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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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#21 dmaxedon

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Posted 31 July 2017 - 03:26 AM

*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."



#22 AmyV

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Posted 30 July 2017 - 08:22 PM

1. How does the graphic design and the score introduce the main themes of this film? 

Wow! The frantic/frenetic music!  That, along with the graphic design with the names and the very title of the film, makes me think of someone cracking up.  It's heavy & stressful sounding, could be scary & hint of danger.

 

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?

It is a helpful foundation for the entire story.  For example, Marion mentions "these extended lunch hours," and we think Yes, that is quite an extended lunch hour if you are not returning to work until 3:00 or later! It says something to us about her character that she is willing to lie about that & take a chance by lengthening her lunch break to that extent, all to secretly "hang out" with the guy Sam.  Also, it lets us know that this story begins in conjunction, basically, with the start of the weekend.

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?

It immediately brings home the point that these two people are probably doing something they should not be, are sneaking around - hence, the semi-closed blinds.   It makes me think of "Rear Window"; although, our view there was from Jeffries' apartment window looking OUT to the courtyard & other side, then back into his apartment where he is dozing in the wheelchair.  And, certainly, as others have said, in that case, the windows & blinds were wide open; he was not trying to hide anything.

 

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.

Partly due simply to the fact that she is IN the opening scene with another big name actor of the day, it makes her seem like a main character. She also begins revealing little bits about her work life and these trysts with Sam - providing insights into her life which will surely be pertinent to the story. 

 

*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!?



#23 Jennifer Anne

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Posted 30 July 2017 - 02:54 PM

1. The music has a steady hum which suggests a constant motion--that of a car driving on a long journey, or the inner workings of an anxious mind. The linear graphics work well to visualize this motion and also mimic the strings of the violin, so prominent in Hermann's score. Together, the music and graphics create an anxious atmosphere often disrupted by a rattling bass or piercing high notes, leading us to experience our fear of the unexpected. The graphic lines crack and fracture text in a visualization of Bates' psychological break.

2. Mid-afternoon on a Friday fairly close to Christmas is when many people are not concentrating on their work and are anticipating the weekend; in other words being in a place they may not want to be while their mind is wandering "somewhere else". This feeling is common to all of the characters in the film. As for the specificity of the location and time, it is suggestive of a detailed police report.

The shot through the blinds is reminiscent of the introduction to Rear Window; yet the fact that the blinds are partially closed hints that we are peeking at a private moment not meant to be seen by others. The blinds, in this sense, are very much a keyhole.

3. Janet Leigh is the one who has the most anxiety in the scene--she picks up the tension established in the title credits and carries it forward. Hitchcock has reversed the gender roles to a certain extent: Leigh is the one who has to rush back to work, while Gavin is more blasé and in no hurry to leave the hotel room. Leigh is shown as more in control of the action: she is over Gavin kissing him with her back prominently displayed to the camera, but she is also the one to stop their afternoon tryst. She also appears comfortable and confident being partially dressed, yet as she hurriedly puts on her clothes she reveals her anxiety and displeasure with the status of the relationship--and that of her life.

#24 lovebirding54

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Posted 30 July 2017 - 11:28 AM

The graphic design and the score introduce the main themes of this film with it abrupt, fragmented sounds of violins as well as the lines sharply moving back and forth across the screen. The disjointed word Psycho along with the music lets us know we are going down a dark road and the word splitting seems an indicator of what is to come.

 

The shots with information are used to specify that his the middle of a day and these people are on their lunch hour in an ordinary city and on just another day for ordinary people stealing some time together on an ordinary work day. Hitchcock elects to enter the hotel room through semi-closed blinds from the outside to make the audience feel like they are voyeurs and peeping into an intimate time for a couple. The scene opens with a panoramic of a city and then closes on to a personal view of inside a hotel room. This scene is similar to Rear Window with its panarama of the outside of Stewart's courtyard then going inside to his apartment.

 

In this opening scene we establish that Marion Crane is not married and having sex in a cheap hotel on her lunch hour with Sam Loomis who is from out of town. She refers to her job and the fact that she wants marriage and this will be the last meeting like this. The scene leaves us wanting more about their future. I love the fact that I learned about the way Hitchcock put her in a white undergarments before the robbery and than black after at the Bates Motel. The peeping through the open blinds is also reoccurring scene later at the Bates Motel as well. And the line "They don't care when you check in, but when your time is up..." is again Hitchcocks dark humor.    



#25 LRH

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Posted 30 July 2017 - 08:27 AM

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?

 

The graphic design is about fragmentation.  And there are many fragments or cuts in the film:

Good Marion vs Bad Marion (see comment in #3 below)

Norman’s split personality

The cuts of the shower scene

The two-part movie – before and after Marion is killed

 

The score follows this idea of fragmentation.  The opening music is made up of melodic fragments that reappear in various orders, mixed and matched.  Check out the terrific analysis along these lines in the following article:

 

Tom Schneller, “Easy to Cut: Modular Form in the Film Scores of Bernard Herrmann,” Journal of Film Music 5.1-2 (2012): 127-51.  You can see a preview of the article here: https://www.scribd.c...ernard-Herrmann

 

A couple of things about the strings-only score.  First, by having only strings, the color of the orchestra is limited.  Rather than featuring the full range of colors and timbres (woodwinds, brass, percussion, and strings), we get only the sound of strings.  The mono-chromatic orchestra matches the black and white.  Second, the violin is an instrument that closely matches the sound of the human voice.  And it is usually such a lush, romantic, sweet kind of sound.  So to use the violins here, in Psycho, in the high range is very unnerving.  It sounds like screams (like in the shower scene), and it also is a kind of perversion of the normal, warm, “humanity” of the violin.  Here the violin is twisted, like Norman Bates.

 

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?

 

First off, all of this specificity if McGuffin-esque.   None of these details matter.  I think Hitchcock used this technique to invoke a sense of “reality” in that police procedural shows, like Dragnet (which began on TV in 1951), often had this level of detail.  It’s a documentary type approach that makes the viewer feel like these crimes and people are real.  So that’s what I think Hitchcock is working off of here.  And that sense of “reality” makes the shower scene and Norman even more disturbing.  Hitchcock has set this up from the beginning to be a “true” story.  This reminds me also of the Coen Brothers’ opening of the movie Fargo from 1996 (and the recent FX series on TV continues this opening).  There they also say they are showing a true story:  “THIS IS A TRUE STORY. The events depicted in this film took place in Minnesota in 1987. At the request of the survivors, the names have been changed. Out of respect for the dead, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred.”  Having this opening also makes the audience assume that these gruesome events really happened.  And even if you know that the opening line here is just a gesture and is not true, it still colors the way you experience the film.  In both Psycho and Fargo, the horror is greater because is could be true.

 

As far as the blinds go – first they’re drawn during the day to hide what’s happening behind them.  But we peek through the bottom of them (it’s a hot day so they’re left open a bit for air), and we go right through to enter the scene.  This is very much like Rear Window.  We are voyeurs again on a hot day, looking through windows and finding sex and murder.

 

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.

 

We know she’s in love with Sam but unhappy that they have to meet in a tawdry hotel.  She wants respectability and marriage.  This sets up the motive for this good girl to steal money, which seems out of character.  Notice her bra and slip are white in this scene.  Even though she’s having illicit sex, she’s a “good” girl.  But in the scene in her bedroom after she’s stolen the money, she is in a black bra and slip.  She’s transgressed now, having stolen the money.  And Norman sees her in this black underwear when he spies on her.  Remember, “Mother” assumed all girls were bad, and she’s dressed this way (in black, like a “bad” girl) when Norman sees her through the hole in the wall, continuing also the voyeurism the film started with.  And again, Marion is in a tawdry, down-scale hotel/motel.


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#26 startspreading

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Posted 29 July 2017 - 07:20 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?

The score is a tense one, and makes me think of running away and being sought after. The title design reminds us of windows, of dismemberment – maybe of a dead body – and of putting the pieces of a puzzle together. Together, they gave us a sense of voyeurism and of suspense – we’re about to witness a crime and we’ll be invited to help the cops solve it.

 

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?

This opening is voyeuristic as well. We are going to see through the peeking blinders just like peeping tom LB Jefferies from “Rear Window” and, in a sense, also the old man right in the beginning of Hitchcock’s first film, “The Pleasure Garden”. Date, time and location give this beginning a tone of a documentary or a TV program about the police.  

 

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.

Even as a lover, she dominates the situation. She is seen being funny and speaking seriously, at the same sequence. She is taking advantage of the situation, she is not blinded by her feelings nor being misguided by Sam. She knows what she is doing.



#27 devin05

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Posted 29 July 2017 - 04:46 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?

 

The music and visual layer together reinforce a facturing.  Norman's mind, Marion's life (hope I didn't spoil anything /s)  The lines also foreshadow slashing.  Bass' other title sequences were not as fast paced.  Simple but the slashing lines are quick.

 

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?

 

Dec 11, 1959 actually fell on a Friday.  With Psycho being released in 1960, Hitchcock is establishing that these are very real, very recent events.  As discussed in the video, this is a transition in horror from supernatural to real possibilities.  Werewolves and vampires shouldn't scare, but real crazy, that's scary.  It also establishes the weekend is coming.  Later when Marion steals the money, she has the weekend to getaway.  The time tells us she is pushing the boundaries with her job for sake of the affair.  The time also establishes that this is an affair that is secretive, reinforced by peeking by the semi-closed blinds.  We are invited to be vouyers again, but later it is unsettling when we participate with Norman as peeps on Marion.  Are we very close to being pushed over the edge like Norman?  Of course this technique is similar to Rear Window and Shadow of a Doubt.  But more effective here I think.  We creep up on the window, first panning, then intermediate shot, then a shot takes through window actually into the room.  Not that Hitch should have done the other movies the same way, just that if he wants to get into Norman's mind we are echoing his actions later.

 

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.

 

I always liked Psycho because it takes it's time on evolving.  We aren't immediately introduced to Norman.  The focus begins with Marion.  Which really amps up the shock in the bathroom scene.  It begins very Film Noir ish and morphs into thriller/horror.  Although the first voice is Sam, the first person seen is Marion.  But she directs the future action.  She says it's the last time, like the skier in The Man Who Knew Too Much, foreshadowing, "The last run, the chance, the last day of my life", but she means a ultimatum.  No more secrets.  She wants a real relationship with Sam, no more sneaking around.



#28 Krushing

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Posted 29 July 2017 - 04:19 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?

It reminds me of the split in Norman personality. He seems like a nice person at the beginning but is anything but nice. It also is voyeuristic. We enter through a window as if we are spying on the lovers.

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 that he shows us this because he is wanting us to know that these two are secret lovers. At least one of them is married. I think he does this so we don't get too attached to them. When she dies, we will be for Norman instead of her.

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.

I think it makes her look like a home wrecker. She is having an affair in the middle of the day. He is no better but you can tell she controls the scene. We see his face more but she is doing all the talking and telling him that this can't happen anymore. In other words, drop your wife and marry me or this is gone.

#29 Soonya

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Posted 29 July 2017 - 03:44 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?

The lines and words of the title design come together and then break apart which foreshadow the coming together and breaking apart of both the young lovers and mother and son. The intense sounds of the strings create tension in the audience in much the same way the gothic styling of the mansion and stormy night foreshadow something horrible is going to happen.

  1. 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?

Crimes are cataloged by these types of specifics - place, date, time; this is Hitch’s way of subconsciously letting us know a crime has been or will be committed. By approaching the seedy hotel room via the outside we are getting our own hands dirty in much the same way Jeff did in Rear Window.

  1. 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.

Not only does the hotel scene show us that this movie is going to be about the relationship between Marion and Sam, but in it, we see Marion seeming to control the action as evidenced by when she told Sam that she indeed may look for someone else, her eyes didn’t say, “I’m joking.” Also, she determined when it was time to leave the room and did not wait for Sam.



#30 Thief12

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Posted 29 July 2017 - 01:06 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?

 

First, I think all three collaborations are perfect and each fits their respective films perfectly. In this case, both Bass and Herrmann go minimalist, the former with just bare lines, slashing left and right, while the latter goes with an only-string approach.

 

The score is a tension-filled, restless one, with continuous ups and downs that only help to make one nervous. I liked Dr. Edwards' expression that it felt like "scratching in the back of his skull". The title sequence, with its continuous stripes, might even resemble slashes from one side to the other. But also, the skewed title might be a foreshadowing that something is twisted, or something is not necessarily what it seems.

 

Both help create a sense of restlessness from the beginning. It sorta has us in our toes from the start, even though what comes after, is a fairly calm scene with Marion and Sam at the hotel room.

 

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 don't know, but I get the feeling that the specificity of the location and date lead us into focusing on Marion, where she is and what she's up to. I think it's Hitchcock's attempt of fooling us into thinking that her character will be the focus of the story. I mean, she is, but my point is that it might increase the shock of seeing her die halfway through the film.

 

As for the window, it's yet another part of "Hitchcock's touch"; the voyeur aspect of us, the audience, looking at a couple through their hotel window. In a way, it reminded me of some of those 30-40's films (Rebecca, Lady Vanishes) that started with a pan of a certain area (Manderley, the inn) as it enters the room. In that aspect, it also reminded me of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, as it puts us in the room with the titular couple, or Rear Window as we start in Jefferies apartment looking at him sleeping.

 

3. In the remainder of this sequenece, 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 Norhwest 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.

 

We are quickly presented with her situation, involved in a relationship that might or might not have future. We are drawn to her predicament of wanting a more steady relationship with Sam. She is determined to do the "right thing", even if it means leaving him if they don't start a "respectable" relationship. She doesn't seem to care about money or personal possessions, as long as she can be with Sam.

 

 

 


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#31 luismminski

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Posted 29 July 2017 - 01:00 PM

The collaboration of Saul Bass and Bernard Hermann portending masterfully what will come, psychosis, double personality, crime.

With regard to the timely location in Phoenix and the voyeuristic introduction of the characters, I think contributing to make the best Mac Guffin in Hitchcock's filmography.  We began to see a character, we enter in their lives and in their concerns, we identify with the couple and their problems.  It is a private scene that we see "hidden". As in Rear Window, we get into the lives of people through the director ´s eye.

Obviously, this scene would have been more difficult or impossible to do on the censorship. But times changed, and, in addition, the fact to be made almost like a film of class B, I think, allowed Hitchcock, - on the other hand always sought tension the rope to the maximum - make the scene as he wanted to



#32 Marianne

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 10:04 PM

2. As the titles end [in Psycho], 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 you of any other Daily Doses we have watched?

 

Since I have seen the Daily Dose for Psycho, I heard on a DVD special feature (not for Psycho because I still haven't been able to bring myself to see the film again, even though I have seen it and know what to expect) that Hitchcock added “Friday, December the eleventh” and “Two forty-three p.m.” because he saw some Christmas decorations in the background of some location shots in Phoenix. Not sure if that is a true story but it sure solved his problem creatively.

 


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#33 ManondelaCure

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 05:55 PM

Psycho and repression comments Part Il

 

I keep thinking about Marion and the film.  It was very bold and telling that she had a white bra and white slip on in the hotel room.  We could still forgive her maybe as we didn't fully know her story, only the things implied.  This was before the actual bank crime, but after the affair had been in process.  When Norman was peeking at her, she had a black bra and a black slip after the crime.  Black vs. white, good vs. evil, pure vs. impure.  

 

Reading more about the Italian painting Norman removed from the wall to watch Marion undress and shower was disturbing.   Susanna was the a self portrait of sorts as the female painter, Artemisia Gentilileschi(1593 - 1652), painted this after being sexually assaulted by her father's friend in her own home at the age of nineteen.  Susanna was naked as she was bathing and two older men were coming towards her "preying" on her.  In the Bible the men do continue to bother her and in the Book of Daniel she is sexually assaulted.  Marion would be naked in the shower, like Susanna and Norman was preying on her, although not older than her and not a man of power other than he owns a hotel and big house on the hill with his 'mother.'   What a disturbing painting, good therapy for Artemisia as she took the older man to court in the 16th Century, but it being so essential to Alfred Hitchcock is both shocking and disturbing as to his psyche.  

 

Unlike the "Last Tango in Paris" sexual assault scene again on a 19 year old woman (continues to be have negative reactions by audiences) that scored a "R" rating, in 1960 with the changes happening in censorship the painting had to tell the story.  But most of us missed it or didn't know the painting so it was lost on the majority of viewers I imagine.  The actual trailer for the film with Hitchcock has the painting brought into the camera as a "tease" for the viewers.  The trailer gave it more importance than the film.  Important to note, Marion was not sexually assaulted as we know the definition to be today, but she was assaulted with the knife in a violent way.  Imagine filming this 45 seconds for one week with 70 shots.  Black and white, milk chocolate and still brutal and disturbing.  Please note the blog and research sites did not always agree who painted this painting.  For further reading see references below and I have attached the painting.

 

Whew ...heavy stuff in this entertainment world.   Hitchcock would have been interesting on the psychiatrist couch.

 

References:

 

The Art of Film:  Psycho Painting (December 16, 2012).  Retrieved from:  http://theartofilm.b...o-painting.html

 

Echo stains Blog (date unknown).  Retrieved from:  https://echostains.w...ia-gentileschi/

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#34 ManondelaCure

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 01:45 PM

  • Psycho opens with title design by Saul Bass and music by Bernard Herrmann ... main themes of this film?
  • The musical score and the graphic design are solidly married as one.  If you had no visual and/or no music it just wouldn't work.  You can tell the two have worked together prior as they are so in synch with what is needing to be sold to the audience right from the start.  The visual is just simply brilliant (using this word a lot in this course) as it to me, represents the mind's fragility and the psychic break Mr. Norman Bates has had and continues to have in the film.  Also, Marian has a break from her "normal, successful day job," but we know from the opening scene she is a risk taker and not your normal 1960 working woman.
  • As the titles end, we have three shots of Phoenix, Arizona ...does this shot remind of any other Daily Doses we have watched?
  • ​I believe the three titles of detail places us right in the middle of Phoenix on a December day in the late afternoon.  Kind of a lazy, almost vacation-like place with the working day coming to an end shortly.  The level of detail tells us that this will be important for later, like the time of a surgery ...or of a crime.  We know later this is important as the search starts for her.  We also learn from their discussions it is a lunch break.  But we can tell it is not a high class hotel room as basics from an IKEA-like 'Hotel are Us" place.  Not usually normal to have lunch at 14h43 ...and we see Marion has not had time to eat ...actually.  The blinds semi-close tells us something secret it going on inside, yet those inside want to have some visual viewing.  Once we see a half dressed lower portion of the man and the sexual look in her eyes, the position of Marion and her Madonna-like brassiere apparatus with her post-coital smile we know where we came into the scene at 14h43.  Once more the bed ...what the bed represents with Uncle Charlie, in 39 Steps, in the train with R.O.T. and Eve, with Burt Lancaster ...the massive impact Hitchcock centers on with things that occur while in bed.  Of course never for sleeping.  That same theme landed with soap operas in the 1960 and may continue now, as so much dialogue and evil betrayals occur in bed vs. couches, backseats of cars, etc.  We learn that something immoral has occurred as he is a married, traveling business man and she is a single working woman, maybe divorced, again not common in 1960.  We even think she isn't a mother with her perfect body, flat stomach and no signs of pregnancy with zero stretch marks.  This is highly against the norm as she isn't super young being 32 years in the film.  Most women of this generation started having kids by 18-20 years old.  I know Eve Kendall was 26 years old in NBNW, but looked older and acted more experienced too.  Their sexual intensity has not decreased since their afternoon liaison  (how long have they been there, lunch is normally about noon isn't it??) and it appears that they would need the room for another session until we hear Marion with her guilt and final sayings ...but, we know she has business to take care of at the bank yet from our previous viewings.
  • 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.
  • Marion is the bra and slip on of the time, but nothing fancy.  She is a natural beauty and has totally been vexed by Mr. Loomis to allow her to have the sexual need to meet in such a place, and several times in the past.  I tells us Marion is a risk taker, is tempted, is not married for some reason we aren't aware of (highly unusual for a woman of her beauty), is not honest as having an affair with a married man, may not be religious, is not too fancy as she allows him to take her to a seedy hotel and she has some pull at the bank with her boss to have a lunch so late in the day.  I assume banks in 1960 on Friday nights were not open later than 17h at the time of watching this scene.


#35 Master Bates

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 09:31 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?

    Saul Bass's bold, black-and-gray, parallel bars that slide back and forth--and through each other--are an abstract manifestation of a knife slashing (vertical bars) or stabbing (horizontal bars), then pulling out of, a body--repeatedly. This is a stylistic representation of the brutal murder that will be at the heart of PSYCHO.

    The murder--the granddaddy of all slasher scenes--often imitated, but never duplicated--has Janet Leigh the victim of a psychopath's continuous slashing with a large, sharp knife. Saul Bass's animated bars in the title sequence mimic--or, in this case, foreshadow--the infamous shower scene. The graphic lines slide in and out of each other--smoothly--just as a sharp butcher knife would slide in and out of human flesh.

    When the bars surgically slice the title--PSYCHO--horizontally into thirds, they presage the split personality that will commit the crime: 1 body, 2 personalities = 3.
     
    Bernard Herrmann's accompanying score in the murderous shower scene will feature famous staccato and high-pitched, or shrieking, notes on violins and other strings. But in the title sequence, we don't hear any of the shower music. Instead, we get jagged, nervous traveling music that will later play over Janet Leigh's nighttime drive in the rain after she steals $40,000 from her place of employment. The title music conveys the rapid, nervous heartbeat of an animal being chased, darting through the woods, running for its life. In Marion's case, she's being chased by her guilt as she drives from Phoenix to Fairvale to give "Sam" the stolen money.

    Bass's sliding  lines, especially the vertical ones, could also represent the repeated center stripes from her POV as she travels down the road that will lead to an off-the-beaten-path motel and, ultimately, to her doom.

    Finally, those horizontal lines in the title sequence also represent the Venetian blinds hanging in the window of the No-tell Motel.  It's through those blinds that the camera--we--enter the room where "Marion" and "Sam" are finishing another tryst in their ongoing adulterous affair. 

     
  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?

    By fonting "Phoenix" and a specific day, date and time on the screen, Hitchcock is giving us what amounts to a police-blotter style of reportage that had been popular on television throughout the decade prior to 1960, especially with the police procedural "Dragnet." ("Ladies and gentlemen: the story you are about to hear is true....," etc.) Right out of the gate, Hitchcock is adding this touch of verisimilitude, as if he's saying "What you are about to see is not just a movie. It's real.​ It happened."

    The camera-through-the-window tracking shot is reminiscent of the opening sequence of SHADOW OF A DOUBT when the camera passes through the window into the darkened room-for-rent, discovering "Uncle Charlie" lying on the bed, staring into space, at one point with his eyes closed--like a corpse. Also, in the opening of REAR WINDOW, the camera goes out a window, pans the courtyard, then comes back through the window revealing a sleeping "Jeff" and his apartment.
     
  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.

    In NORTH BY NORTHWEST, "Eve" and "Roger" are fully clothed. The sexuality of their scene in the train's dining car is transmitted strictly via their risqué banter and the looks that pass between them. The scene is sexy through innuendo, letting the dialog and facial expressions do the talking.

    In contrast, PSYCHO's motel scene is far more "raw": Janet Leigh is wearing bra and slip; John Gavin is shirtless. Our first view of Leigh is a foreshortened view--the POV from the foot of the bed--in such a way that her pert breasts, although farther from the camera than her feet, dominate the shot. Although the Production Code is beginning to lose power in 1960, Hitchcock was still unable to shoot it as a nude bed scene, as it no doubt would have to be shot today. By today's standards, nothing else would seem realistic. However, Hitchcock is pushing the envelope, so to speak, doing as much as he can to imply that sex has taken place and that the couple, when we first see them, have put some of their clothes back on.

    (On the other hand, strictly judging by their hair, I'm not exactly sure they've actually had sex. Both Gavin's and Leigh's hair is perfect, every hair in place. Maybe they are supposed to have used so much hairspray that day that their hair wouldn't have budged even in a hurricane. But, this is Hollywood when stars were still being glamorized to a ridiculous, unrealistic degree.)

    At any rate, when they stretch out on the bed face-to-face, we learn through dialog that this is an illicit affair, that "Sam" is married. "Marion" tells "Sam" "This is the last time," apparently meaning "We've got to stop meeting like this!" Of course, she's probably said this innumerable times before. But she's tired of the surreptitious trysts and wants them to have a legitimate life together. This is what causes her to later throw caution to the wind and steal the $40,000, money they can use to pay off "Sam's" debts and start a new life together elsewhere. 

    The motel scene also establishes "Marion" as a flesh-and-blood human being. It also titillates the audience, especially the male audience. Having seen her in the very opening scene half-undressed, once it later becomes apparent that she's going to take a shower, the (male) audience is again titillated into expecting to see her fully nude. When PSYCHO was released in 1960, Leigh was familiar to moviegoers, having appeared in more than than 30 movies at that point. Although her name is the last cast name listed in opening credits ("...and Janet Leigh as Mario Crane"), she is ostensibly the star of PSYCHO. 

    But knowing he has teased the audience into thinking she will perhaps be visibly nude in the shower, Hitchcock pulls a switcheroo: he instead, right before their eyes, has her killed. It's as if he's saying, "Oh, you think you can predict what's going to happen in my movie? Oh, really? You want to see something? Well, get a load of...this!" 

    (Cue the shrieking violins.)


    Hitchcock was a trickster: he's not only killing off his apparent star; he's slashing the moviegoers' naughty expectations, throwing at the audience one of the most effective curve-balls in the entire history of film. He played the audience like a Stradivarius.

    In short, Hitchcock has set us up: the fact that Leigh is the presumed star of the picture; her character's humanity; and her familiarity with the audience all serve to make "Marion's" brutal murder in the shower--some 47 minutes into the film--all the more shocking.

    Right before she is murdered, she has decided to return the money and take her lumps. We root for her. This, also, makes her savage murder in the next couple of minutes doubly horrific.



    Personal Note:
    I know firsthand just how shocking the movie was in 1960. Having heard my parents talk about VERTIGO and NORTH BY NORTHWEST, when they were going to PSYCHO in its first release, I insisted on going with them. I was 10. Not knowing what the movie included, they took me. To this day, I remember grown-ups yelling at the screen during the shower scene, "Oh my God!" It was as if everyone in that theater was being stabbed with each slash of the knife. Fortunately, it was a cold, wet Sunday when we went to the theater. Consequently, I was wearing a car-coat with a detachable hood--which, lucky for me, was attached. During the shower scene, I pulled the hood over my head and with the drawstrings reduced my view to a peep-hole (shades of Jimmy Stewart in REAR WINDOW). But I never looked away from the screen. To this day, almost six decades later, the montage of the shower scene and the reaction of that entire audience remain indelibly etched--slashed, if you will-- onto my grey matter

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#36 pwest1962

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 08:35 PM

The music is jagged and unnerving, combined with the titles which are broken parallel and horizontal lines make the viewer tense from the outset of the film and foreshadow the stabbing in the shower.

 

The partially open shades are similar to fully exposed or lifted shades in Rear Window.  Another classmate said something to the effect the blinds, "suggest the stabbing motion of the knife." Good call! The fact that they are only partial exposed tells the viewer something is going on inside that no one should see. Sex as an "Afternoon Delight" between unmarried adults spells taboo and bad girl and boy. Crane is also a bird's name and in an ironic twist, what the English call an easy natured, girl, a "bird."  

 

However, this Bird wants to get married and to end the afternoon trysts.  The boy, however, does not have enough money to set up a nest for the two.  This sets in motion the motive for Marion to steal $10,000 in cash a customer brings into the real-estate office where she works and the need to head out west to where her boy lives, so they can marry and build a nest together.

 

We know the rest of the story; the money is merely the "Magoffin" Hitchcock uses to push his little Bird toward the Bates Motel and Norman Bates and Mother!

 

Of Course, the "Bird" simile will become a reality in The Birds. 



#37 johnseury

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 07:07 PM

1. The music and the graphics are violent, jarring, and fast-paced, foreshadowing the violence that is to come.
2. The specificality gives Psycho almost a documentary feel, setting it in a specific time and place, making it concrete and real, that much more terrifying. Coming in through the blinds takes vouyerism up a notch, like Rear Window on steroids.
3. This scene establishes Janet Leigh as a femme fatale, with an emphasis on fatale and fatal to boot.

#38 lulu459

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 12:46 PM

 

  1. Psycho opens with title design by Saul Bass and music by Bernard Herrmann. How does the graphic design and the score introduce the main themes of this film

The music lets us know that something violent is about to happen. It's very jarring to the ear...it's almost the kind of sound a knife might make if it could make music. As for the visual, the graphic design represents the cutting/knifing that's about to come. It also represents Norman's split personalities.

 

 

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 day/time specificity was to show how quickly a life can change. In the space of one day, Marion went from being an honest woman trying to do the right thing in breaking up with Sam to stealing money to ending up dead in a roadside hotel. As for Norman, he spent his whole life in this secluded house until on this specific date and time Marion Crane showed up in his life and changed everything. The opening shot definitely reminds me of REAR WINDOW. I think the semi-closed blinds could be an extension of  the "slicing" we see in the opening credits--the blind slats are equal in size to the slicing in the opening sequence

 

3. 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.  

In the opening scene, Marion gives a lot of information about herself---she's tired of being the other woman, she wants to end it, she's a secretary on her lunch break. We also know she's a main character simply because it's JANET LEIGH portraying her!  The fact that she was killed off so early in the film was a pretty big deal then (it was actually the first film that ever did that!) and it added to the suspense of what's going to happen next.


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#39 mariaki

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 10:58 AM

The graphics in the opening sequence are about one splitting apart and two coming together. It's a visual interpretation of an individual (a name in the title) being torn apart and the complementary action of two parts of person forming a whole.  Together with the  music, the whole opening is really angst-filled.  The music has a driving forcefulness that hints at speed- a linear movement that makes me feel the urge to flee or to hurry to get somewhere before its too late.  Then it slows just a little and a thinner higher melody is worrying and nagging, not soothing. 

 

I think the specificity of day and time is more important than the city because  a weekday afternoon  immediately establishes the rendezvous as illicit. When there are secrets to keep, things are only going to get more complicated.  Going through the window to move into the interior shot is such a fabulous touch!  We again are put in the position of voyeur. Our eyes even need a few seconds to get used to the gloom, at first not seeing the objects in the room, after being "out" in the noonday sun! 



#40 Kwittenbrink

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Posted 26 July 2017 - 10:56 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?

    Well, the titles are splitting apart which suggests a plot that will be tearing and rending something or someone...
    The music screeches and gives the sound of something horrific like screams.  
    The two together are perfect.
     
  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 suppose the time and date are to establish the length of time that the events occur.  We need to have a base line to know how quickly things will progress.
    Entering through the blinds shows that the events inside are not to be disturbed; they are private.  The camera sneaks in just as these two characters are sneaky.
    Not really placing any other shots...??
     
  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.

    This scene is very steamy.  Interesting that it is only one year after NxNW.
    She is definitely the star/main character.  Her dialogue is interesting and leading.  We want to know the back story to the tryst.  Plus she is the "icy blonde" that Hitch likes.  

    Having seen the film so long ago, this opening scene is very interesting because I can only picture the hotel.  I look forward to watching it again, and I am also really nervous to see it since I am terrified!!!





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