Psycho – Alfred Hitchcock (1960)


Psycho is a 1960 American psychological horror film directed and produced by Alfred Hitchcock, and written by Joseph Stefano. It stars Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, John Gavin, Vera Miles, and Martin Balsam, and was based on the 1959 novel of the same name by Robert Bloch. The film centers on an encounter between a secretary, Marion Crane (Leigh), who ends up at a secluded motel after stealing money from her employer, and the motel’s owner-manager, Norman Bates (Perkins), and its aftermath. Psycho was seen as a departure from Hitchcock’s previous film North by Northwest, having been filmed on a low budget, in black-and-white, and by a television crew. The film initially received mixed reviews, but outstanding box-office returns prompted critical reevaluation. Psycho was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Supporting Actress for Leigh and Best Director for Hitchcock. Psycho is now considered one of Hitchcock’s best films and praised as a major work of cinematic art by international film critics and scholars. Often ranked among the greatest films of all time, it set a new level of acceptability for violence, deviant behavior and sexuality in American films, and is widely considered to be the earliest example of the slasher film genre. … The screenplay is relatively faithful to the novel, with a few notable adaptations by Hitchcock and Stefano. Stefano found the character of Norman Bates—who, in the book, is middle-aged, overweight, and more overtly unstable—unsympathetic, but became more intrigued when Hitchcock suggested casting Anthony Perkins. Stefano eliminated Bates’ drinking, which evidently necessitated removing Bates’ ‘becoming’  the Mother personality when in a drunken stupor. Also gone is Bates’ interest in spiritualism, the occult and pornography. … The murder of Leigh’s character in the shower is the film’s pivotal scene and one of the best-known in all of cinema. As such, it spawned numerous myths and legends. It was shot from December 17–23, 1959, after Leigh had twice postponed the filming, firstly for a cold and then her period. Seventy-seven different camera angles were used. The finished scene runs three minutes and includes 50 cuts. Most of the shots are extreme close-ups, except for medium shots in the shower directly before and directly after the murder. …”
Wikipedia
New Yorker: The Greatness of “Psycho” by Richard Brody
Roger Ebert
YouTube: Psycho Trailer, Psycho 1960 Trailer, Understanding Psycho: The Uncanny 14:17

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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