Film Analysis 4 Paper
April 24, 2018
The film Psycho was edited by George Tomasini, who has edited a number of works by Psycho’s director Alfred Hitchcock including The Birds, Vertigo, and Marnie. Tomasini’s film editing uses continuity editing with graphics, time and space and rhythm. Psycho also used discontinuity editing. The film used a variety of editing techniques such as flash cuts, and jump cuts. These editing techniques can be seen during the Shower scene. The flash cutting edits when Marion is being stabbed don’t delay enough to see that there is no skin penetration from the knife, but you know she is being stabbed. A match cut is used at the end of the Shower scene – when the water is seen spiraling down the drain, the shot has a dissolve effect and it shows a shot of Marion’s eye as she lies dead on the floor.
My selection for a pivotal scene in Psycho is The Shower scene. Obviously, but it is known as one of the most iconic scenes in cinema history! The use of music in this scene is spine chilling. The main sound used is a violin, which sounds like a sharp screeching, almost like the sharp knife that was used to kill Marion. Another use of sound is how you can hear the knife piercing her skin, but it is never shown to the audience. We’re convinced however, through the sight of Norman’s hand motion, the musical score, the sound effects, and precision editing. Some examples of diegetic sounds in this scene include; the running water in the shower, the scream of Marion, and the knife going through her skin. The main example of non diegetic sound in this scene is the music. Diegetic sound is actual sound (sound either on or off screen). Non diegetic sound is commentary sound (sound that is represented as coming from the source outside story space).
The entirety of Psycho’s soundtrack is amazing. Alfred Hitchcock himself even said “33% of the effect of Psycho was due to the music”. Take the shower scene again for example. Marion is in the shower, and all you hear is the water running. When Norman pulls the curtain open, the screeching of the violins begins. Marion starts screaming, and that paired with the music and Norman’s stabbing makes this scene horrifically unbearable. Marion collapses to the floor, and the violin stops playing. The only sound left is the running water from the shower. The iconic sound of the violin is what made this scene crucial to the soundtrack used in the film. In films such as Insidious for example, violins are used in scenes to help give the film a “jump scare”. In this film, the violins are used to give the film a soundtrack. Sure, it played as Marion was being murdered, but without the music, it wouldn’t make the viewer uncomfortable. The sound of a violin sounding the way it did makes the average person cringe, not because it sounds bad, but because it sends chills down your spine and gives you that uncomfortable feeling.