Alfred Hitchcock: Identity
Updated on June 1, 2008, 6:14 PM - Written by Tim Buttner
Alfred Hitchcock had cunning in the presentation of certain ideas in his movies such that psychologists were able to take great pleasure in psychoanalyzing Hitchcock's characters. The concept of identity, or more so the lack of self identify, in Hitchcock characters is an examination of the human psyche and as a result brings questions about what is identity.
In Hitchcock's Psycho the character of Norman Bates has a particularly warped identity crisis. Norman is Norman Bates, but at the same time he is also his mother, at least in the capacity of a split-personality where he can either entirely be himself, entirely be his mother, or be capable of holding conversations between both personalities. When he assumes the identity of his mother he dresses like her, talks like her, and kills in jealous rage like her. At least he's not a compulsive thief.
Marnie Edgar has an identity crisis that exists because she's a con artist and a compulsive thief, although it could exist for reasons that stem back to a traumatic experience in her past. Does Marnie really know who she is? Truth is yes, but that doesn't mean that those she interacts with can't have a troublesome time with her identity. She has an old employer who she robbed who believes her name to be Marion Holland who has black wavy hair, but sadly for him Marnie is a blond. Although she skips around with her identities at least she doesn't believe she's the reincarnation of a dead woman.
Judy Barton believes she's a reincarnation of Carlotta-- No wait, Judy pretends to be Madeline Elster who believes that she's the reincarnation of... Hitchcock has created a conundrum here of a real identity crisis. Judy has been hired by Madeline's husband, Gavin, to trick his old friend Scottie into believing that she's Madeline and that she's suffering from an identity crisis that makes her potentially suicidal so that they can kill Madeline and make Scottie a witness. The only problem is that Judy falls in love with Scottie as he falls in love with the idolization of Madeline.
Hitchcock was a psychologists best friend because he created such great case examples for them, especially in the realm of a person's identity.
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