Halloween Review – Psycho

The last portion of our Halloween double header is
Hitchcock’s most famous film (or at least the film
with his most famous scene), Psycho.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates
Janet Leigh as Marion Crane
Vera Miles as Lila Crane
John Gavin as Sam Loomis
Martin Balsam as Det. Milton Arbogast
You might miss Ted Knight as a police officer if you aren’t paying
very close attention.

Screenplay by Outer Limits co-creator Joseph
Stefano, based on a novel by Robert Bloch.

Directed by Alfred Hithcock

Complete information is available from the
IMDB
.


Buy from: Amazon.com
or Amazon.ca.
Like Rear Window, this is also included in
the 14 movie
Alfred Hithcock Masterpiece Collection,
available from Amazon.com
or Amazon.ca.

Past movie reviews can be found here.

Premise

A young embezzler chooses to spend the night at the wrong hotel.

High Point

As great and as famous as the shower scene is, I was
more impressed by the technical challenge Hitchcock set out for himself in this film. Unfortunately, that challenge is something of a
spoiler, so I’ll hide the text for those who wish to go in unspoiled (which I strongly recommend): 45 minutes into the movie, the cast of characters we focused on at the start of the film is completely replaced.

Low Point

The bad in-car camera effects. The mirrors looked odd, the
pedestrians came too close, and so forth. They just didn’t have the technology to mount the cameras in the cars effectively yet, and it shows.

The Scores

This is original in terms of the narrative
structure and the camera angles used. The actual plot isn’t as
original, and wouldn’t be even if it weren’t an adaptation. I give it 4 out of 6.

The effects were poor, as mentioned above.
They weren’t critical to the story, so they likely won’t bother as
a viewer apart from the moments when they appear on screen. I give
it 3 out of 6.

The story was very well written, with some
excellent twists.
I give it 5 out of 6.

The acting from Perkins and Leigh was
excellent. The others were fairly convincing, but not spectacular. I give it 4 out of 6.

The emotional response this produced is
excellent. Hitchcock earned the nickname “master of suspense” because he was so incredibly adept at manipulating audience emotion. I give it 6 out of 6.

The production was Hitchcock’s strongest
suit. The shot with Bates looking at the register in an incredibly
bird-like fashion was an excellent touch. There are many more examples, but that’s the one that struck me the most. I give it 6 out of 6.

Overall, it’s a great movie any time of the
year, and an excellent choice for Halloween. I give it 6 out of 6.

In total, Psycho receives 34 out 42.

Additional Notes and Comments

This film is number 25 on the IMDB Top 250 chart. That puts it one notch behind North by Northwest, another
Hitchcock film. That makes Alfred Hitchcock and Peter Jackson the
only two directors with three entries on that list. (Each of the
three parts to Lord of the Rings made the list, while Hitchcock did it with three completely different films.)

6 replies on “Halloween Review – Psycho”

  1. Timeshredder says:

    Psycho architecture
    This ranks among my favourite films. One production oddity that puzzled me around the third time I saw the film, the cause of which I subsequently learned: the Bates house was built smaller than scale, and some shots of people heading up the exterior stairs look wrong.

    • octa says:

      Re: Psycho architecture
      I don’t know if it’s still there but when I went to Universal Studios in Hollywood we actually got to see the Bates house close up and it is indeed built smaller to give perspective.

  2. obiwan says:

    Spielberg Got Four

    This film is number 25 on the IMDB Top 250 chart. That puts it one notch behind North by Northwest, another Hitchcock film. That makes Alfred Hitchcock and Peter Jackson the only two directors with three entries on that list. (Each of the three parts to Lord of the Rings made the list, while Hitchcock did it with three completely different films.)

    Looking at the list, I see four Spielberg-directed films so far (Schindler’s List, Jaws, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade).

    • obiwan says:

      Re: Spielberg Got Four

      Looking at the list, I see four Spielberg-directed films so far (Schindler’s List, Jaws, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade).

      Whoops, 5. Chalk up Saving Private Ryan.

    • fiziko says:

      Re: Spielberg Got Four

      Looking at the list, I see four Spielberg-directed films so
      far (Schindler’s List, Jaws, Raiders Of The Lost Ark,
      Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade).

      I was referring specifically to the top 25. Yes, there are
      others (such as Chaplin, Coppola and Kubrick) who have
      three or more movies on the entire top 250 list.

      • fiziko says:

        Re: Spielberg Got Four

        I just went through the entire Top 250 Chart. Directors
        who appear more than once are:

        • 9 times: Stanley Kubrick
        • 8 times: Alfred Hitchcock
        • 6 times: Akira Kurosawa, Billy Wilder
        • 5 times: Steven Spielberg
        • 4 times: Frank Capra, Charlie Chaplin, Francis Ford
          Coppola, Sergio Leone, Quentin Tarantino
        • 3 times: James Cameron, The Coen Brothers, Clint
          Eastwood, John Ford, Terry Gilliam, Howard Hawks, John
          Huston, Peter Jackson, David Lean, Sidney Lumet, David
          Lynch, Rob Reiner, Martin Scorsese, Ridley Scott, William
          Wyler
        • 2 times: Woody Allen, Ingmar Bergman, Tim Burton,
          Henri-Georges Clouzot, Michel Curtiz, Frank Darabont,
          Stanley Donen, Federico Fellini, David Fincher, Victor
          Fleming, Milos Forman, George Roy Hill, Alejandro Gonzales
          Inarritu, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Terry Jones, Elia Kazan,
          Fritz Lang, John Lasseter, George Lucas, Michael Mann,
          Hayao Miyazaki, Mike Nichols, Christopher Nolan, Roman
          Polanski, Guy Ritchie, Orson Welles, Robert Zemeckis

        It appears I was mistaken about Buster Keaton, as he only
        appears once.

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