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"Psycho"

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Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" must be the greatest horror film of all time.

 

It is just so disturbing - and so scary.

 

The casting of Tony Perkins as a maniacal killer was a stroke of genius.

 

You hear so much about the coming-together of this movie and all of the "stories" are very interesting ones, too.

 

The most bizarre, if true, is that Hitchcock wasn't at all sure about the film and even thought about cutting it up into segments for "Alfred Hitchcock Presents".

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I thought everyone was so well cast in this, esecially Anthony Perkins.  And if you've read the original novel, the description of the Norman Bates character is nothing like Perkins.  Originally, he was middle aged and quite heavy.

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Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" must be the greatest horror film of all time.

 

It is just so disturbing - and so scary.

 

The casting of Tony Perkins as a maniacal killer was a stroke of genius.

 

You hear so much about the coming-together of this movie and all of the "stories" are very interesting ones, too.

 

The most bizarre, if true, is that Hitchcock wasn't at all sure about the film and even thought about cutting it up into segments for "Alfred Hitchcock Presents".

The clinical description of Bates' condition by Simon Oakland at the end of the film is not a great ending. It doesn't fit in with the rest of the film.

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The clinical description of Bates' condition by Simon Oakland at the end of the film is not a great ending. It doesn't fit in with the rest of the film.

No, I disagree, you really needed to know what was going on.

 

The psychiatric revelations were fascinating ones.

 

And the end shot of "Norma Bates" - talking, talking, talking - is a stunning finish.

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No, I disagree, you really needed to know what was going on.

 

The psychiatric revelations were fascinating ones.

 

And the end shot of "Norma Bates" - talking, talking, talking - is a stunning finish.

Hitchcock thought he needed this to explain the plot- but the final fade out with Mother and the fly is unforgetable

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The cast was great except for John Gavin. He was way too poker faced when he learned officially of Marion's death despite all of the hotel wooing that took place before she disappeared. I mean... SHE was the one who had to lick the stamps for his alimony checks! She should at least be mourned. (I am OK with Vera Miles' Lila being a bit poker faced, but she worked hard getting answers and vengeance already. John's Sam just tagged along.) Also he seemed entrenched in 1950s sensibilities. "Why did he... dress... like that?" What? Didn't he watch Bugs Bunny cartoons? Nothing wrong with a little drag, as long as you don't carry a knife with you stabbing people.

 

John McIntire as the local sheriff was great simply because of his voice. I love all of the Old Time Radio stuff he did, like Suspense on CBS.

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The cast was great except for John Gavin. He was way too poker faced when he learned officially of Marion's death despite all of the hotel wooing that took place before she disappeared. I mean... SHE was the one who had to lick the stamps for his alimony checks! She should at least be mourned. (I am OK with Vera Miles' Lila being a bit poker faced, but she worked hard getting answers and vengeance already. John's Sam just tagged along.) Also he seemed entrenched in 1950s sensibilities. "Why did he... dress... like that?" What? Didn't he watch Bugs Bunny cartoons? Nothing wrong with a little drag, as long as you don't carry a knife with you stabbing people.

 

John McIntire as the local sheriff was great simply because of his voice. I love all of the Old Time Radio stuff he did, like Suspense on CBS.

Gavin was a cold fish and Hitchcock needed Janet Leigh's help in order to make their romantic scenes work.

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He was OK in other movies like Imitation Of Life, if a little stiff there too. He was better as a model than an actor. Obviously he had the looks.

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Please don't hate me because of my looks!

 

5582983.0c566076.560.jpg

For such a handsome specimen of manhood he seemed really shy about taking of his shirt- I wonder who persuaded to go practically naked in "Spartacus"

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Hitchcock made a brilliant choice by casting Anthony Perkins. Bates in the book is closer to Ernest Bornigne or  Rod Steiger.

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The image quality of the print used yesterday seemed superior to any DVD version I've seen.

 

Yea,  I also noticed that.      I wasn't planning on watching the film (yet again),  but after I saw how 'clean' the print was I put down the remote!

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The image quality of the print used yesterday seemed superior to any DVD version I've seen.

It was a remarkable print.

 

I felt that I was watching it for the first time.

 

I do wonder the reason for Hitchcock's choice of Anthony Perkins - since he is so different from the character in the book.

 

Was Hitchcock going for somewhat of "a romantic image" - thereby increasing your shock at the film's final reveal?

 

Or was he going for a somewhat "softer male image" - since Norman dressed up in his mom's clothes?

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Somebody can answer this with specific information. Maybe Hitch was impressed by Perkins acting nervous around aggressive ladies in earlier films of importance, such as that classic farm scene when he is surrounded by sex-starved women in Friendly Persuasion.

 

I think of Perkins as a cross pollination of several favorite actors of the Hitch filmography. Among these are Robert Walker (always smiling but ready to go nutty when he sees a woman with glasses), John Dall, Farley Granger (mostly a good guy, but still a sucker to both Walker and Dall and their "perfect" crimes), a little dose of Cary Grant (good guy in North By Northwest who is always in trouble with women, but constantly questioned in Suspicion), Ray Milland in Dial M For Murder (trying to get away with a "perfect" murder of his wealthier wife Grace Kelly and failing) and probably a couple others you can add.

 

Hitch also liked women causing the most uber-intelligent men to crumble. One aspect that I find interesting about Psycho is how we see Marion's sister (Vera Miles) pushing Sam into the investigation since he is just as weak as so many other men in the movie (not making the move with his ex-wife so he and Marion can stop sneaking around hotel rooms), just as Mother pushed her weak son into murdering Marion, who is still quite strong (just as Mother "sounded strong" to her) and is at least willing to escape from her personal "traps" in a way the flightless bird stuffer can't. Norman may have killed three women in ten years as well as his mother, but mother still won.

 

When I first saw Psycho, I felt the first half was better than the second half, due to some of the over-acting. Yet it gets better over time because of a lot of little things you pick up. I especially love the bizarre tracking shot as we elevate above Mother's bedroom door before Norman carries her out and down to the cellar. Of course, we all know she is "stuffed" like a bird in repeated viewings, but it is still a fun scene. Overall, it is far superior to Vertigo and I would replace the other on Sight & Sound's Top Ten Lists any day. I think of Vertigo as an experiment that didn't quite work, while North By Northwest and Psycho involved Hitch taking all of the best parts of his earlier films that worked and taking things to the next level (a.k.a. people on the run, either Cary Grant or Janet Leigh, but this time Mother succeeded in killing while the crop dusting plane failed and, thus, new replacements were required now that the main character is dead and he was able to make a "two part" experiment more successfully than Vertigo). There is just so much you can read into it with repeated viewings, especially the Norman/Marion discussion of "stuffed" birds (and how they look better stuffed than dogs and cats) and, fittingly, getting their revenge in his NEXT film even though THAT blonde survives all of the knifely "beaks".

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It was a remarkable print.

 

I felt that I was watching it for the first time.

 

I do wonder the reason for Hitchcock's choice of Anthony Perkins - since he is so different from the character in the book.

 

Was Hitchcock going for somewhat of "a romantic image" - thereby increasing your shock at the film's final reveal?

 

Or was he going for a somewhat "softer male image" - since Norman dressed up in his mom's clothes?

It was an excellent print- the thing I notice this time is how attractive Perkins is as Norman.   If Norman had been closer to the book I think the audience would have suspected something sinister was going on.  I don't think Norman is projecting a "softer male image"- he does come across as more sensitive than Gavin's Sam.

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Somebody can answer this with specific information. Maybe Hitch was impressed by Perkins acting nervous around aggressive ladies in earlier films of importance, such as that classic farm scene when he is surrounded by sex-starved women in Friendly Persuasion.

 

I think of Perkins as a cross pollination of several favorite actors of the Hitch filmography. Among these are Robert Walker (always smiling but ready to go nutty when he sees a woman with glasses), John Dall, Farley Granger (mostly a good guy, but still a sucker to both Walker and Dall and their "perfect" crimes), a little dose of Cary Grant (good guy in North By Northwest who is always in trouble with women, but constantly questioned in Suspicion), Ray Milland in Dial M For Murder (trying to get away with a "perfect" murder of his wealthier wife Grace Kelly and failing) and probably a couple others you can add.

 

Hitch also liked women causing the most uber-intelligent men to crumble. One aspect that I find interesting about Psycho is how we see Marion's sister (Vera Miles) pushing Sam into the investigation since he is just as weak as so many other men in the movie (not making the move with his ex-wife so he and Marion can stop sneaking around hotel rooms), just as Mother pushed her weak son into murdering Marion, who is still quite strong (just as Mother "sounded strong" to her) and is at least willing to escape from her personal "traps" in a way the flightless bird stuffer can't. Norman may have killed three women in ten years as well as his mother, but mother still won.

 

When I first saw Psycho, I felt the first half was better than the second half, due to some of the over-acting. Yet it gets better over time because of a lot of little things you pick up. I especially love the bizarre tracking shot as we elevate above Mother's bedroom door before Norman carries her out and down to the cellar. Of course, we all know she is "stuffed" like a bird in repeated viewings, but it is still a fun scene. Overall, it is far superior to Vertigo and I would replace the other on Sight & Sound's Top Ten Lists any day. I think of Vertigo as an experiment that didn't quite work, while North By Northwest and Psycho involved Hitch taking all of the best parts of his earlier films that worked and taking things to the next level (a.k.a. people on the run, either Cary Grant or Janet Leigh, but this time Mother succeeded in killing while the crop dusting plane failed and, thus, new replacements were required now that the main character is dead and he was able to make a "two part" experiment more successfully than Vertigo). There is just so much you can read into it with repeated viewings, especially the Norman/Marion discussion of "stuffed" birds (and how they look better stuffed than dogs and cats) and, fittingly, getting their revenge in his NEXT film even though THAT blonde survives all of the knifely "beaks".

"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".

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"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!

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To me, the greatest performance by a male in the entire decade of the 1960s, is Anthony Perkins, in PSYCHO.  I love every second, every person, every thing about it.

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Great observations,  JLewis.  I love PSYCHO, too; it has so many wonderful touches that we can appreciate with each viewing.  I also do love Laurene Tuttle and John McIntire. (Laurene was also fine as Cary Grant's secretary in MR. BLANDINGS BUILDS HIS DREAM HOUSE.  They both were great supporting character actors.)  One minor quibble:  I don't think her "IN BED" was a dig at Sam.  I think she said that because it was a shocking gossipy thing to repeat.  She didn't know Sam and Marion were having physical relations.  Still, I love that line and the way she delivers it is priceless.

 

John Gavin - not the greatest actor in the world but he's got the looks and the body - no wonder Marion wanted him.

 

I know there are disagreements about the "tacked on" ending but I like it with the psychiatrist explaining things and the fade-out with Norman/Mother smiling and the car being dragged out of the swamp along with that wonderful musical score. 

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One minor quibble:  I don't think her "IN BED" was a dig at Sam.  I think she said that because it was a shocking gossipy thing to repeat.  She didn't know Sam and Marion were having physical relations.  Still, I love that line and the way she delivers it is priceless.

 

I know that. It was just me coming up with an amusing observation. I think of Sam thinking that he had to "sneak around" to avoid gossip himself. Lots of Eliza Chambers in the world. I also think of Caroline (Pat Hitchcock) discussing all of the family members calling the real estate office, trying to know everybody's business. Add to this: mother and lover being found "dead". Interesting shot later with Vera Miles' Lila seeing mother's bed with a crease on it, suggesting somebody was lying there. Was it just one person?

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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!

I disagree with the shower murder as "hokey" it's still more effective than a lot of current murders were they just show you a lot of blood and gore

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