Cinematic Techniques in Vertigo: Filmic Apparatus


According to Laura Mulvey, the scriptwriters aim to entice men through what they view. The use of the female image is, therefore, suitable for such visual pleasure. For instance, the gaze depicted masculinity even though a woman was the reason for the stare. The image of the gaze could either be objectified or put in a way that the masculine would identify with. It is meant to fulfill the mental arousal and desires of men. In this case, a man is considered to be more superior to a woman who should be submissive in the society. The woman is meant merely to be looked at and admired. The mind of the masculine has been cited to be easily aroused by the existence of a female who especially is scantily dressed or in a suggestive sexual manner.

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The ‘gaze’ Analysis

The movie, Vertigo by Hitchcock displays and gives strength to Laura Mulvey’s argument, especially in the first scenes. The clip starts from scene one by giving a view of women showing their mouth, specifically with emphasis on their lips, and giving a hint of what women’s eyes speak. The feminine is later seen to be fearful, and the movie does not give a sight of what the lady is afraid of. Such gazes are aimed at arousing the protective character of the man who is known to have a soft spot for a lady in danger. Hitchcock acquires sympathy for Scottie when he hangs on the rooftop. In this shooting, the camera is angled in a way illustrating the point of view by Scottie who is helpless, tired and exhaustedly hanging on the top. The setting makes the audience to identify with the protagonist and gain sympathy. The audience understands the film by observing the eyes of Scottie who is seen to objectify Kim Novak as he gives his point of view and asserts Hitchcock’s camera.

Through the scenes, the camera is seen to capture sexual moments by exploring and going through Novak’s body intensively showing the eyes, the nails and the feet in different settings. The gaze by Scottie is lustful, sexual and fetish and that is what is instilled in the audience. Moreover, it entices the male audience who is aroused by the sexual image of the woman. The kissing couple also is set to give a mental sooth to the masculine gender as the camera takes moments in capturing their view. Although other gestures are depicted in the film, Hitchcock puts dominance on the glance at Scottie by undermining, undercutting and neutralizing the female stare. He ensures the camera positioning, moves, tricks, and frames are more centered on the dominant male look giving the masculine a central position. Sexual relationships, romantic moments and love affairs have been used in the movie to indicate how women attract men in the society with their physical appearance.

The normal positioning of the photograph and the time owned by the protagonist is vital in the production of a movie. The capturing of the protagonist does not only have an upper meaning but also a more profound inner meaning. The production apparatus of the movie and especially the photograph should, therefore, be placed in a way that the purpose of the film is clear. For instance, in scene one, the camera is placed in a dangling manner to show how Scottie is handing on the abyss. The setting of the photograph while capturing the sexy pictures of the woman, especially directing the view to the nails when in the salon, the legs when in the shoes store and the lips when she seeks to speak gave a vivid description of the event at that time.

Relationship between the Protagonist and Film Apparatus

The protagonist is normally the main actor who usually interact with the film production apparatus. The storyline lies behind this actor. Emphasis must be, therefore, put in such a way that all the attention of the audience is drawn the character. All other participants are only used to give support to the protagonist. It is possible a film holds more than one protagonist. While much of the themes and intentions of the scriptwriter are shown through the positive actor, other film characters often put emphasis and breaks between the major details on the script. It is important to note that the main character creates the mood and atmosphere of the film. In most cases where the view of the audience is designed to be through the eyes of the masculine, the protagonist is the woman on who the gaze is expressed. The objectification of this woman creates the mood for the movie and gives the suggestion creating the intended suspense in the script.

The camera is set in such a way while capturing the protagonist, it provides an emphasis on the significant details of the film. It gives a detailed explanation of what the filmmaker wants you to have a view of. It also offers a larger arousal to the masculine, especially when such emphasis is put on sexual escapades and details. The stage on which the play is set should be raised in a way that the main actor’s presence is appreciated. It normally is done through the use of a raised stage, the central place of the character and proper lighting on locations where the main character is set. The timing given when the main player is on stage normally is longer as compared to all the other participants. During production, the sound systems are enhanced in the presence of the character.

The relationship between the protagonist and the film production apparatus is one based on the intentions of the scriptwriter. The apparatus is only directed to suit the writer’s ideas. The purposes of the film which ranges from the creation of suspense, the instilling of mental pictures and the capturing of the attention of the audience are mainly driven to give it a meaning. This relationship cuts across all genres of the movie from horror, educative, cartoons, romantic among others.


Although the woman has in most films objectified as the item of gaze, the perspective of the script is well presented to the audience through the content. The fantasy and the mental picture created in the film mostly draw the attention of the audience towards understanding the purpose of the art. The production of films is also based on the demand for the same and the target market. While designing a product, it is important to understand the preferences of the customers. Therefore, it is the reason why the film industry has emphasized on the use of the female to gravitate men in watching movies.