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Daily Dose #17: What Do I Do With My Free Afternoon? (Title Sequence and Opening Scene of Psycho)


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#1 Marianne

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 12:47 PM

I watched Psycho on a DVD that came with commentary by Stephen Rebello, and the commentary was fantastic. Rebello gave lots of interesting insights on the making of the film: He wrote a book about it called Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho. But what I really enjoyed was his recollections of seeing the film in the theater when it was first released. His descriptions of the audience's reactions were the best part. The first time I saw Psycho was on television with my friends, and Rebello's comments brought back many memories of what it was like for me to see the film for the first time.

 

I have grown to appreciate Psycho even more because of this course. Some of the film techniques may seem dated to modern audiences, but I would love to know what it's like to see the film for the first time today, not knowing all the plot twists. I have a feeling Psycho can still inspire dread and fear. I think the film holds up really well because it is, in addition to everything else, a character study. Now that I have seen it again more recently, I could really appreciate other points about the film.



#2 dsanders

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Posted 07 August 2017 - 03:50 PM

Daily Dose #17: What Do I Do With My Free Afternoon? Title Sequence and Opening Scene from Psycho (1960)

 

The title sequence to Psycho joins the music of Bernard Hermann and the graphic design of Saul Bass impeccably. It’s a forceful intro that grabs your attention, with minimal visual detail, to indicate what’s coming. Only these essential graphic lines, horizontal and vertical that slide in and out foreshadow the break in personality that is at the heart of Norman Bate’s character, the break and attempted escape from society that Marion tries to make, the unconventional break in the film’s plot, caused by the murder of the main character, and the shocks created in the audience that will leave them exiting the film shaken and a little unhinged.

 

The intro feels very modern, even today, as does the stylized black and white, high contrast, high clarity, and high-def camerawork of the film. Even though Hitchcock had to use his TV crew, the film has a high quality look that we don’t associate with the TV of the time.

 

The establishing shot of a sun-drenched Phoenix, in contrast to the rain-soaked drive to the Bates motel emphasizes the dark nature of the film. Similarly, the camera’s descent to an anonymous hotel room venetian-blinded against the white hot desert sunlight, and through the window, like the remarkable opening shot of Rebecca, where the camera flows through the wrought iron gates, like it’s floating down a river, takes us into a room that could be the boarding house room of Uncle Charlie, film-noirish, and night.

 

Marion Crane is laying down a lot of rules, Mr. and Mrs. Smith style, for lover Sam Loomis, who looks suspiciously as handsome, but more mature, than Norman Bates, who is just down the road.

 

The time and setting stamps on these early scenes indicate the restrictions of living within society’s norms, and though they will not continue throughout the film, time and setting will continue to be very important to the plot. They also create a tension and require the viewer to focus on the unfolding events and decision of Marion to take off.



#3 Marianne

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Posted 07 August 2017 - 12:20 PM

*Does anyone know what Marion (Janet Leigh) says to Sam (John Gavin) at the 3:26, or so, mark in the video clip?  Right after she says "When you're married, you can do a lot of things," she then hurriedly whispers something, after which, he says "You sure talk like a girl who's been married."  I've listened several times and cannot figure it out!  Maybe someone has already asked/answered that question!?

 

"Deliberately" ...in response to Sam saying "I've heard of married couples who deliberately spend a night in a cheap hotel."

 

I always find it helpful to turn on the English-language subtitles (if I am watching any film on DVD) so that I can catch dialogue that I miss. It's a very useful feature, but it requires borrowing or buying the DVD version of a film.



#4 Bgeorgeteacher

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Posted 07 August 2017 - 11:03 AM

This de

 

1. The graphic design and score match perfectly. The music is dramatic and thrilling and the graphic design is linear with letters for the credits. At one point the film title breaks up hinting at the split personality/schizophrenia which will be a subject of the film and the same thing happens to Alfred Hitchcock's name. The graphics seem to dance to Hermann's music score. The word Psycho wouldn;t have shocked the audience as they would know this was the title of the film before they came to the cinema so the music helps to unsettle them and to expect something scary or weird to happen.

 

2. Friday the Eleventh and Two Forty Three pm makes the audience think we're going to see a crime scene through that window except it isn't (yet) but a love scene of a secretive meeting. This opening sequence reminded me of Rear Window's opening sequence as it pans the whole city first then moves into the window with the lowered blinds - the main differences being that in Rear Window, the camera pans the courtyard and a bit of the outside world (the main street) and looks into a lot of windows. As in Rear Window, the camera actually enters the room in which one of the protagonists is and is not just a peeping Tom but a camera which informs you about one of the main characters.

 

3. We learn from this scene that Marion is meeting her lover secretly in a hotel room in her extended lunch hour, a regular occurrence whenever her lover is in town. We learn about her boss too so we know she works in an office. She also expresses her wish for this to be the last time for this type of meeting (ominous!). Shooting the scene in the hotel room enables Hitch to introduce Marion's character and give us a bit of extra knowledge about her through the dialogue between her and John Gavin.

The date and specific time do give the 'crime scene' feel.  Great way to think of it!



#5 Bgeorgeteacher

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Posted 07 August 2017 - 11:01 AM

The title sequence of Psycho always gives me chills!!  The harsh lines coming in from the side of the screen, eventually revealing the titles, the eerie music that fits those lines so perfectly...the viewer truly knows this will not be a comedy!  The design of the titles are simple, not exactly what they seem at first, much like the theme of this movie.  We know that things are definitely going to be a bit off, and we are the edges of our seats through the entire film!



#6 Rejana Raj

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Posted 07 August 2017 - 10:13 AM

1.) The title sequence begins with fast credit roll along with fast paced background score. From the look of it, We could understand that this is a suspense thriller.

2.) The audience were shown the shots of time, date and place in CAP LOCKS. This was an indication of suspense thriller films which gives the details of the last hours of the victim. Here, Marion Crane is the "to-be" victim.

3.) The scene begins with the main star Janet Leigh along with John Gavin and they were shown in bed with half bared bodies. Here, Miss Leigh gets to say most of her lines whereas Mr.Gavin speaks only a few lines throughout the scene.This is the time where The Hays Code was losing its charm.

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#7 SherriW

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Posted 06 August 2017 - 11:57 PM

  1. Psycho opens with title design by Saul Bass and music by Bernard Herrmann. This is their third collaboration for Hitchcock, including Vertigoand North by Northwest. How does the graphic design and the score introduce the main themes of this film?

The graphics are very fractured at times. The music rises and fall in a very fast manner suggesting urgency and maybe fear.

 

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?

 

The shot reminds me of Rear Window. I'm not sure what the point of listing the day and date is.

 

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.

 

She has the bulk of the dialogue and seems to be leading during the scene.


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#8 Suj

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Posted 06 August 2017 - 06:18 PM

1. The graphic design and score match perfectly. The music is dramatic and thrilling and the graphic design is linear with letters for the credits. At one point the film title breaks up hinting at the split personality/schizophrenia which will be a subject of the film and the same thing happens to Alfred Hitchcock's name. The graphics seem to dance to Hermann's music score. The word Psycho wouldn;t have shocked the audience as they would know this was the title of the film before they came to the cinema so the music helps to unsettle them and to expect something scary or weird to happen.

 

2. Friday the Eleventh and Two Forty Three pm makes the audience think we're going to see a crime scene through that window except it isn't (yet) but a love scene of a secretive meeting. This opening sequence reminded me of Rear Window's opening sequence as it pans the whole city first then moves into the window with the lowered blinds - the main differences being that in Rear Window, the camera pans the courtyard and a bit of the outside world (the main street) and looks into a lot of windows. As in Rear Window, the camera actually enters the room in which one of the protagonists is and is not just a peeping Tom but a camera which informs you about one of the main characters.

 

3. We learn from this scene that Marion is meeting her lover secretly in a hotel room in her extended lunch hour, a regular occurrence whenever her lover is in town. We learn about her boss too so we know she works in an office. She also expresses her wish for this to be the last time for this type of meeting (ominous!). Shooting the scene in the hotel room enables Hitch to introduce Marion's character and give us a bit of extra knowledge about her through the dialogue between her and John Gavin.


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#9 MagdaK83

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Posted 06 August 2017 - 05:27 PM

The exact date and time and place is like we are  about to see what will happen. It reminds me of a police report and it is like this is the reference report about it and how all the events followed hat day! Remarkable scene and open credits, the music of course sends chills down my spine every single time!



#10 Reegstar

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Posted 05 August 2017 - 01:47 PM

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. 



#11 iceiceblondie

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Posted 03 August 2017 - 07:44 PM

The title and credits run across the screen in a frenzied way, and the music definitely adds to that feeling. This isn't going to be a relaxing film.

 

Going through the window into the hotel room shows the voyeuristic nature of the film along with so many other Hitchcock films. The characters are in a hotel room in the middle of the day, establishing that they maybe don't care about social norms. Marion is saying she needs to go back to work but obviously doesn't really want to, and maybe these sort of character traits contribute to her deciding to run off with the money.



#12 pumatamer

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Posted 03 August 2017 - 12:50 PM

  1. Psycho opens with title design by Saul Bass and music by Bernard Herrmann. This is their third collaboration for Hitchcock, including Vertigoand North by Northwest. How does the graphic design and the score introduce the main themes of this film?

    I think the distortion of the actor's names and even the title demonstrates the theme of dual personalities or a distortion of people present themselves to be. The music and the lines running through the screen show a frantic and hurried rhythm that maybe these people are experiencing on the inside, but not showing to the outside world. 
     
  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?

    I think the specificity of the day, time, place, and location show that these are average people having this dangerous, and illicit affair in "Anywhere, America". It isn't some glamorous place or exotic people, but every day people that are having this scandalous (for the time) experience. 


#13 dan_quiterio

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Posted 02 August 2017 - 08:49 PM

Psycho is the first Hitchcock film I saw, and it's my favorite. One large reason for that is Bernard Herrmann's frantic and stress-inducing score. The use of strings performed almost violently convey a stabbing sensation. It immediately thrusts the audience into a state of anxiety, setting up the right tone for what's to come. Saul Bass's opening title design works in concert with the score in influencing this sensation. The lines swiping in and out--from side to side and up and down--are analogous to violent swipes of a knife.

 

I can't speak to Hitchcock's use of a specific date and time for the opening scene, but that's something I like to do, myself, in my own writing. I feel that offering specificity adds a layer of interest. It helps to lay a stake in what is meant to be a remembered scene in which some crucial piece of information is offered. The choice to enter the hotel room through the window blinds is a genius one. This element of voyeurism is a motif in Psycho, more famously paid off with Norman's peeping on Marion in her hotel room. It's also reminiscent of the central theme of Rear Window.

 

The opening scene establishes Marion as the main character because the audience is immediately thrown into her story. She's the "other" woman who tells Sam that their affair needs to end. Of course, it can't just end there. We expect to see it play out with Marion at the center, navigating a difficult and rocky road. Her emotional journey is the one that's the most interesting to watch.


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#14 FilmFan39

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 07:10 PM

1.  The title sequence lets the viewer know that something suspenseful is going to happen but you don't know what.

 

2. The specific date place and time are like an hourglass slowly slipping away until the awful end of Marion's life at the hands of Norman. The shot under the blinds panning into the seedy motel room with the main character lounging carelessly on the bed is very similar to the opening scene of Shadow of a Doubt when we are first introduced to dear Uncle Charlie the Merry Widow Killer.

 

3. Marion Crane is definitely one of the more  out right unscrupulous of Hitchcock's female leads. From the beginning of the scene she is in control of the situation she is in. While she is having an affair with a married man he is coming to see her and wants her to stay in the hotel room. She is trying to manipulate Sam into leaving his wife. She is the one to getup and leave to go back to work rather than stay with him. It isn't until she thinks she is going to get caught with the stolen money that we see any real vunerability in Marion.


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#15 melissasimock

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 02:46 PM

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?

 

You know there is going to be some intensity in this film.  You will be on the edge of your seat.  There will be tense and anxious moments.  There is brokenness to these characters.

 

 

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?

 

If Hitch is showing it to us, we know it's important information.  It tells us exactly when and where the story starts.  Before we even hear Janet Leigh refer to her boss or her lunch break, we already know this is a normal work time for most people.

By going in thru semi-closed binds we know we are seeing something private.  Something the characters don't want anyone to know.  

It reminds me of the opening of Shadow of a Doubt, when we go into Charlie's room.  And obviously the huge window opening scene in Rear Window.

 

 

 

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.

 

She is the first character we see.  She's the one who's taking control of the situation.  She's the one who lives in Phoenix, while Sam travels there to see her.

 

 

 


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#16 filmcat

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 08:31 AM

After posting my response to this Daily Dose, I started to read what other students had posted and I was surprised when I read ****' post that the horizontal lines represented a knife stabbing and the vertical lines represented a knife slashing.  I felt this was a bit of a "reach" to match the graphics with the film and I didn't think anyone would see that from the opening unless they had already seen the movie.  But, I went back and watched the opening again.  While I'm still not sure you would think of a knife stabbing or slashing just by looking at long, straight lines, I have to admit that the graphic design coordinated with Herrmann's brilliant score ​which mimics the rhythm of a knife stabbing and/or slashing really does bring that to mind!  Well done analysis!!  I'll never see this opening again without thinking of the knife attack!


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#17 filmcat

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 08:01 AM

The straight horizontal lines of the graphic design look like window blinds, introducing the voyeur theme.  The vertical lines appear to be prison bars, giving up reason to believe there will be a crime.  The music definitely gives the feeling of a chase or running away, so we think that someone will be running away from a crime and being chased.  The music also gives a feeling of being tense and makes us feel fear, menace, danger, and even violence.  These feelings, combined with the speed of the music, (and, of course, the title of the film) gives a feeling of craziness or psychotic behavior.  Also, as some of the words, like the title of the movie, are cut by the lines, it might lead us to think of a split personality.

 

The graphic emphasis of the precise place, day, and time give a very realistic note to what is happening, like a police procedural TV show.  The more realistic and the "closer to home," the more fear that it is real and could really happen.  By having us "go through" the blinds, we feel we are peeking in the hotel room like a voyeur.  Then, we see the two on the bed, half dressed.  At 2:43 p.m. on a weekday, in a "seedy" hotel, this screams illicit affair.  The opening is definitely reminiscent of the opening of "Shadow of a Doubt."  Although we didn't go through blinds or see anyone in bed (except on the balcony), this opening also reminds us of looking through windows in "Rear Window."

 

With the first look "through the blinds," we know that Marian and Sam are having an illicit affair in a seedy hotel in the middle of the afternoon.  Very quickly, we feel that Marian is the lead character in this relationship.  From the dialogue, we know that she is the one who took the "extended" lunch hour, she is lying slightly on top of Sam, she decides to stay or go, and she tells him this is the last time.  While both actors would probably be known to the audience, Janet Leigh was definitely a bigger star.  Finally, the opening credits would also indicate that Janet Leigh/Marian Crane is a main character when it states "and Janet Leigh as Marian Crane."



#18 Mrs. Archie Leach

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Posted 31 July 2017 - 04:46 PM

  1. This is the only film of the three mentioned that was shot in black and white and the result is a stark, sharp sequence. The music is brilliant and very deliberately jarring. The way the lines sweep from side to side reminds me of a window curtain being pulled open and closed. It reminds me of the figure in the window of the house. Also, the way the lines appear to create names ... at first you get part of the word but you can't necessarily decipher what the names are until the whole word is assembled. To me, that was reminiscent of the storytelling technique. We will get parts of the story throughout but the whole picture won't be revealed to us until the end when it all comes together.
  2. I think the reason for the specific date and time is to establish that these people are playing hooky. They are doing something wrong ... at least Marion should be at work. Hotel rooms in the middle of the afternoon would tend to imply an illicit affair. We enter the blinds and the window as voyeurs and it reminds me of Rear Window in that regard. In that situation, we are looking outwardly at the world. In this situation, we are looking inside ... maybe a hint that this is somewhat of a psychological thriller.
  3. We immediately know Marion is having an affair with Sam. It's not just an affair -- she loves him. We know that what she wants is to be married and for some reason, that can't happen at the moment. I think she's sympathetic in that regard. She is introduced as someone perhaps grappling with moral dilemmas -- she says this is the last time she will meet Sam. This is a good set-up for the dilemma with the money she will face later. She is tired of not having what she wants and is about to take action to get it,


#19 karenod1

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Posted 31 July 2017 - 10:12 AM

Daily Dose #17 Psycho 

 

1.  The titles combined with the music set the scene right away for action, suspense and thrills. 

 The lines slicing through the titles...is a the perfect way to set up the Knife scenes....the music enhances it with it's pounding rhythms like a knife stabbing over and over. The combination make us feel uneasy, apprehensive right from the very beginning of the movie. 

 

2.  I believe the specific place, date and time bring us to reality...it's an ordinary day in an ordinary place in the middle of the afternoon but then we enter through the window (a la Rear Window) to witness a not so ordinary Friday afternoon event. Two people having sex in the afternoon, we know without any words that it's secret and forbidden sex. 

 

3.  I think that the scene sets up Marion as a nice ordinary girl in a not so nice situation. She is involved with a married man, she is taking time off from her job to have sex with him. Although she says she's not going to do this any more, you can tell by her actions and the pain in her voice that she probably will. She is dressed in white underwear which I believe Hitchcock did on purpose to establish her as a nice girl. Later after she steals the money, she is in black underwear (the bad girl). 



#20 dmaxedon

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Posted 31 July 2017 - 03:54 AM

1. The opening credits hit you like a frying pan in the face, with music that sets the pace and the tension, and then the credits come in and are equally fast-paced and tense. There's also a not so subtle frenzied quality, like I suspect the inside of Norman's mind might look like visually. The bisected text is an additional (perfect) touch to let us know there's violence a foot, in particular the last credit "Directed by Alfred Hitchcock", where it jarringly separates, cracking up before our eyes. The two combined, really gets you ready for what's about to come, even if you don't know it yet!!

 

2. I think it's to hint at the fact that this could be real, since it is (loosely) based on the real story of Ed Gein, it's not just anywhere, anytime. It's like the beginning of the tv crime dramas of the day, e.g., Dragnet, it puts us in a very specific place and time, that we can actually go to, grounding our reality in facts.

 

We go through the blinds to foreshadow the peeping tomfoolery we're about to experience, like in Rear Window, except this time it's dark and puts us in a Norman state of mind. Them being partially clothed only adds to the voyeurism aspect, especially back in the day, wow!

 

3. Marion Crane isn't your typical demure woman of the period, she's risque, willing to flaunt the rules a little, but she's also still a regular working girl, who doesn't want to meet in seedy hotels, which hints at her strength, and is also reinforced in upcoming scenes. The whole first part of the movie focuses on her, and who she is, and even though she's dispatched relatively quickly, we connect with her, and care about her outcome.






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