I will begin by analyzing the lighting used in this scene. The lighting in this scene is very dim in order to emphasize the ominous atmosphere of the scene and uses only the natural light coming through the window and the artificial light coming from beneath the doorframe. The darkness is designed to give viewers a feeling of building suspense. A few minutes into the scene when the killer attacks the main character Hitchcock uses a technique called colour saturation to turn the whole scene bright red. The colour is meant to add to the sense of danger as red is an angry colour which is universally used to warn people of something dangerous.
Next I will analyze the editing technique used in the scene. The editing technique used in this scene is the same as the one used throughout the film and is called point of view editing. Point of view editing allows the dirctor to put an idea into the mind of the audience without explaining it using words. When the murderer enters the room Hitchcock uses a classic conversation shot with the camera cutting from one face to the other with each line. This is made more dramatic by the fact that both characters are standing in the shadows of the darkened apartment so not all of the face is clearly visible to viewers.
The sound used in this scene plays a crucial role in the overall atmosphere. The sound of the heavy footsteps coming up the stairs at the start of the scene is a movie classic, putting the viewer on the edge of their seat and building anticipation as they wait to see what is coming. For these few moments viewers can only hear what the character is hearing. The dramatic music track which begins to play when the killer and main character begin to fight adds to the sense of threat in the scene. The music is fast and choppy and is specifically created to have a threatening tone.
Finally we come to the actual cinematography of the scene as a whole. The scene is dimly lit and uses a combination of sound and editing to give a building sense of threat and make the viewer feel as though they are trapped in the room with the wheelchair bound character. The use of only natural light in some portions of the scene makes it feel more real to the people watching.
Everything in this scene is designed to make you frightened and keep you on the edge of your chair and it works perfectly. From the thumping footsteps and choppy music to the darkened room and dialogue everything is netted together in a rising sense of threat to make viewers fear for the characters safety.
Alfred Hitchcock – Alfred Hitchcock – Paramount Pictures Corp. – 1954