The Similarities of Alfred Hitchcock and Edward Hopper

Categories: Alfred Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock, also understood as, “The Master of Thriller”, was a director to a range of award winning movies. Numerous Hitchcock films will be noticeably influenced by many paintings, consisting of the work of renowned artist Edward Hopper. Hopper, born in New york city, was well known for his realist paintings. Comparing the paintings and films, one will see the similarities showed between the 2. Alfred Hitchcock and Edward Hopper are linked by creating an eerie mood through their use of lighting, structure, and perspective.

Both Hitchcock and Hopper tend to utilize dark lighting with shadows in addition to isolating a small group of individuals seen from an ‘outside looking in’ point of view. Edward Hopper is able to capture suspense in his paintings and he does this through his usage of lighting. He casts shadows and darkness in specific paintings in order to convey the mood he wishes to attain. In his most popular painting, “Nighthawks”, Hopper utilizes shadows as a strategy to produce a strange sensation for the scene.

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The only light in the painting seems originating from the diner itself.

It casts shadows on the outside that makes the viewer wonder what will happen next. Due to the fact that it is dark, there is something spooky about why these people are up so late in the evening. Similar to Hopper, Hitchcock uses mystical shadows to create this particular state of mind. This is seen through a still image of his movie “Rear Window”. Throughout this scene, the primary character Jeff, who is a wheel chair bound photojournalist, is challenged by Lars Thorwald, a taking a trip jewelry salesperson who Jeff thinks murdered someone.

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Lars shows up in Jeff’s home and the lighting cast upon him is dark.

His figure is plainly there however the shadows cover his face entirely, which assists to reveal this strange, spooky state of mind. Unlike Hopper, Hitchcock has a benefit of placing sound into the scene which contributes to the environment of unpredictability. If it had actually been day time or lighter in the space, the scene would not have represented the very same mood. This outstanding usage of shadows by both Hopper and Hitchcock develop the eeriness they are both popular for. Alfred Hitchcock tended to focus on a small group of main characters in each scene to create thriller. This was seen in his motion picture “Vertigo”.

The main character, Scottie, is a retired detective and was hired by Gavin Elster to follow his wife, Madeline Elster. As the plot thickens, Madeline supposedly jumps off the roof of the church and kills herself. Scottie meets a new woman, Judy Barton, who has an uncanny resemblance to Madeline. The scene in the still image is when Scottie is realizing that Judy pretended to be Madeline so Gavin could murder his wife and people would just assume she was crazy. As Scottie realizes this, the camera view is focused on just him. By isolating him alone, Hitchcock has enabled the audience to figure the plot out alongside Scottie.

This shocking revelation creates an eerie feeling and gets the intended mood across. Like Hitchcock, Hopper tends to use the technique of isolating his characters. In the painting “Automat”, there is a woman sitting by herself in a diner. Although not given off of the first impression, the painting can give off an eerie mood. For example, her facial expression is blank and she is drowning in the darkness from the back ground. The image presents a dead silence which helps express the intended mood. Hopper had a tendency to paint his paintings as an outsider perspective to build a sense of inscrutability.

In his painting “Nighthawk”, Hopper illustrates four people on the inside of a cafe. The viewer is able to see all of the people in the scene because of the point of view. The man on the far left has his back turned so one cannot interpret his mood; although his head is down which makes the viewer infer he is thinking. The girl and boy sitting next to each other may be a couple, but the viewer can not know for sure. The server may have a drink in his hand or it could be something more suspicious, but because the viewer cannot see his hands they cannot be certain of what the object is.

By being able to see everyone in the painting and being able to analyze each character, the mood conveys eeriness because the viewer has unanswered questions and mystery. Hitchcock also uses an ‘outside looking in’ point of view in the movie “Rear Window”. The plot of the movie is based around the main character watching people through his apartment window. In the still image, Jeff, the main character, watches as his neighbor goes in and out of his apartment and then takes knifes out of his suitcase. If the viewer was in the room with the neighbor, they would be able to tell what was going on.

By being on the outside, it leaves the viewer guessing which then creates a suspenseful, eerie mood. Edward Hopper and Alfred Hitchcock are un-doubtfully similar when it comes to details. Hitchcock may not be a painter, but his work has been influenced by paintings. The comparison between both of Hitchcock and Hopper’s work shows that art has an influence throughout all the different types there are. The two artists create different masterpieces, but the similarities between the two help distinguish the eerie mood.

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The Similarities of Alfred Hitchcock and Edward Hopper. (2016, Sep 20). Retrieved from

The Similarities of Alfred Hitchcock and Edward Hopper

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