” by Stanley Kubrick. “The Shining” is a Kubrick signature movie. Hitchcock and Kubrick both use suspense in their films, but the two directors’ suspenseful touch are very different. Kubrick uses suspense more in a haunting way that doesn’t only leave the viewer guessing, but also leaves us mortified. In the film “The Shining,” Kubrick has his signature haunting music, and the scenes have eerie lighting. Kubrick follows the same guidelines of suspense but puts his own twist of horror and darkness to it. Kubrick creates suspense not only in the surrounding area, but focuses it on the actor’s face so that it haunts the viewer. Facial expressions and sounds are used to intensify your suspense throughout the film. Unlike Hitchcock, the suspense isn’t throughout the film; the suspense is spread out. Kubrick uses suspense through the beginning, middle, and end. Kubrick could film a joyful, sunny area, but turn the joyfulness into terror with eerie music. Kubrick plays with your mind more than Hitchcock, who uses suspense to shock and leave the viewer guessing. Kubrick scares the viewers by having them guess and uses it to his advantage to surprise us.

Albert Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick are two different directors, but they both have similar of making a film their own. Both use suspense but each of them use it in ways so different that we forget they are the same concept. They both use our fear of the unknown to their advantage and to intensify our emotions of anxiety, and they create our biggest fears by making them into reality. Anything can happen, we just don’t know when it will happen.

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