The 1960 psychological thriller, Psycho, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, challenge of social, film conventions and audience expectations at the time. The scene reveals an underlying uneasiness in the character of Norman Bates. The extract, the parlour scene, shows how Hitchcock uses cinematography and mise-en-scene to reveal the many layers of meaning to the audience. The film technique contribute to the themes, issues of duality of human nature, family. The context of the parlour scene is when Marion has arrived at the Bate’s motel and Norman Bates has invited her for dinner.
One aspect of the mise-en-scene is the lighting in the parlour scene, which contributes to different layers of meaning to the audience. Marion, for instance, sits near and slightly behind the lamp. Her face is well lit and she, like a lamp, appears to radiate a glowing warmth. She is not hidden by shadows which display her dark side. This is in contrast with Norman Bates who has been positioned slightly to one side. The effect is light and shadow to emphasis his duality of personality . The low lit lighting to an unnatural starkness that indicates something hidden. Marion is very exposed in comparison. Sharp, angular shadows on the wall and ceiling above Norman.
The contrast in lighting emphasises the duality of Norman’s human nature. The camera angle reveals to the audience the troubled mind of Norman as he does with the lighting. Hitchcock places the camera near eye-level so the audience sees Marion showing a sense of normalcy in her presence. This is juxtaposed with the camera angle of Norman Bates. Norman’s angle suggests that his world is skewed, off balance and out of Kilter. The camera angles show the camera looking up at Norman Bates showing him more powerful and the camera looks down at Marion to show her vulnerable. Marion is surrounded by scenic details that make her a sympathetic character; not without her flaw. The walls behind her are soft and brightly lit.