Saturday, November 18, 2006

Mommie Dearest

Hitch Part 9 of 15

Psycho is likely Alfred Hitchcocks best known movie. It contains the definative performances of both Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins careers. It also ranks #23 on imdb's populist lists of the best 250 movies ever made.

Based on the gritty novel by Robert Bloch, the storyline recevied modertly heavy alterations by scrib Joseph Stefano, who turned Normon Bates into a more sympathetic and likable figure, as well as fleshed out what became Janet Leigh's storyline. It is Leighs storyline, that of Marion Crane a secretary at a Phonix real estate office who absconds with $40,000 of her employers money, in a moment of emotional distress, that misdirects the audiance as to the nature of the film. This makes the impact far greater when Ms. Crane, after making the decison to return home with the money and face the consequences of her actions, is vicously stabed to death in the shower of her motel room in one of the most memorable scenes in cinema history.

It was audacious of Hitchcock to kill off his leading lady fourty minutes in the picture. In fact it was audacious of Hitchcok to even make this fairly small budgeted, black & white slasher pic. The movie is in stark contrast to the star-studed, VistaVison, technicolor, adventure/romances that had become his stock-n-trade during the 1950's. But Hitchcock was a director with the ability to grow and adapt with the changing times, which is why after having been in the movie buisness since the silent days, he could make something so uterly new and daring as his Psycho.

One should also never forget Anthony Perkins performance was Norman Bates, it as much as Hitch's direction is what makes the movie work. In fact Perkins characterization in the film is only a slight variation on his performance severl years earlyer in William Wylers Friendly Persuasion, only in an obviously more sinister and psychological vain. Unfortanity the film also type cast Perkins, who might have had a much different and more varied career had it not been for his performance in this film.

Psycho is a classic, a must see, and I don't see how even the near shot-per-shot 90's remake could ever compair to the rough energy the lies beneth this film.

The Hitchcock set also comes with an hour and a half long documentary, The Making of Psycho, produced in 1997.


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