the rigorous m

bits and bobs, quotes and catching up

smith on hitchcock’s understanding of emotion and suspense

Posted by rigorousm on March 10, 2015

Hitchcock… knew that to hook a film audience with real suspense you have to let them in on parts of the plot or understandings of narrative atmosphere that the people in the story can’t have or understand. ‘The whodunnit contains no emotion. The audience are wondering, they’re not emoting, they’re not apprehensive for anyone… When the film is finished and the revelation comes, well, you get two or three minutes of saying, ‘ah, I told you so,’ or ‘I thought so,’ or ‘fancy that.’ I prefer to do the suspense film by giving all the information to the audience at the beginning of the picture.” … Hitchcock creates a psychological gray area where the division isn’t between us and the story on the screen, it’s between those who know and those who don’t. In this way, knowledge becomes more than plot; it becomes a key to understanding action and morality.

— Ali Smith, “On edge,” Artful pp 123-124.


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