Dr. Rich Edwards

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

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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 very sliced up, almost as though a knife has been taken to it. The music is also very frenzied and immediately gets your heart rate up. 

 

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?

 

Establishing the date and time lets the viewers know that this is most like a clandestine affair between these two characters, as it's the middle of a workday. Entering through the semi-closed blinds reminds me of Rear Window; as viewers, we are already voyeurs in this film (as Norman Bates turns out to be!). 

 

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 hotel room scene functions to establish Marion Crane as the main character because she has more dialogue and what she says offers more detail into her life: her job, the affair, her feelings on their affair and their future, etc. She is clearly the star.

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The music is so startling to me. The high pitch sound of the strings. It truly makes one feel nervous,

and invokes great anxiety.

There are skewed lines in the title sequence, to announce the cast, showing us that for now everything

might seem to be fine. But when we look closer, as the story develops, there is a feeling that

something is not right, or has broken down.

 

Then as we enter the opening scene through the blinds, it reminds me of the voyeuristic nature of

Rear Window.

As the story progresses in PSYCHO and Norman Bates character is revealed as the voyeur; looking at

Marion through the small peephole in the wall of the Bates Motel lobby.

 

Marion and Sam are probably where they shouldn't be. Having an illicit rendezvous in the middle of

the afternoon. Marion feels guilty, and tries to assert her control over Sam, by saying this

is the last time they will meet for their tryst. Phoenix is her home and Sam is just visiting.

Leading us to believe that maybe this affair is a lot more important to Marion.

Sam has a lot of excuses, among them pleading poverty. Which propels Marion to steal the $ 40,000.

in the first place. Thinking the money will somehow fix their problems.

 

I'm really enjoying this film class. It makes me realize all the different touches that Hitchcock has

in his movies, and how he makes them all tie together in very unique ways.

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1. The opening titles and score set a mood of disconcerting edginess. The credits come from all different directions and the letters are put together to form the whole name or word. The score highlights the overall sense of urgency with its rapid sequence of heightened changes in tempo.

2. Hitchcock gives us a specific time and place to give us an idea of what and when things are going to happen. I believe he enter the hotel room through the window so that we may be a witness to the tryst. We are given a look at someone who is "cheating" and unhappy with the current arrangement she has with her partner. This will set us up for the later sequence of events. eg. Stealing the money from her place of employment.

3. I think we are being introduced to Marion Crane as main character by showing her in a pretty risque scene in order to hook us into wanting more. We get a glimpse of her in her bra and slip, (white bra early, black bra later in the film after she steals the money) in order for us to be taken aback by her attractiveness. We want to see more of Marion Crane because she is so alluring. 

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You know Marion is going to get "stuffed" because of her name >> "Crane". Norman enjoys stuffing birds. 

 

Almost as good as the shower scene is the "clean up" scene right after. Norman is so tidy! Looks like he's done this a time or two. Mother don't play 'dat sh*t.

 

Another signature scene in the picture is the first interview of Norman by Arbogast. Top notch acting by both Balsam and Perkins. Arbogast keeps catching Norman in lie after lie. Norman continues to peck at his little bag of candies. Little does Arbogast know, he'll soon have a big knife planted in his forehead. Is Arbogast's body in the swamp, too? I forgot. I'll try and look for it Wednesday night. 

 

Edit: I found the interview scene with Arbogast and Norman:

 

 

 

Sorry, doesn't work. Go to Youtube. It's there.

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The opening is as annoying as the film. The score is a co author of this film. However, how much I love hitch, I dislike this period and this film. I know it is sentinel work, but I see this film as his decline as well. Commercial success doesn't equate to art.

 

We get the feel of watching porn, dirty. He uses the time, to say a lot about the woman, the day to set morality, and the date for reality. It never reminds me of rear window but techique the same.

 

What character? Janet is great, but the marion is not. Basically, OK to kill. Not really a great movie first or sadly last. How dated can we get. Glorifying killing a woman who is morally challenged. Hitch in decline, low budget, lower star status, needs score to tell a story, begins the movie business attempt to propel itself against tv. They had to use something that tv couldn't offer, not sex, so it's horror. Now it's special effects. Glad this genre is partly over.

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(1) Anxiety is a major theme in Psycho.  Marion is anxious about her theft, and Norman is anxious about his murder of Marion.  The title design and accompanying music induces anxiety in the viewer.  The titles enter the screen from different directions via lines that slice through the frame, which reminds me of stabbing.  (The “slats” of the titles resemble Venetian blinds, which reference the theme of voyeurism.  The different directions from which the titles enter the screen symbolize the unpredictability of Marion’s attack and allude to the fact that Marion is being watched from various angles—by Norman, and by us, the viewers.)  The transition time between each title is rather quick, thereby creating a sense of urgency and stress.  In the case of the lengthier titles, it was difficult for me to read everything on the screen before the words disappeared, thereby further stressing me out.  The music is paranoia-inducing.  The melody, tempo, and dynamics of the string accompaniment put me on edge.

 

(2) I think Hitchcock is so specific about the time and place of the opening sequence because he wants to establish that the story begins in a “normal” U.S. city and that it is the middle of a work day.  His specificity adds to the “scandal” to which the censors would have objected.  The characters are unmarried and having an affair.  While on their lunch breaks, they meet for an afternoon tryst.  This type of “reprehensible” behavior is normally associated with nighttime and shady characters as opposed to regular people with everyday jobs.  We enter the post-coital scene through the semi-closed blinds because it shows that the couple has some discretion when it comes to their sexual relationship.  This entry method also establishes the viewer as a voyeur and foreshadows Norman’s voyeurism.  I am reminded of the opening of Rear Window.

 

(3) Marion is established as the main character in the opening scene.  Hers is the first face we see.  When the camera pans to her, she is lying on the bed partially clothed and looking up at Sam, whose head is out of frame.  She tells Sam that her extended lunches give her boss “excess acid,” which shows she is aware of her employer’s stress level and has some level of concern about it.  We learn that Marion wants more from her relationship than just the secretive meetings between her and Sam.  This shows a desire for “respectability” on Marion’s part, thereby preventing early ’60s sensors from considering Marion a straight-up tramp.  In other words, for the censors’ sake, redeeming qualities are given to the main character, Marion, a sexually-active unmarried woman.  I wonder if Psycho was the impetus for the horror film trope that puts “impure” females (such as those sexually active outside of marriage) at the top of the kill list.

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Checking a calendar shows that  December 11 fell on a Friday in 1959, the previous year of the film's release. It was first shown in New York in June of 1960 only 6 months after "the events in question".

 

For those that like revisiting filming locations, head to Phoenix in 2020 for the next Friday December 11. Make sure to do it in a 1957 Ford Fairlane.   ;)

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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 gray lines mimic a couple of things: rows of knife blades and the high and low volume level of music. They slice their way together through the dark background letting in only a little bit of light (white text). Constantly stabbing at you, chasing you… making you go mad (?).

 

I predict doom and gloom… and panic… especially since Hitch insisted I sit in the theater from the very beginning. The curtain opens and I am immediately stabbed to death, audibly and visually… in black and white, with no room for error. Just a little gray area of psychotic behavior.

 

Thanks, Hitch.

 

 

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?

 

The first of the three camera sweeps of Phoenix is from a distance, the second a little closer, the third closer.

 

This hints at a few things: Pan 1: Everyday life going on in Phoenix where, from a distance, things can be overlooked. Pan 2: Getting acquainted with the city on a more personal level, seeing more detail, knowing your surroundings. Pan 3: Getting a little too close and personal with... as it turns out... Marion and Sam. We are getting closer and closer to them, just as the killer will.

 

- - - - - - -

 

The date and time is like the timestamp of an event in a news report. And/or a declaration of a time of death (or birth or...?). Or a countdown.

 

Also, we have a repetition of numbers:

12

11

2:43

 

So, that’s: 111 22 3 4

 

Depending on how you break it down numerologically (and there are many ways to do it, but here is one:), the sequence reduces to the number 5: “The number 5 is the most dynamic and energetic of all the single-digit numbers. It is unpredictable, always in motion and constantly in need of change….

 

What’s her room number at the motel? What’s the highway she drives on? What’s Mr. Psycho’s home address? How old is he? How old is she? How many times does he stab her? Etc. (I don’t know the answers, but I’m guessing there are clues there, too.)

 

- - - - - - -

 

Also… we are only a couple of weeks before Christmas (side note: strange there are no holiday decorations highlighted?) and, being that it’s a Friday, we know that it’s the end of a work week, and the weekend is coming up, and it’s time for relaxation or getting out of town, or holiday shopping, or…?

 

- - - - - - -

 

We go in through the half-closed blinds, just like we entered Uncle Charlie's room in Shadow of a Doubt. Both times, we end up on a bed; in a space where we are invading someone's personal, private space. Both times, the people within the room have something to hide. In both cases, we enter through the window as though we're a fly on the wall... where we can hear and see intimate thoughts/discussions taking place without others detecting us.

 

If we were to enter the room through a door, we'd have to knock, make our presence known, and we'd give the people inside the room time to cover up what they are doing; hide the reality of their situation. Going in through the window means we get to see their reality.

 

 

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.

 

Marion seems a bit promiscuous but only because she’s a woman in love, which seems to make it okay. She tells Sam she wishes he wouldn’t come to their rendezvous anymore… because she doesn’t have the will to stay away from him and is hoping that he does; she doesn’t feel right about their brief, romantic get-togethers. [<<At least, that is how I interpreted it!] She’s a lady, but caught up in a romance that she is powerless to avoid; caught up in emotions she can’t control/run away from….

 

Sounds a bit like Mr. Psycho to me. He can’t run away from/control his emotions either. It’s just a different realm of emotions than Marion’s. Hers are heartfelt yet self-destructive (because she and Sam have to be together in secret); his are heartless and outwardly destructive (and he expresses his emotions/conducts his evil acts in secret).

 

Anyway… we (many of us) can relate to Marion’s predicament, which helps establish her as a main character. Sam’s attention is focused on her and so is ours. I’m sure it doesn’t hurt the men’s eyes in the audience that she is scantily clad. That makes them sensitive to her plight… and when she is hacked away sans clothes later, they’ll be quite disappointed.

 

A thought...

 

Perhaps the constraints between risqué behavior in movies and TV varied a bit and, since this movie was filmed by a TV crew, there was a more relaxed sense of what could be shown and viewed on screen? For instance, soap operas had already been showing dramatic romantic relationships on TV for years at the time. So maybe the public/audience was more ready for it than the movie censors were?

 

P.S. John Gavin = handsome. :-)

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I had this post under another topic (Psycho--Key Scenes) but someone removed it for some unknown reason.

 

OK the shower scene, right?

 

As amazing a piece of cinema that it is, I feel it's value is in shocking the audience. Hitch traditionally didn't like shock as a technique. He preferred letting the audience know the killer was about to strike. Case in point is when Arbogast goes to talk to the mother. The audience is thinking "don't go up those stairs" as he slowly ascends. Same thing when Marion's sister goes to investigate the house. 

 

The key scene for me, and the creepiest, is the final scene. A great piece of film making. The voice of mother with the brilliant acting of Perkins.  The slow zoom in. The fly on the hand. And the coup de gras, the creepy smile dissolving into the car but not before a couple of frames of 'mother' are seen superimposed on Norman's face. Brilliant.

 
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I'd like some reaction from the students on the decision by Gus Van Sant to do a remake of Psycho (1998). Terrible movie by such a great director. Why would he do a remake using almost the same storyboards as the original? Why not put your own spin on the idea if, in fact, you were going to even attempt another version? Needed the money? Pressure from the studio? I admire Van Sant a lot, but the remake was an awful decision.  :angry: 

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The title sequence with its hectic, even anxious score is perfect.  I so enjoy it. In black and white with some grey, it does have a TV feel to it, what TV audiences in 1960 might expect of a cop/ crime show. One cannot escape the driving pace of this opener. Sitting in a theater, you might really feel something dire is coming.

 

I think the director wants the audience to really pay close attention to the fast passage of time here.  Things will happen quickly. Going through the hotel room blinds, knowing that it is mid-afternoon,  we might expect something illicit is going on.  The theme of guilt, illicit sex are evident in Strangers on a Train, Downhill, North by Northwest, Blackmail, if not in the Daily Doses exactly.

 

Marion Crane is a bad lady. And deserves every bad thing coming to her.  Isn't that the popular sentiment here?  Everyone knows that sex in a hotel room in the mid afternoon will get you slaughtered in the shower later.  Really though, she is established as someone who willingly takes risks to get what she desires. Pretty self-motivated. Hitchcock challenges our morals and values here. 

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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?

 

In all honesty, the title intro is a bit overrated (IMO). The score on the other hand is the bread and butter of the collaboration. I see little to nothing in the title sequence that would indicate anything about the Theme. The only thing that I can see is the slightest possibility of a “slashing” movement in the way some of the Titles are shifted around the screen. Yes it is Saul Bass, it is cool, graphic & contemporary compared to other title sequences of the day, but it is not his greatest work.

 

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 looks like a long lunch hour (2:43pm) with two lovers getting some afternoon delight in before the weekend approaches. There is a bagged sandwich on the night table that is shown for a brief two seconds and what might be a 40 oz. bottle of beer. It is warm in the room as indicated by the fan in the room and of course Phoenix in December is probably around 65 degrees. I think Hitchcock chooses to enter through the window because if we entered into the doorway it would disturb the privacy being enjoyed by the couple.

 

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.

 

I would think that it may establish Marion as a transient of some type. Perhaps she is on the move, not established in this area where she would have a family and a home. The location, a hotel room says she is passing through. I am not sure if we are certain it is her room or if they are renting it for a day together. If you watch it without the sound it may appear that she is a prostitute.

 

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1.       Music is frantic and aggressive – sets up the audience for the pace of the movie that is coming

2.       He is setting scene for potentially adulterous relationship at least one out of the norm – at this time both of these people have work obligations and the reference to “lunch” that she brought implies they have done this previously. Voyeuristic POV shooting through the window, reminds me of the scenes of the various apartments in Rear Window

3.       Marion “directs” the John Gavin character as to what she will and will not do in the future and what her expectations are for marriage.   

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1. The slicing lines suggest the slicing knife through the shower curtain we will see later. The strong black and white contrast motif will be present through the entire film.

 

2. The semi-closed blinds are reminiscent of the opening of Shadow of  Doubt. As for the specificity of day, date, and time, I think the suspense of the entire picture hinges on time. As the tension builds with every second, especially at the end. Even the staccato violins mark time, like a ticking clock.

 

3. Marion Crane's vulnerability is established right away. She's doing something she knows she's not supposed to be doing, she's nervous. She is very concerned about TIME. She has no clothes on, she is naked and vulnerable in the literal sense, too.

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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 "split" of the title in the opening credits mirrors Norman Bates' split personality.  The cutting of the credits symbolizes the literal cutting with knives that happens throughout the movie.  The music sets up a stressful, manic pace for the entire movie.  Which is interesting since there are moments of complete silence.  Norman watching Marion change, the detective walking up the stairs, Marion's sister looking at the bedrooms in the big house are all done in complete silence.

 

 

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?

 

It is set up so we know it is a Friday afternoon.  When Marion steals the money the audience knows she has a entire weekend before she is found out.  She also has an entire weekend to change her mind.  The opening of Mr & Mrs Smith are in a hotel room.  Shadow of a Doubt is done going through a window, from the bottom. The opening of Psycho is done from the top, the view of God, or a birds view since birds are all over the movie, (Phoenix is also a bird not only a city)

 

 

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.

 

It shows Marion as not an innocent, she had sex with her boyfriend on her lunch hour.  Her sandwich remain untouched, because they were busy having sex.  Not like Mr. & Mrs Smith, where the scene opens in a hotel room, with dirty plates and eaten food strew all over.  You also see Janet Leigh in her white bra and slip, getting dressed.  But when she is home, looking at the money on her bed, she has changed into a black bra.  A transition from "good" to "bad".

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1.  As Rich said, the score is irritating and causes anxiety.  It keeps time with a rapidly beating heart. 

 

The words in the title design keep shifting rapidly, also causing anxiety.  The title Psycho jerks from readable to disjointed.  The whole sequence in unsettling.

 

2.  I think the time of day is very important to the plot.  It shows that its the middle of the afternoon, very late for a lunch hour.  The day is Friday, which is also important to the plot, a little later in the story.

 

We come in under the shade because we're sneaking a look at something hidden unlike the Rear Window sequence where almost all the curtains are opened.  They are unmarried and having an affair which was quite racy at the time.

 

3.  Marion's having an illicit affair but she wants to "be respectable".  She's pushing Sam to marry her.  It shows that though she's good at heart, she is willing to break the rules to get what she wants.  This is an important piece of her character that pushes the plot forward.

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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 design suggests the thought of a whole being split into. Norman..though one man has dual personalities which eventually will meld into one. A suggestion that we all are capable of good and evil...and one of those will eventually be our dominant persona. The score adds to the frenzy of someone torn between 2 personalities and doing good versus evil.

 

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?

He is hinting we should pay close attention to the details as they will play a major role in developing the story. Such as Dr. Edwards suggested about the painting Norman moves to spy on Marion. He enters through the blinds to allow us to be a peeping tom on something very private going on in that room. Much as the raising of the blinds in Rear Window opening..which also takes us into the private worlds of the other tenants in the apartments building.

 

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 dominant personality. Sam is more laid back...willing to accept things as they are...and continue the relationship as it is. Marion is not. She wants more and is willing to forfeit the time they share unless Sam agrees to her terms.

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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 combination of the score and titles have always represented the slashing from the shower scene to me, however that’s after watching the movie. Not going any further into the film than the titles the effect is a constant jarring sensation by making the viewer react to the staccato tempo of the music and trying to keep up with the constant changes reading the titles.

 

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?

 

Wish I was this observant,

“tallguy58: 

Checking a calendar shows that  December 11 fell on a Friday in 1959, the previous year of the film's release. It was first shown in New York in June of 1960 only 6 months after "the events in question".

 

For those that like revisiting filming locations, head to Phoenix in 2020 for the next Friday December 11. Make sure to do it in a 1957 Ford Fairlane.”

 

My 1st response was gives the film the appearance of being rooted in reality. And may have been Hitchcock’s way of commenting on changing mores by preceding the following scene with Janet Leigh and John Gavin.

 

2b. Also, why do you think Hitchcock elects to enter the hotel room through the semi-closed blinds from the outside? 

 

Emphasizes the voyeurism of the audience.

 

2c. Does this shot remind of any other Daily Doses we have watched?

 

References Shadow of a Doubt, Rear Window.

 

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.

 

If you’re a “guy” then there’s no way you’re going to not think of Marion as a main character The sexuality and sensuality of the scene with her on display in a bra and slip rivets attention. (For the ladies there was John Gavin’s bare chest.) Dialog in the scene has her as the main character by giving Gavin only reactions to her demands that they stop sneaking around while continuing to physically prolong their love making.

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  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?

Visually, peeping through blinds, reading between the lines, having information come at us from different angles - different viewpoints?. The words are not always clear, or are skewed, then clear up. Somthing is slightly off. 

The music is piercing, like needle pricks. It increasing that unesy, unsettled feeling. The movie hasn't started and we are already feeling anxiety.

 

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?

 

To me, it's a documentary film format. The black and white film underscores that for me too - something I would see on CBS, for instance, at that time. It also suggests something is about to happen where the timeline is important. Also, since we are aware of the time when we enter the room via the window, we know this is not ordinary. People meet at this time to do things they cannot do freely at any time. It's clandestine.

Entering the room through the window - with 3/4 drawn blinds - is back to the peeping tom aspect like Rear Window. We're watching two people in a secret rendevouz. We learn they do this on thier lunch hour, when he is in town on business, because they cannot meet in the light of day. 

 

  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.
  2. We see her first, on the bed and she begins the dialogue, in fact she is leading the dialogue, or doing most of the talking. She's controlling this situation and seems to have something in her mind about improving the situation. Gavin seems passive.
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The graphic title design by Saul Bass introduces the themes of Psycho by rapidly dissecting a black screen first with horizontal lines and eventually with vertical lines racing across the screen piecing together credits to become readable and just as quickly breaking them apart, all to the pulsating sound of Bernard Herrmann’s rich musical score.  Symbolically showing the audience this is a puzzle told at a fast pace in bit parts and if you are not paying close attention, you will miss out on the overall story.

 

As the titles end and the audience has experienced an exhausting and unnerving stride listening to Bernard Herrmann’s ear piercing score and watching Saul Bass’ chop-chop graphics, we see a panoramic view of Phoenix, Arizona in broad daylight, Friday, December the 11th, at 2:43pm and Hitchcock has easily established the time and place as if you were reading the facts of a crime story in the newspaper.  The who, what, where and when of how this crime was executed is what follows.  I believe Hitchcock chooses to enter the hotel room through the blinds from the outside, much the same way as he did in Rear Window (1954), making us voyeurs entering, uninvited, a private episode of this couple’s life.  This is also very reminiscent of the way Orson Welles’s camera in Citizen Kane (1941) crept along the grounds of Xanadu, eventually creeping over the fence and past the “No Trespassing” sign to expose the life of Charles Foster Kane.

 

For 1959 a woman clad only in undergarments was taboo.  In spite of Hitchcock’s pushing the boundaries of censorship, Janet Leigh mentions in her book Psycho –Behind the Scenes of the Classic Thriller, she didn’t really feel self-conscious because there was less flesh exposed than there would have been if she were in a bathing suit or some décolleté evening gown. Of course a little bit of a different story when we get to the shower scene.  All of the dialog and all of the action revolves around Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), her guilt about being there, not being married, feeling cheap and concerned about her future (and thus a motive for the eventual theft).  Sam Loomis (John Gavin) as the boyfriend is more concerned about prolonging their tryst. So Janet Leigh is established as the protagonist in this scene and all else is supporting to her character and actions to move the story forward. 

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I like this title design because of the way the title and names are split up  witch I think symbolizes the personality of Norman 
Bates.

 

Hitch is trying to convey that its still a work day and that she is having an affair on a long lunch break. I think that Hitch i trying to make the point that these two will be the main characters.This reminds me of Rear Window.

 

Hitch pushes the bounds of censorship through the the fact that these characters are partially undressed/dressed.

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As Psycho is one of my Father's favorite movies, I have seen this one several times so it will be interesting to see it with all the new knowledge I now have about Hitchcock. The title design of Psycho with all the broken lines makes me think of how psychologically broken the character of Norman Bates actually is. I think that the opening scene with Marion and Sam in the hotel is setting us up for the later scene in the Bates Motel. I think that the reason Hitchcock enters the hotel through the semi-closed blinds is to make us feel that we are entering a world but it is a secret world and to discover why it such a secret world.

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1.     In this opening title sequence and scene, Saul Bass and Bernard Hermann basically tell us we’re going to get chopped up, physically, emotionally and psychologically. The broken wording brings to mind the way in which the human mind can seem illogical or completely separated from reality. The pure string orchestration when combined with Bass’ imagery, brings to mind slicing knives. The sound is harsh and unforgiving.

 

2.     The actual first shots of the film not only give us a visual on a city which is not gigantic and at the same time not terribly small. So we have a small town vibe in which you don’t have to go too far in finding someone you know or who knows you. Furthermore, the date, day and time stamp on the film lets the viewer identify with that time of year. In other words, what were we as viewers actually doing on Friday, December 11th, at 2:43 PM? Entering through a window is part of the classic “Hitchcock Touch” of voyeurism, and reminds us of Rear Window, and The Lady Vanishes, in which we literally push through a window, but also Rope and Shadow of a Doubt, in which we are introduced to the dwellings of main characters with a shot of the window. The blinds are closed, whomever is inside is deliberately keeping the window closed. Perhaps the town is too small, or is one of these two married? But all of it serves to create as sense of realism. These are two seemingly very normal people that the audience can identify with. Privacy and discretion is of high importance.

 

3.     Question 3 is tied to the second in that through the dialogue it is Marion who dictates what will happen with the relationship. She is the one who lives here and Sam is the out-of-towner. Marion has more to lose in reputation if someone finds out. They need to get married and if he’s not willing to, then they have to stop seeing each other. This is, in particular, Marion Crane on Friday, December 11, at 2:43 PM. Not necessarily Sam. Furthermore, it dictates that other events will unfold with Marion and not Sam that are date or time sensitive. 

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Both the graphic design and the score in the opening credit scene in PSYCHO are bold (even in black and white). There are horizontal gray lines that move quickly across the screen then form a word, sometimes a broken word that comes into view. After a few times, the lines change from horizontal to vertical, then back again. I believe this is showing us the dual personality that encapsulates and haunts Norman and the many directions that takes him. The graphics and music also reflect the rapid nature of the stabbing knife in the various murders we are about to encounter. The music is whirling and has that stabbing pace, and the words are broken or split before coming together. 


 


The specific setting of place and time helps us to understand the secretive nature of Marion and Sam. We learn they are sneaking around on their lunch breaks and she says that this is the last time. She states “checking out time is 3:00” and they only care about you “when your time is up” foreshadowing to her time really almost being up. The fact that she didn’t have time to eat also clues us in to the fact that she is nervous or something is truly bothering her. The blinds and the hotel room remind me of the opening scene in SHADOW OF A DOUBT where we see Uncle Charlie for the first time, as we also come through the window. The obvious strong graphic design in the opening of NORTH BY NORTHWEST with Saul Bass, same artist, is similar here as well. Although not specific to this Daily Dose, Hitchcock has murdered characters early in films before; THE LODGER, THE 39 STEPS, STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, and SABOTEUR come to mind.


 


From the opening clip, we get that Marion Crane is a dangerous but level-headed person who is about to steal more than just lunch hours. She’ll break the rules, but then reflects upon that to ultimately make the right decision. Even though she cheats and steals, we are on her side because she is smart and likable; we relate to her. We must wonder if faced with the same situation, would we take off with the 40K? Would we carry on secret love affairs? Would we skip town to start over? 

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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 visual cuts are obviously cuts, which lends itself to the film. The music in strings, as I think Edwards comments, also adds to the cut theme - you wouldn't normally think so, but it does match with the music of the shower scene. The pacing of the music also lends itself to the sense of urgency.

 

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 time might add a sense of urgency as she runs later in the film with the money. I think the blinds add to the voyeurism, but also inserts us much like Bates is in the film. Perhaps it adds to why, as Wes comments, we are rooting for Bates as he submerges the car. It reminds me of Rear Window's opening, in that we are in a viewer POV (or Hitchcock's).

 

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 establishes her as someone pushing against the norm, more daring. She's just slept with a married man, during her lunch, and in a pretty revealing outfit for the time. Hitchcock continues to push the boundaries here, and establishes qualities that will better justify her reasoning to steal so much money.

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