Now HOW THE FUCK am I supposed to pull all this together so that it makes some semblance of an essay? How do I make sense of all of this jumble???
Ok, I have two hours - if I've not got it done, it will have to be in on Thursday...
And yes, I admit it - I am procrastinating on here again because I'm nervous/scared of getting started on the thing... Been so long since I wrote anything remotely academic *sigh*...
*runs in terrified circles*
How does the mise en scene convey the narrative in the (parlour) scene in Psycho?
How the hell should I know??
Classic vamp situ – lost and weary traveller – perhaps on the run from some difficult situation or other - turns up at a foreboding building in the rain looking for safety and shelter – they are destined to DIE!! (also parodied in Rocky Horror)
Doors – from meeting on the steps – invite to HER room refused (like a vamp crossing the threshold) – then into office (neutral space) – then into parlour (HIS space).
Something sinister lurks behind the shadowed doorway.
From the outset, he’s almost in dark/half-shadow. Before entering office he is already showing aspects of duality illustrated by his reflection cast in the window – (mirror-like) milk jug is pointing toward marion – she has been chosen – and she is lit by lamp on wall outside the office. Once in the parlour itself, Marion is much more lit – almost like an angel or a victim to him. Key light being a tiffany lamp positioned near and to her right. – Norms face perceived in half-light – Jekyll and Hyde – showing a sense of depravity – a darker side. Duality of character is exemplified through shadows and objects in scene
Round/smooth backgrounds – Marion vs dark/jagged/stark – Norman
Norm – harsh lines of pic frames, birds and hard angles to furniture. Half light – suggesting dual nature – unnatural/peculiar starkness to his lighting – angular shadows – something spiky and dangerous…nervous in anticipation and twiddling his fingers, stumbling over words eg. Falsity – long shadows and dark clothing.
Pic behind Norm is Susannah and the Elders / pic with hole behind is Rape of Lucretia – threatening poses of women in vulnerable situations.
Due to warmth of lighting, rounded edges of Marions cam angle – perceived as warm, motherly, framed by dom objects like table lamp with a warm glow and comfortable chair - by contrast Norm is sat perched on a hard, fairly high backed dining chair - round pic frames – suggesting womanliness – a feminine quality.redemption/atonement is possible – despite crim behaviour recently, she could almost be an angel. Redeemable.
Jug of milk – maternal – white (angelic) graceful curves – essential goodness of character – we all go a little mad sometimes – curves in hair and posture of actress – contributes to the suggestion that she will be the victim. Warm, innocent, unknowing.
Eyelines – looking up to house – status levels of camera/actors positions.
Marion shot looking up to Norman and front on. She is less powerful and in a vulnerable position. Makes Norm the hunter and Marion the prey – emphasised by his stuffing of birds and the fact that the birds themselves are positioned looking down on the scene – judgemental – representing his mother. Birds are also heavily shadowed. Brooding quality conveyed with presence of birds looking/swooping.
Sound – score played entirely on stringed instruments – used to heighten tension.
Lots of shot-rev-shot until she asks about mother – a comfortable conversational/interview style of filming up until now suddenly becomes more intent – chars are leaning in toward each other – then focused closer in on faces – increasing tension for the audience as they are drawn in to more worrying dialogue than the previous pleasantries exchanged.
Angles of status changed.
People often look up when they’re remembering something personal (madhouse line)
“You mean an institution? A madhouse?”
“cluck their thick tongues” – birds = women
Bird refs – phoenix, Arizona – sailing in cam angle like a bird alighting on the window ledge
Stuffed birds in parlour
Pics of birds outside bathroom door
Earlier in scene Norm tells Marion she ‘eats like a bird’
“she needs me…” – emphasis on ‘me’ - is this a cry for help? (note his pleading expression) – desperate tone – an attempt to be able to find someone to confide in?
Status at end – Marion has stood up and has made her decision. Norman looking up – almost begging her to stay but in shot there is a black raven almost pecking at her shoulder – in premonition of ‘mothers’ attack that follows.
Pulling herself out of a trap with regards to the money – and also out of difficult conversation in the parlour perhaps? Initial confrontation in this scene between Marion and Norman has been used to sway sympathy from Marion to Norm – compelling audience to identify with the quiet/shy char who is so devoted to his mother that hes lost his own identity. Marions crim behaviour doesn’t compare favourably to Norms seemingly honest/respectable exterior.
But there is a false sense of safety in this status reversal. She has gone into the parlour – but, at this point, has gotten herself out of the web. At least, the audience think so!
Mise en scene suggests intent of characters within the scene as the audience pull all elements – sound, visual, set dressing, performance together in their minds – they may have an uneasy inkling of what is to come, but for the moment they are reassured when she, upon returning to her room decides to return the money and face the consequences.
That's All Folks!!
I *pwomise* I'll get off lj and apply myself now - at least after another cig lol!