Superimposed Images, Dissolves, Double Exposure in Hitchcock Movies

Early in his career Hitchcock experimented a lot with superimposed images, creative dissolves (gradual transition from one image to another).

Double Exposure Shot in The Wrong Man


Alfred Hitchcock on the double-exposure scene in The Wrong Man: "If you take a real case, then you are restricted and bound. As a matter of fact, I think I made an error myself when I made that little film, The Wrong Man, in which I had to follow everything that happened in the actual case. I put in certain shots which I shouldn't have. For example, I wanted to show, at the moment when the real man is discovered, that he and the wrong man looked very much alike. I did it by taking a close-up of Henry Fonda whispering a prayer to the figure of Christ on the wall, and then over that big head I double-exposed a real street in Queens - and there's a man walking towards us. He gets closer and closer and comes right into close-up, and I fitted his face over that of Fonda. Fonda's face disappeared and the man turned and went into this general store and tried to hold it up. That's how he was really caught. He was knocked down by the little man who owned the store, while the wife phoned for the police. Now, I should never have done the double-exposure scene, because that never happened in the real story. I was introducing creative elements into a story that didn't need to be improved upon." (Sidney Gottlieb: Alfred Hitchcock Interviews)


The Ring (1927)

Hitchcock: The Ring. Double exposure

Seeing the opponent superimposed on a punching ball.

The main character is boxing superimposed on a billboard.

Young and Innocent

The eyes of the murderer (George Curzon) is superimposed on Erica Burgoyne (Nova Pilbeam) and Old Will (Edward Rigby).

Shadow of a Doubt (1942/1943)

Dissolves characterizes the editing in Shadow of a Doubt.



DISSOLVE: In film editing, a dissolve is a gradual transition from one image to another. In film, this effect is created by controlled double exposure from frame to frame; transitioning from the end of one clip to the beginning of another. (Wikipedia)



The ticking clockwork double exposed on the bomb (Sabotage, 1936).


Norman and Mother is one.