The work of Alfred Hitchcock (as can currently be seen at the BFI Southbank here in London) attracts a great deal of attention from film theorists for his formalist technique, but it’s not often for the complexity of his film work . Rather, it’s his devastating simplicity. The great director knew exactly how the pieces of a film fit together, and could use a few simple shots in tandem to conjure a world of tension and emotion. It’s the economy of their cutting which the great Hitchcocks – Psycho, Rear Window, Vertigo – are remembered for.
Here he is demonstrating the Kuleshov Effect – if you haven’t heard of it, you certainly will be aware of the principle. Here, Hitch himself takes us through a humorous example of the phenomenon in just over a minute.