1. Psycho opens with title design by Saul Bass and music by Bernard Herrmann. This is their third collaboration for Hitchcock, including Vertigo and North by Northwest. How does the graphic design and the score introduce the main themes of this film?
I'm not sure what the word "Psycho" would mean to someone going to see the movie for the first time in 1960, but, after viewing the titles and hearing the music, they are going to be amped up and already in suspense as to what will unfold. The lines of the titles and their constant shifting made me think that something was broken, i.e., not working correctly. The piercing music is further upsetting as it effectively stabs the eardrums. The overall theme that is introduced is disjointed.
2. As the titles end, we have three shots of Phoenix, Arizona, and a very specific day, date, and time: “FRIDAY, DECEMBER THE ELEVENTH” and “TWO FORTY-THREE P.M.” What is Hitchcock seeking to establish with such specificity? Also, why do you think Hitchcock elects to enter the hotel room through the semi-closed blinds from the outside? Does this shot remind of any other Daily Doses we have watched?
My initial thought, after the titles end, is that it seems odd to have the location so specifically spelled out. I'm guessing that the location, being Phoenix, gives us the idea that this movie is taking place in a very unromantic and not glamorous place. The time being 2:43 pm - further expanded upon by the couple in the hotel room - lets the audience know it's the middle of the afternoon. After all, what bad thing could happen in the middle of the day?
The camera POV (audience) slips through the Venetian blinds almost exactly like they did in Rear Window. What we're seeing is going to be none-of-our-business, but it introduces us to Janet Leigh/Marion Crane, and to her state of mind. The very first time I saw this movie, I thought John Gavin was going rape or beat up Janet Leigh, that somehow something bad was going to happen in the hotel.
3. In the remainder of this sequence, we are introduced to Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) and Sam Loomis (John Gavin). The scene pushed the boundaries of censorship, especially considering our last Daily Dose for North by Northwest was edited for a line of risqué dialogue. Since this is the opening scene of Psycho, how does the hotel room scene function as a way to establish Marion Crane as a main character? Defend your answer.
The scene works very well to establish that: a. Marion is a working girl, b. Marion is sexually experienced, c. Marion is not married (but Sam is???) and may not want to be married right now, and, d. Marion is willing to fool around in a hotel, on her lunch hour, but she's not too happy about it. She is kind of a romantic, as she loves being with Sam but doesn't like the sneakiness of it and being in a crappy hotel.