Analysis #2: The Male Gaze

December 9, 2011 | | 5 Comments


Martin Vukaj


Prof. Herzog


Histroy Of Cinema


The Gaze and Representations of Gender


The male gaze in cinema is one of the more intriguing techniques used in cinema. The gaze is not strictly for the males in film, as we’ve seen the female gaze was used in The Lady Eve while Jean was looking through the mirror and imitating all the voices around her. The gaze representation in film allows a certain point of view to be examined. Used by filmmakers to often get a point across, usually relating to the persona of the character, the gaze is a good film technique and takes skill to pull off correctly. For the assignment I will analyzing one particular scene in Psycho, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, one of the original masters of suspense and horror.


1.) The scene commences with Norman Bates leaving Marion Crane’s room and him entering the main room with the sign-in sheet. Norman continues thru the rooms and he enters the room with all the birds and pictures (also symbolism to come, the birds symbolizing being watched) Cut–>

The camera switches to an over the view look at Norman and the picture. He removes the picture frame and the viewer now sees a large hole from what the picture frame covers. Norman removes the picture frame in a way where the hole is seen at the last final second in the action that hes doing it. The picture frame covers the whole until the end, and then when the viewer sees it, its almost a shock to see it. The viewer also sees the miniature and the sound of the shower is heard, which is letting the viewer know that Norman plans on peeping through it. Cut →

2.) The shot changes to a side view of Norman’s face, with the light from the Marion’s bedroom illuminating his face. He inches closer to the hole then finally closes his other eye and peeps through with his right eye. Cut →

3.) The view now shifts into a first person view of Norman staring at Marion undressing. The music accompanying this scene is quite eerie and its supposed to be this way. We are put in the shoes of Norman, and are supposed to get the feel of us being the peeping tom through the whole. Hitchcock does a great job of making the viewer feel like a pervert in a sense. Cut–>

4.) The camera now shifts to an extreme closeup of Norman’s eye, and the light reflecting off his face. This shot tells a lot to the viewer, at least I think so. The acting is so great, you can almost see the excitement in Anthony Perkins eyes looking at Marion. I gained much knowledge from this seen just alone. I know that Norman doesn’t see many girls, and his communication skills aren’t the best, exampled off in the scene prior talking to Marion. Bates also seems to be very sexually frustrated. His need to look through the hole lets the viewer know he is sexually inexperienced with women. Cut→

5.) The shot now changes to a first person view of Marion once again, along with the eerie music still playing. Cut–>

6.) The shot now changes to a side profile view of Norman as he puts the picture frame back on the wall. Cut →

7.) Shot changes to a front view of Norman’s upper torso and he looks away, then the camera pans toward the door and Norman exits the motel lobby. Cut →

8.) The camera is positioned looking at the doorway. Norman comes to the camera, looking down, almost with a idea that he has ready to execute. The camera pans around from left to right and the light from the motel hits face. Norman starts walking to the end of the motel walkway and then beings to run toward his home.


The following scene from Psycho, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, represents the male gaze discussed in class. The whole premise of the movie could possibly looked as at a male problem, revolving around Norman Bates and the problem of his mother and any other women that enter his life.

The scene I have chosen is a look through Norman’s eyes and ultimately represents the problems he has. Norman has become so alien to other women. The acting of Perkins is a great factor in letting the viewer see what’s wrong with him. The scene prior to the peeping hole scene, where Bates and Marion are conversing is an awkward one. Perkins takes offense to what Marion has said about his mother and Bates quickly defends her. The attachment that Bates has to his mother is observed here but the viewer still does not know the extent of the relationship until the end of the film. Hitchcock does a great job with all his shots and angles to portray Norman Bates in a certain way. The use of the first person shot is also a great skill Hitchcock perfected in that scene. The viewer, in a sense, becomes Norman for a couple seconds, looking through the hole in the scene. I was overcome with a naughty feeling that I really shouldn’t be looking through this hole but as the viewer we are forced to. The shot of Norman’s eye is a great one as well. The viewer can almost see the amazement and excitement in his eyes as he watches Marion undress. The music accompanied while the viewers are watching also adds to the certain pervertness that we feel. Hitchcock provides the cinema world with a masterpiece of a scene, providing the viewers with a scene emulating “The Male Gaze.” Hitchcock designates Bates as a pervert, sexually frustrated, and hints at Norman having an underlying problem within him, but isn’t exposed until the end of the film. Although this scene provides “The Male Gaze” in a negative sense, plenty of other films provides other looks at the male gaze and even the female gaze, exampled in the Lady Eve.

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5 Comments so far

  1.    Jihae Park on December 16, 2011 2:03 am

    I chose this scene for assignment#2 as well. I enjoyed reading how you analyzed in different way and with more details than me haha

  2.    Amy Herzog on December 21, 2011 4:05 pm

    Very nice work, Martin– the detailed shot breakdown really helps to build the evidence you need to make this argument. And wonderfully perceptive take on Norman’s character (and Perkin’s acting). Thanks for the great comments this semester!

  3. on May 24, 2016 9:25 pm

    Analysis #2: The Male Gaze : Martin Vukaj

  4.    t zon kram on February 8, 2020 4:02 pm

    t zon kram

    Analysis #2: The Male Gaze : Martin Vukaj

  5.    lingette pour peau grasse on February 21, 2020 5:31 am

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    Analysis #2: The Male Gaze : Martin Vukaj




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