Examples of Point of View Shots

 

1. from Hitchcock's Suspicion (1941)

2. from Hitchcock's Suspicion (1941)


1. from Hitchcock's Suspicion (1941)

These stills are taken from a montage sequence early in the film, establishing that Linda (Joan Fontane) has fallen in love with the socialite playboy Johnnie (Cary Grant). This segment starts with a fade in to a closeup entirely from her point of view. We see her hand on the left as she is looking through magazines, with the opened pages suggesting that she is looking for photographs of Johnnie. As she runs across another picture of him, we see her right hand with the (highly symbolic) glasses entering the frame. The montage sequence then continues with a dissolve to a medium shot of Linda on the phone, inquiring about Johnnie.

 

 

 

2. from Hitchcock's Suspicion (1941)

These stills are taken from the first part of the last scene of the film. Here Linda's suspicion reaches a climax, as she thinks that Johnnie is in fact attempting to push her out of the car and over the edge of the cliff. Up to the end of this sequence, when the two confront each other, the scene is narrated almost exclusively from her point of view. The audience is very deliberately and skillfully drawn into her perspective by means of carefully orchestrated point of view shots that can be said to organize this entire sequence.

1. An establishing shot opens the scene.

2. A medium shot draws the audience to the estranged couple.

 

1

2

3. A point of view shot clearly places us in Linda's threatened position. We cannot help but see the scene from her perspective and are invited to identify with her.
 

3a

3b

4. A closer medium shot draws us into the psychological dynamics, with him stern and distant and her increasingly nervous.

In 4b she is shown to look down at the dashboard.

 

4a

4b

And 5. logically cuts to the point of view shot that matches the look of 4b.

6a. first cuts to a shot in which shows her looking, at the dashboard and then turning to look at him in

 

5

6a

6b. , which leads to

7. a countershot point of view shot from her perspective of his stern demeener. This again pl,aces us (visually and emotionally) into her perspective.

 

6b

7

8. cuts to a point of view shot from her perspective of his tightening grip.
 

8a

8b

9. and 10a. reverses the shot/countershot pattern of 6b and 7.
 

9

10a

10b and 11 reverses the look and point of view shot pattern of 5 and 6a.
 

10b

11

12a. cuts from the point of view shot of 11 to a closeup of her looking at the speedometer and then turning

12b. towards him.

 

12a

12b

12c and d prepare the
 

12c

12d

frightening point of view shot of 13, which is very dramatic and potentially scary, if the film's rhetoric has succeeded in drawing the spectator into her perspective and into her apparently rather precarious situation.
 

13a

13b

14. cuts back to the closeup of her looking.

14b. is an interesting shot, because it repeats her look at the speedometer (as in 12a., but also in 4b. and 10b.), but is not followed by the matching point of view shot.

 

14a

14b

Instead, 14c prepares the point of view shot of 15, which again is quite dramatic and frightening—if the film has succeeded in what it is obviously trying to do, namely draw the audience into an identification with her.
 

14c

15a

  As an exercise that will help build up (through confirmation and condensation) your film-critical vocabulary, I invite you to continue your own commentary along the lines suggested.  
 
 

15b

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