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Film art - Essay Example

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Date Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho – A Masterpiece of Sound and Shots In Citizen Kane: The Sound of the Look of a Visual Masterpiece, Philip Brophy made much of certain aspects of Citizen Kane, the groundbreaking movie that is still considered the cinematic standard by which all films must be judged…
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Download file to see previous pages... One of the elements of Citizen Kane that Brophy focused on is vocal performance of all the main cast members of this movie. He says that it was Orson Welles’ special talent to bring the most out of his actors as far as their vocal inflections and other aural aspects. For instance, he talks about the reporter’s bland voice, which was right for the part, because the reporter was supposed to be one of the least colorful characters in the film (Brophy, 2). Another vocal performance that was focused on was that of Susan Alexander, describing her voice as phlegmy, and full of repressed anger. The questioning of the librarian brings a scolding that is whispered, but full of indignation (Brophy, 2). In Psycho, there are similar aspects of the film that brings this film to life. The most obvious, of course, was Norman Bates and his “mother.” Bates has a pitch-perfect imitation of his mother, so much so that the audience could never suspect that the mother actually was not a separate person at that point. The arguments that emanate from the spooky old house on the hill that is directly behind the Bates Motel could never, in the audience’s wild imagination, be just one person arguing essentially with himself. The voice inflections and the pitch of the voice of the mother are so real that it is that much more shocking to find out, in the climax, that Norman’s mother had been dead for many years, and that the “mother” was, at that point, nothing but a skeleton with a robe and wig on, sitting in the apple cellar. This is not the only vocal performance that brings suspense to the film. Janet Leigh’s performance as the lead character, Marion, also brings a sense of suspense to the film. For instance, when she is stopped by the policeman early on in the film, her talking is way too fast. This, combined with her overall shifty-eyed look gave the policeman reason to suspect that she was hiding something, and she was, indeed - $40,000 that she had embezzled from her employer. This same tone of voice is employed when she went to buy a new car – her speech was tight and quick. She was extremely nervous, and this nervousness was evident in her voice and her overall body language. Because the audience knew that Marion was not that good of an actress (although Leigh certainly was), it became obvious when she felt comfortable and when she felt uncomfortable. It was completely in her voice. Therefore, when she was talking to Norman in his room – while she ate her sandwich, while looking at the creepy stuffed owls and such – it was obvious that she felt completely comfortable. For whatever reason, there was nothing in Norman’s weird demeanor that gave her pause. If there was something, Marion would not have been able to hide it. She couldn’t hide nervousness, this was obvious. Therefore, the audience was clued into Marion’s state of mind throughout the film – it showed in her voice and her body language. Similarly, Brophy stated that this is an important part of the vocal characterizations – the changes in the voice of the character would signify the different states of mind that the character might go through during the course of the film (Brophy, 3). While the characters in Citizen Kane had different vocal inflections because the voices of the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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