The Bars Motif in Hitchcock Films
The often recurring motif of (prison) bars in Hitchcock films is used to visually emphasize that a character is trapped, caught, behind bars, physically or psychologically, as if in prison.
The Bars Motif in The Wrong Man
Henry Fonda behind bars in The Wrong Man.
Peggy Webber (as Miss Dennerly) behind bars at the Associated Life office as she thinks she sees the man who previously robbed the office.
Henry Fonda behind bars at the Associated Life office foreshadowing his arrest and imprisonment.
Henry Fonda entering his prison cell.
The Bars motif in Rear Window
All the tenants are trapped in their own world.
Shadow of a Doubt
Little Charlie knocking on Uncle Charlie's door. Both are trapped.
The Bars motif in Saboteur
Frank Fry (Norman Lloyd) trying to escape in Saboteur (1942).
More examples of the bars motif
The Pleasure Garden, 1925/1927
The Ring, 1927
Jack and his wife have bars on their dining room window - they are trapped in the marriage
Sir John's bathrobe has stripes, as if he is a prisoner
Mr Verloc is "trapped" in the exit at London Zoo.
The Man Who Knew Too Much, 1934
Nova Pilbeam has a pyjamas with stripes when she is held prisoner by the bad guys
Young and Innocent (1938)
The Drummer Man has a tie with stripes at Grand Hotel
At home, Erika has a dress with stripes
Ingrid Bergman tries to make Gregory Peck remember what happened after he is arrested.
Rear Window (1954)
The songwriter's apartment has "bars", which may symbolize that he is stuck with his song.
The Wrong Man (1956)
Manny is seen through bars when he is in the insurance office
Manny is seen through prison bars when he is in jail.
Hitchcock's fear of the police
We come back again to my eternal fear of the police. I've always felt a complete identification with the feelings of a person who's arrested, taken to the police station in a police van and who, through the bars of the moving vehicle, can see people going to the theater, coming out of a bar, and enjoying the comforts of everyday living; I can even picture the driver joking with his police partner, and I feel terrible about it.
(Alfred Hitchcock to Truffaut)
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