Hopper defined the image of films like 'Psycho' that defined the image of America.

Hopper defined the image of films like ‘Psycho’ that defined the image of America.

Hopper (left) and Hitchcock.

It’s a temptation few directors can resist. Filming about loneliness and isolation? What about what’s left of the American dream if you scratch just a little beyond the surface? Hopp borrowed from painter Edward Hopper (1882-1967). He can show all other things in one picture. As in his most famous painting, shot from outside through a window, how many movie characters sit with him sadly at night in a diner bar. Nighthawks?

Lonely people in apartments, leaving gas stations: all of Hopper’s paintings could be stills from a full-length film about America, wrote German director Wim Wenders (Paris, Texas), he closely observed Hopper’s work to shape his America. His colleague Antonioni was inspired by the artist, as was David Lynch and all those who made films or television series about anxious house or office wives in the 1950s. Hopper determined the image of iconic images for America.

The director most closely associated with Hopper was Alfred Hitchcock. Both like to peek at characters who seem to be sitting behind a window, meanwhile something threatening or flashing. What, that depends on the perverted imagination of the viewer. Maybe.

'House by the Railroad', 1925. Image by Azar Studios / Alamy

‘House by the Railroad’, 1925.Image by Azhar Studios / Alamy

Think of Norman Bates as a character in a Hopper painting PsychoScreenwriter Joseph Stefano worked with actor Anthony Perkins. As a motel owner, chauffeur and mother’s boy, he also hangs around, lonely, isolated and trapped. Hitchcock based it on the Victorian house he lived in House on railway line (1925) Hopper’s house stands out against a blue sky; It was white, bathed in yellowish sunlight, with a cast shadow that fell perfectly over the entrance. A house with personality. Was it abandoned? The glory faded by the arrival of those rails that cut the picture horizontally?

inside the house Psycho Isolated by progress: A new highway means people won’t pass through. It’s dark, but the similarity is striking: Hitchcock shoots it from the same angle, the same shape, the same portico, and it looks lonely. And like Hopper’s house, it’s a character unto itself – a dark shadow in the pouring rain or towering over the horizontal motel in front of it against an overcast sky, Norman’s mother looms large in the film. If you are Psycho You can’t believe the Hopper house when you see it. It feels falsely safe in sunlight.

According to legend, Hopper was “flattered” that Hitchcock used his house. He was a big movie buff anyway and loved being inspired by cinema.

The house in 'Psycho' (1960).  Film RV

The house in ‘Psycho’ (1960).Film RV

An interesting idea, Hopper watched Hitchcock movies. That Hitchcock studied Hopper’s paintings at MoMA. They saw each other’s phenomena of light, lines, and structure. There is an elusive connection between those two men who have had such a huge impact on the way America is portrayed.

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