"Psycho" is a classic for all the reasons you mentioned- it's perfectly written, directed and acted. This time I also notice the razor sharp editing . The film works on repeat viewings because of all the black comic touches- "My mother isn't herself today".
Yeah... this one has grown on me over these past three to four decades.
I like a lot of Hitch flix, now that I have seen almost all of them. I do like Vertigo even if I don't think it is all that successful. I think the reason that one is so beloved is because it was an unusual experiment and critics favor the experimental ones over the actually entertaining ones. Psycho is definitely more entertaining in oh-so-many-ways. Even the use of stairs in this later movie is more fun than the other, like poor Milton Arbogast doing the back flip after his stabbing.
Re-watching in the higher quality print, I forgot how many times Perkins is actually smiling. This is why I think Hitch liked him as an actor. So many characters trying to commit the perfect crimes are smiling... and are very, VERY meticulous. I re-watched Dial M For Murder again (which isn't nearly as good as some of his others, even Vertigo) but you see a bit of Perkins' Norman foreshadowed in Ray Milland's character as he wipes the glasses of any fingerprint "evidence" (involving his chosen killer and guest) much like Norman mopping the bathroom. Also Grace Kelly stabs her strangler and kills him instead, contrasting to poor Janet Leigh, but with some similar camera angles. Every Hitch film has some precursor scene that is expanded upon in a later production (like, for example, Mt. Rushmore in North By Northwest out-doing Saboteur's Statue of Liberty).
Again, I love how the birds are suddenly alive in... what else?... The Birds, the one which followed Psycho. Note how we even get here a crow looking "alive" with its spread wings in Norman's den. In the later film, they are all roosting on jungle gyms.
I love, love, love John McIntire and Laurene Tuttle, both veteran radio stars in many "on air" sitcoms and dramas such as Suspense! You can't beat dialogue like this:
HIM: "Norman Bates' mother has been dead and buried in Greenlawn Cemetary for the last ten years."
HER: "I helped Norman pick out the dress she was buried in. Perri winkle Blue." (She talks like the southern accented kid in seventies TV commercials for Shake & Bake. "And I helped!" Same happy go lucky voice.)
Later she adds "Norman found them dead together... in BED." (I guess that is a dig to Sam because he spent a lot of bed time with missing Marion.)
Because I have seen it so many times, I can now see how hokey the shower performance is with the knife hardly touching the body... and the prop man is pouring chocolate sauce in the tub. Yet it doesn't matter because of Norman's priceless "Mother... Oh Gawd! Blood!" You wonder how he knows. Is it coming through the pipes?
And watching that 1957 Ford sink into the swamp and almost not submerge. You actually start rooting for Norman since he looks nervous that the car won't be hidden completely. Then, after the pause... gurgle gurgle gurgle. Big grin on Norman's face. Then *EDIT CUT* to Marion's boyfriend having to listen to a hardware store customer asking if the ingredients of the insecticide is painless for the little creatures it is intended to kill. She doesn't want to hurt a fly anymore than Mother would!