Since the beginning of making films and the commencement of this art and industry as a whole, we could notice that there are several directors who stand out of the crowd saliently. One of these directors is definitely Sir Alfred Hitchcock. Hitchcock has directed several films that trumped the charts, grossing millions and putting the audience in shock due to the way he directs his films. Hitchcock’s movies can be compared and contrasted on several platforms; these platforms include filming techniques, setting, characters, plot and the underlying messages.
The two Hitchcock films that are going to be compared and contrasted are Strangers on a Train and The Birds. Hitchcock uses several techniques such as camera shots, mis-en-scene, imagery and others to distinguish between genders and portray gender segregation in both films. There are three different main points in which Hitchcock uses as a delivery mechanism to convey and illustrate gender segregation; the first is the concept that women are the root of all problems.
In both films, a certain perspective can be used to view that all predicaments in the plot are directly and indirectly instigated by females, such as how Melanie indirectly cause the attacks, or how Miriam’s greed indirectly caused her death. Moving on, the second point is the idea that men are superior to women. Hitchcock illustrates male superiority through his pictures through several filming techniques; Hitchcock demonstrates the inferiority of women to men, and how men are superior in most aspects of life. The third and final point is the dependency of females on males.
Both second and third points are interlocked to a certain extent due to the fact that Hitchcock uses several scenes to portray how women are dependent on men to aid them and help them find a solution to their problems. Regarding the concept of having females be the root of all problem, both films have different women that both contribute directly or indirectly to the problem in the plot. Regarding Strangers on a Train, there are several events that take place that contribute to the problem which is Bruno’s attempt to pull off a criss-cross murder plan with Guy Hanes.
The first problem and the spark that ignites the entire crisis is Miriam’s greed. Aw we have seen, Miriam refuses to divorce Guy due to his progressive wealth and fame, which would make him obliged as a husband to financially aid her. This hinders the process of divorce, causing Bruno to cook up the murder plan. If it was not for Miriam’s greed and unwillingness to divorce the man she did not love, she would not have been killed and the while plot would have ended by the time Guy and Bruno take lasts looks to each other as they go on their own separate ways.
This shows how females, which in this case are just Miriam, have contributed to creating the problem which led to greater damage to other individuals and to society as a whole. Some may argue that Bruno is in fact the root of the problem, but if looked at from a different perspective, we could see that the root of Bruno’s nature goes back to a female, his mother. We have seen Bruno’s mother, filing his nails, joking around with him and asking to serve him, which shows how Bruno is pampered by his mother.
The contradictory combination of the pampering he receives from his mother and the resentment he has towards his father has created a mental paradox causing Bruno to act the way he does. This illustrates how his mom, a female, is instead the root of the problem for not trying to better of him but trying to just delay his grand finale as a mentally ill individual. Both of these events contribute to the concept that is that women are the cause of all problems in Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train, creating gender segregation and excluding male from the concept of causing trouble.
On the same page, the theory that women are the cause and root of all problems whether directly or indirectly could be applied to Hitchcock’s The Birds. In this particular film it is quiet more salient that women are the cause of all problems and they have kindled the fire that is the attack of nature that is the birds. First of all, it is mentioned in the film that Melanie has grew up without a mother and that her mother had left her a long time ago; this lack of motherhood in her life has contributed to her growing up into the devious, manipulative lying individual that she is portrayed as through the movie.
This lack of motherhood is caused by the selfishness of the mother due to the fact that she had abandoned her daughter, and yet again this contributes to the idea that the problem is caused by women because Melanie’s nature is what brought to Bodega Bay in the first place, causing the attack; this nature of hers was acquired through the lack of parenting. Therefore, the departure of Melanie’s mother is what indirectly caused the attack. Moving on, Melanie is the one that brings the birds into the equation in the first place, purchasing the love birds and going to gift them to Kathy for Mitch’s attention.
As a plank-player, a manipulative individual and a compulsive liar, she has made the small helpless and caged lovebirds a pawn in the situation for her own personal interest. Unjustly involving nature in her impure and filthy attempt to impress a man has angered the greater force of nature forcing to them to attack. This depicts how Melanie and her corrupt and foul nature have caused the birds to launch this attack on society and especially on Bodega Bay. Lastly, if all women in The Birds are to be analyzed, then it would be quiet prominent that all women in the film are squabbling over men.
Firstly, Melanie, as we know is trying to get Mitch; Anne on another hand, still loves Mitch and that’s why she did not out of Bodega Bay, because she still wants him. Lastly, Lydia is trying to fight whatever stands in her way to keep her dear son beside her. All this squabbling indirectly causes the attack of the birds due to the fact that the foul and corrupt human nature of these ladies has intimidated the birds into attacking and taking revenge on society.
All these examples manage to serve as evidence to the statement that in moth movies, Strangers on a Train and The Birds, that states that Hitchcock uses several scenes techniques to deliver the message of gender segregation and male superiority. Disregarding having women be the cause of all the problems In the films, there are other concepts that stress on gender segregation that are still to be discussed and analyzed. The following concept is that males are superior to females and that women are inferior to men. This is illustrated by Hitchcock in not only one but both movies to the audience.
In Strangers on a Train, there are several filming techniques used to portray male superiority. The first is camera shot whereas Bruno is killing Miriam. The camera shot is a close up on Miriam’s face with Bruno’s hands around her neck, killing her. Miriam is standing there helpless not being able to react. This shows her fragile nature compared to his superior, dominant and overwhelming nature. Then in the same scene, there is a low angel shot through the glasses were Bruno finally kills Miriam and places her on the rounds. The shot through the glasses shows how Miriam could see her own death yet be unable to do anything, and how that shows the dominant stature of man. Having this particular scene, and having women not be able to react and help themselves reaffirms mu original point which is that Hitchcock uses techniques to portray gender segregation in his films, due to the fact that he has succeeded in making men look superior to women, Another example in Strangers on a Train is Bruno’s mom.
Bruno’s mom is a perfect picture of how a pampering mom is like. This nature of hers to serve Bruno, file his nails and do whatever he asks maybe perceived that women are at men’s service, showing female inferiority. Having Bruno’s mother always at his service makes it hard to just depict the relationship as a Mother-son relationship rather than a master-servant relationship. It is portrayed through the fact that she is always there to serve him that men are superior to women; women are inferior to men and are there support their needs.
The last but definitely not least piece of evidence is the fact that in Strangers on a Train all protagonists, good or bad, are males. In Strangers on a Train, the main characters are limited to Bruno and Guy, with no major interference from any female. The only female that could have been somehow a prospect to a larger role would have been Miriam, but Miriam was murdered in the first twenty minutes of the film. Having all protagonists in the movie as males displays how women are not as important as men in society and that all the significance should be aimed only towards males.
These three pieces of evidence serve as a platform on which Strangers on a Train is analyzed and compared The Birds on the basis of gender segregation. There are also several pieces of evidence in The Birds that serve as a basis on which the two pictures are compared and contrasted together. The same theory of male superiority is relevant to The Birds due to the following reasons. Throughout the film it is noticed that men are always the people to aid Melanie upon her request.
The clerk in the store aids her when she is trying to get to Mitch’s house; the man at the docks offers her a boat for transportation and of course having Mitch continuously aid her in the film to escape peril. Melanie is saved by Mitch several times along with Kathy and Lydia when the birds attack the home and all they women could do is run around and scream, while Mitch actually did something productive to try to decrease damages and save Melanie and his family. Moving on, it can also be noticed that men are the ones getting affected the most for what is supposedly an attack that was caused by women.
This was ironic to a certain extent because we can obviously men getting damaged more than women. For example, there is eyeless Bill, and the man with the cigar that explodes along with his car. Men are facing collateral damage to an attack that was not even caused by the,, taking responsibility for the women’s actions. This depicts men’s ability to take responsibility even for something that he did not do, unlike the cowardly women such as Melanie. As previously mentioned most female characters in the film have a goal of satisfying or taking Mitch.
The whole presence of Melanie is based on Mitch and wanting to develop a relationship with him; Anne lives alone with the goal that she will someday get Mitch back. Lastly, Lydia lives with Mitch in the house where she is doing her best to keep him to herself so she does not get lonely, due to the fact that she lost a husband and does not want her son to abandon her as well for his wife or his lover. The fact that all women in the movie have the goal of pleasing a man shows the superiority of men and how men are glorified objects and prizes in women’s and in the audience’s point of view.
In conclusion to male superiority to women in The Birds, we can observe that there is sufficient evidence to prove that Hitchcock is portraying gender segregation and distinction in his films in favor of men. The last main point which is somehow interlocked with the previous point to a certain extent is the dependency of women on men. Through both films, we can observe several aspects of film that contribute to this idea. Disregarding the previously mentioned evidence regarding the women always depending on Mitch to save them from their peril that they supposedly caused, there are other pieces of evidence that contribute to this concept.
Firstly, in Strangers on a Train there is only one case of dependence of women on men due to their inferiority and their small role in the movie. This case is Miriam’s dependence on Guy to supply her with money. She saliently does not love him like a wife should love her husband and she herself states that all she needs from as her legal partner is money. She is dependent on Guy to satisfy her greed, and is not working to the level required for her to satisfy this greed herself. The dependence of guy depicts how males are superior to women and that women base their needs and wants on them.
A set of evidence is also provided when it comes to The Birds that affirms the theory that women are dependent on men in these two particular pictures. Disregarding, how Mitch was saving the women, there are also some different cases to which this concept of dependence applies. The first of these cases concerns Lydia, Mitch’s mother. Throughout the movie, Lydia is portrayed as a really strong and prominent character, somehow eliminating some of the segregation that Hitchcock was creating, but of course Lydia breaks down later on.
Lydia breaks down because she is afraid that Mitch would leave her if he gets married, due to the fact that she was always dependent on Frank, her husband, but after his death, she is dependent on Mitch instead. This shows how Lydia cannot function properly without a man to her side, which again depicts the superiority of men. The second case is how Melanie, Kathy and Lydia are dependent on Mitch to do everything when the birds are attacking the house, although they are standing there doing absolutely nothing.
The three of them are trying to deceive themselves and tell themselves that everything is going to be alright due to the fact that Mitch is here to help. Little do they know, Mitch is human too, and he too is afraid, and he too might get injured or even killed like exactly what might happen to them. Their dependence on Mitch glorifies him and makes his image much more superior to women as a whole. After analyzing, comparing and contrasting both Hitchcock movies there are several concluding statements that may be made.
The first is that it is now palpable that Hitchcock uses several techniques such as camera shots, mis-en-scene, imagery and others to distinguish between genders and portray gender segregation in both films. There are three main ideas that serve as platforms on which both movies could be analyzed and compared and contrasted. The first of these ideas is the idea that women are the root of all problems, due to the fact that females either directly or indirectly contribute to igniting the fire that is the conflict in both movies. The second concept is that males are superior to females.
Through watching and analyzing both movies, there are several things that depict how men are superior to women and how women are completely and utterly inferior to men. The last of the three is the dependency of women on men. This concept is portrayed through the fact that the males in the movie are the ones who take responsibility, are productive, and save themselves along with women from peril. In conclusion, Hitchcock uses several aspects from The Birds and Strangers on a Train to portray and illustrate gender segregation and distinction in the favor of men.
Courtney from Study Moose
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