On the road with Hitchcock and Herrmann
Sound, music and the car journey in Vertigo (1958) and Psycho (1960)
in Partners in suspense
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Of all the Herrmann-Hitchcock collaborations, Vertigo and Psycho remain not only the most famous but also the most aesthetically different. The intensely romantic, full-bodied Wagnerian score of the first would seem diametrically opposed to the chilling, strings-only score of the second. While Vertigo deals with romantic obsession, the sound of Psycho is one of ‘primordial dread’. What unites the two films, however, is the dominant role played by Herrmann’s music. This chapter will discuss sound, music and the representation of two separate car journeys. Through detailed scene analysis as well as close engagement with the writings of Jack Sullivan, Michel Chion and Elisabeth Weis amongst others, the chapter examines the importance of sound (and Herrmann’s music) in both driving the narrative but also reflecting characters’ unstable subjectivity.

Partners in suspense

Critical essays on Bernard Herrmann and Alfred Hitchcock

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