Comparison Of Jury Of Her Peers By Susan Glaspell And Its Adaptation By Alfred Hitchcock
Jury of her Peers and Trifles are examples of media that targeted a variety of different audiences. The first piece of Jury of her Peers by Susan Glaspell was the play which was written in 1916. In 1916 world war 2 was in full swing. (Britannica 2019) This means that a large number of men were gone fighting so the audience was most likely filled with women. It was a way for the women to escape from the stress and worries of the war and focus on something else so this suspenseful and intense play was an effective method. In 1917 the short story Trifles which was also by Susan Glaspell came out so it had the same audience as the play but allowed for a good read instead of a play to watch.
Finally the movie was produced by Alfred Hitchcock a while later than the earlier works it was based on by airing around the 1950s. This occurred approximately 5 years after world war 2. (Britannica 2019) Because the war had been finished for awhile, the audience was different than when it first came out as a play and short story. This audience would have most likely been couples on a date night instead of just mainly women. These couples would have been wanting to enjoy a good night together with a popular movie. Even though each media type was telling the same story they all were successful in capturing different audiences considering the times each of the were released.
Alfred Hitchcock, better known as Sir Alfred Hitchcock, was born in late August, 1899 in London, England. Hitchcock had a very rough childhood. He grew up in an area that was greatly affected by the serial killer by the name of Jack the Ripper. He grew up with two siblings but felt as though he was very alone for most of his childhood. His father was a very cold hearted man and disciplined Alfred to the harshest effect. “When he was not being disciplined, he was cosseted by an overly watchful mother, who used food as a balm—to which he would later trace his trademark paunch” (Barson, 2018). Alfred’s tremendous career of film making began by designing cards for a company called Famous Players-Lasky. He had studied designing in school since he was gifted artistically. This introduced him to the filming world as the design cards were necessary for the films.
Eventually, Famous Players-Lasky did close down but Alfred worked hard and made design cards for private producers. From then on he continued to climb the ladder and work his way up to the top of filmmaking. Sir Alfred Hitchcock had worked so hard that in 1922 he was able to direct a comedy film called Mrs. Peabody (also called number 13) that unfortunately did not get released. The first film Alfred directed that did get released was called Always Tell Your Wife. This was co-directed by the star of the film, Seymour Hicks so Hitchcock did not receive any credit for the film. It took two years of his directing for Hitchcock to finally get the credit he was due. Finally, the film that he and his workers considered his first “real” work was called The Lodger: A Story of London Fog (1927).
It was a film that largely related to his childhood and all the struggles he endured. From then on he became the famous film producer he is known as today. The typical types of stories that Hitchcock portrayed in his work were filled to the brim with suspense. He is known as the “Master of Suspense” because of this aspect in many of his great productions. A large amount of his work also include murder which entices the audience and keeps them on the edge of their seat. The production Jury of her Peers is considered a thriller because it provides the audience with a variety of different feelings. Several emotions that audience members experience during the twists and turns of his works are: surprise, sadness, fear, and suspense. All of these emotions are what contribute to the audience experiencing the thrill of these stories. (Britannica, 2019)
The play Trifles and the story Jury of her Peers were both done around a similar time. This era was right in the middle of World War 1. A number of countries were going to war and this had caused for a hard time for a lot of families. A large amount of the men had been brought into the military to fight for the country. The women were also working to help fuel the war with supplies. (Britannica, 2019) The story and play allowed for a little escape from reality for these women. The film which was produced in 1950. World War 2 had ended 5 years earlier and this meant a lot of the families that had survived the hard times of the war were able to spend time together. (Britannica, 2019) Also the Korean war started in 1950. It was not as bad as World War 2 but it still provided a lot of stress on people. A year later in 1951 colour tv had been discovered. (enotes) This means that there was a whole new form of entertainment and it was a big step in technology. Each piece of media were released at different times and allowed for a variety of different audiences to get to experience these works. Although, they are all so similar they all have a very big difference in who the audience was.
The soundtrack for the film Jury of her Peers was overseen by Joseph E. Romero. (Britannica 2019) The music was all instrumental throughout the film. It would play a very intense and suspenseful piece when there was a lot of tension in the room or a very important decision was made. One scene where the music felt like it really added to the film was when Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters were discovering a number of clues that pointed to Mrs. Wright having a motif. Mrs. Peters had to decide whether or not she was going to tell the sheriff about the clues or listen to Mrs. Hale and not. The scene went quiet as the men walked in and the decision had to be made. This silence really added to the suspense. Once Mrs. Peters decided to listen to Mrs. Hale and hide the evidence the music started playing (26:45).
It was very dramatic and and sneaky music and highly emotional. Earlier in the film, when George Henderson goes to the Wright farm and discoveries that Mrs. Wright is acting strange when he talks to her. Since George did not see John anywhere he assumed he was gone and was going to come back another time but Mrs. Wright informs him that John is just sleeping upstairs. George then goes up the stairs to see him and that is when the music starts playing (5:23). For this scene the music adds a very dramatic part. It really leaves the audience questioning what is wrong. It adds to this scene perfectly and makes it even more capturing. Alfred Hitchcock’s film with the combination of Joseph E Romero’s soundtrack truly stimulate intense emotion and magnify the feelings for all viewers.
In Alfred Hitchcock’s version of the story, Minnie is portrayed as a central character. This alters the telling of the story because the viewers are able to relate more to Minnie as they hear her talk as well as feel more empathy for her than they would just reading about her life. During Hitchcock’s version, it is very easy to feel bad for Minnie as you can tell she has been a very lonely woman for a lot of her lifetime. When Mr. Henderson asks Minnie to come home with him while he calls the sheriff, she shows excitement and reveals that she has not visited with anyone in a very long time (7:10).
Another time where this altered the telling of the story was in the film when Mrs. Hale was defending and trying to hide the evidence from the two men who were searching for it (26:28). Mrs. Hale was showing that Minnie had a really hard life and tried to explain how terrible her life was. This just gave the audience even more empathy for Minnie since her life was not that great. It allowed for the audience to get a sense of what Minnie was really going through. Overall, having Minnie as a central character allowed for the audience to get a personal connection to her and her situation even though what she did do was not right at all.
Although Alfred Hitchcock’s film is based off of the short story and play written by Susan Glaspell, there are several differences between the two that alter the experience of the audience. For example, the use of Minnie portrayed as a central character adds to the empathy that the audience will feel for her situation as described in the above paragraph. Another addition to Glaspell’s original story and play is the use of more than one setting. In the play the action only takes place in Minnie’s house but in the film version, the characters are in different settings and different houses throughout, such as Mr. Hendersons house (7:35). Finally at the end of the story,
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