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After viewing Alfred Hitchcocks Notorious for the first time the film did not strike me as particularly complex Nothing specific about the film lodged itself in my brain screaming for an answer--or at least an attempted answer Yet upon subsequent viewings subtle things became more noticeable Perhaps Hitchcocks subtlety is what makes him so enormously popular Hitchcock uses motifs and objects shot styles and shifting points of view and light and dark to help explain the relationships between Alicia Devlin Sebastian and Mrs Sebastian and an overall theme of being trapped An analysis of the film from the first poisoning scene to the final scene in the film shows how the above tools lead to a better understanding of the characters motivations The most obvious recurring object in the final scenes is the poisoned coffee cup In the first scene of the portion being analyzed Sebastian suggests to Alicia that she drink her coffee and Hitchcock zooms onto the object as she slowly takes a sip In a later scene Mrs Sebastian pours the coffee into the cup for Alicia and sets it on a small table in front of her Here Hitchcock not only zooms in on the small teacup but heightens the sound it makes connecting to the table includes it in every shot possible and shows us not only the full coffee cup but the empty cup as well after Alicia has drank it Again the cup is zoomed in on after Alicia realizes shes being poisoned Because the coffee is poisoned the coffee itself becomes a metaphor for life and death supported by the fact
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