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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  • 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 an adulteress, a “bad girl” – regardless her beauty. That we see her in a vulnerable position creates sympathy for her, and I think we quickly accept that she is going to be our protagonist, and we are going to pull for the villain as our heroine throughout this movie.

    Little do we know…

 

When taken with the time stamp (In the beginning...), Marion's behavior (adulteress, "bad girl") fits well with the story of Eve and the Apple. Could this have been in Hitchcock's mind when he considered the shooting and telling of the story? Was he making a statement on the consequences of our choices- that sometimes, the end doesn't necessarily justify the means. Just a thought.

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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 lines run, as Marion runs from her life, job, and boyfriend. The music is short and quick, foreshadowing the slashing actions that will come later. The shorter , high pitched notes almost sound like her screams. The graphics and music definitely suggest a darker side that we will explore in this film.The dark black lines across the screen give it a scary vibe. The continuous running and linking of the lines could suggest the relationship between Norman and his mother, also, as those characters are continuous and joined too.

 

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 was very specific with that in this film, unlike others I have watched. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it was suggesting a report, like one the police might write, where dates and times are incredibly important, so we might get the idea that the upcoming scene is important. It does help to place a great deal of emphasis on that scene as the audience is looking for a reason those specifics were given. I think he enters from the outside to show us that they are doing something forbidden or wrong. It gives it a dark, theme , as if we are watching a crime. It also foreshadows covering, as in the covering up of the events- their affair, her crime, her murder. It is very reminiscent of Rear Window, as both involve watching through blinds.

 

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.

 

Hitchcock typically introduces his main characters in the opening scene, so that is one reason to suspect she is the main character. Also, she is wearing white under garments. White symbolizes innocence, which she is not innocent in this film, but first time viewers may think that. Also, she makes several demands of her lover, which indicates that she will be expecting his decision throughout the film, therefore, she will play a major role in this film.

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Daily Dose #17...Psycho 1960

 

Q1:  The Saul Bass (graphic title design) &  Bernard Herrmann (music score) works perfectly in this movie. The 'frenzied' violin is one of the best movie scores ever made for film; not too much, not too little...just right. The gray lines moving in from left & right, horizontal & vertical say to me...a coming from all sides...that's what I see. Also, the gray lines look like a highway...maybe the one Marion Crane (Janet Leigh runs away on...

 

Q2:  Where-Phoenix, Arizona ...When-Friday December 11th...Time 2:43PM ...then we see a window & 'peep' inside like "Rear Window" we see two people in the room & realize they are maybe in a motel or apartment...we learn it is a motel ... checkout time is 3:00PM Marion says to Sam Loomis (John Gavin) this is her boyfriend she hopes to soon marry... but ...he is already married I think, but not divorced...this is why they meet in secret & Marion says 'meeting you in secret so we can be secretive'.

 

I hope they go to different places every time or the desk clerks will remember them.

 

Q3: He travels to Phoenix to see Marion..& she goes on her 'extended lunch hours' to be with Sam in this motel.  Lots of motels in this movie. I can see where this scene would have been censored a few years prior to its making, though they are fully clothed Marion is wearing her undergarments; her lunch untouched. She is tired of meeting in this way & wants a different (married) life with Sam it sounds like.   *SPOILER ALERT ...This is why she steals the money. The things we humans do for love. She also may wish to punish Sam because he is not divorced & they must meet in a secret place for a secret affair. She said she does not want to 'do this' anymore.

 

I can't remember the first time I watched this movie, but I'm sure the audience was shocked when the main character was murdered early on...this just was not done. It's genius on Hitchcock's part. Genius. Genius & shocking. That is why it is known as a 'shock' movie & the character of Norman Bates (Anthony 'Tony' Perkins) was also shocking with his bird-like appearance & his bird-like actions ...he is a bird of prey...they kill. He is one of my favorite HItchcock villians  if not THE most favorite of them all. He was perfectly cast as was all the other characters. There is so much in this movie. Just watched it not long ago & will watch it again on TCM. 

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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 staccato of the music intertwined with the broad sweeping strings made me think of stabbing intertwined with driving (not sure why driving) but the more melodic part is bittersweet to me.  However, it spells danger!  Very bad!!   The Bass design made me think of split personality and fracturing of the brain.  Since I have seen Psycho repeatedly I am not sure what my initial thoughts were.  So I thought of danger, psychiatric issues and a bittersweet theme.  

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?                 Friday will be important because Marion Crane will leave and not be missed over the weekend.  It is late afternoon and we learn she should be back at work.  She is about to commit a crime and perhaps if it had been on a different day help might have arrived.  The initial scene is reality and it sane.  The music and graphics were not.  So we start off with two people who seem sane and most likely won't be the ones to commit a crime.       There is a voyeuristic quality to coming in  through the window like Rear Window and Shadow of a Doubt.  

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 involved with a man who does not seem to be interested in having an open relationship with her and she is going to end it.  She is putting her foot down and saying no more cheap motel rooms.  

 

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1. Bass and Herrmann mesh the music and design perfectly in this film. Bass' lines represent prison bars, the slats of a half open window shade and ones mind on the brink of insanity and closing of the mind. Herrmann' music portrays a feeling of anxiety and anxiousness not only of the film but for the viewer. As the credits continue the lower pitched sound of the violins portray the villain and the higher pitched ones portray a woman screaming. The viewer doesn't know how, why or what direction the movie is going in but we know it will be thrilling.

 

2. The opening scene of the movie with the place, date and time has to significance. The first has to do with the present time in the hotel and what occurs. Also it's something to note for a possible significance later in the film. As for the present moment it shows Marion and Sam in an affair late in the afternoon. Marion is playing hooky from work.

 

3. Hitchcock pushed the limits with showing the affair of Marion and Sam in the hotel room. One way he got around it was that Marion stated that they couldn't meet again and that she was tired of sneaking around. Sam teases her that they've acted like it. I don't recall in any of the movies after the pre-code era that was so visually out in the open with an affair. Yes, affairs had been alluded to but not showing a couple half naked in bed. As pointed out the discussion for this lesson that you can see how the code was beginning to change from 59 to 60. The sentence that Eva Marie Saint spoke to Cary Grant had to be dubbed "I never discuss making love before I eat." And by the end of the 60s nothing was left to the imagination anymore.

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Daily Dose #17  Psycho

 

"And I'm Crazy...for loving you..."

 

Wherein we delve into the most famous of Hitchcock's films.  

 

  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 graphic design is very stark.  Crossing lines that meet and pass on, like people on a train, ships that pass in the night, while the piercing shriek of the violins connotes danger.  

This is setting up a film about strangers who meet and the problems they encounter.  

 

Marion and Sam, secret lovers, Marion and Norman, strangers who share a meal, Sam and Lila, strangers who meet to solve a mystery, and finally, Mother and Norman, who share a secret the world should never find out...but does.

 

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 shots are classic Hitchcock.  He goes from an exterior to an interior.  The Lady Vanishes is a good example of this, and the camera going through the window is a Hitchcock signature move, and this one connoting voyeurism on the part of the audience.  The camera move actually stops once past the window to allow (us) to adjust from the brightness of the outside to the relative darkness of indoors.

The "Day and Time stamp" at the beginning is an easy way to set time and place for the audience.  It also mimics a popular Television show "Dragnet" (This is the City, Phoenix, Arizona...), as well as the documentary style of crime films that were prevalent in the mid to late fifties.

 

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.

 

   When we first see the couple, Sam Loomis's pants just blend into the wall, while Marion is lying down where a bright white bra and slip (and nylons on her feet,  so she either has started dressing as well or they really didn't do what we thought they did.).  Sam's first line is asking Marion a question.  She is the focus of the scene, but we get the feeling that they are having an affair.  Sam comments that Marion "sure talks like a girl that's been married.  And while Sam is not wearing a wedding ring, we do, in this clip, ever see Marion's left hand to see if she is or not.  So we are being led to believe that Marion is in an unhappy marriage and has been cheating on her husband with Sam.  

 

In classic Hollywood style, this cannot go unpunished....

 

 

*warning: Spoilers follow

 

As pointed out, Pyscho is probably Hitchcock's most famous film.  It spawned three sequels

(Cleverly entitled Pyscho II, Pyscho III, and Psycho IV (the last of which written by Joseph Steranko, writer of the first film) )  all starring Anthony Perkins (who also directed Psycho III, considered the lamest of the quartet - studio meddling with story), with Pyscho IV considered the best of the sequels by many, including Perkins himself.  There was also a "pilot" called Bates Motel which had no Norman Bates involved, and which had nothing to do with the current Bates Motel which has proved a popular prequel series.

 

Pyscho is among the few Hitchcock films to be remade (The Lady Vanishes has been remade at least twice) by other directors.  It flopped, as it was a shot for shot remake in color.  Many questioned, "Why?".  Because Gus Van Sant wanted to, that's why.

 

In many ways, Pyscho was a template for many of the slasher films to follow, probably the most famous of which was the original "Friday the 13th" written by Victor Miller (happens to be a friend of mine).  In fact, until I pointed it out to him, he was unaware that Friday the 13th (1980 - 20 years after Psycho)  is at its core, a "reverse Psycho".  Instead of Mother being dead and her son Norman impersonating her when he kills (Psycho), we have the son Jason who is dead (yes, really, Jason is actually dead in the first film.  The only shots of him are in a dream sequence)  and Jason's Mother impersonating him when she kills.    

 

" Kill her, Mommy! Kill her! Don't let her get away, Mommy! Don't let her live!"

 

"Mother, what have you done?"

 

- Walt3rd

 

 

 

 

 

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My heart still is racing after seeing this opening - one which,like many of us, I've seen many times - due primarily to the perfect marriage of music and graphics (kudos again to Saul Bass and Bernard Hermann). It evokes a feeling of forboding, but at a rapid pace which is both frightening and exciting - and enticing - all at the same time. The lines also suggest prison bars, i.e. being held captive that in this case, it isn't only due to a criminal act that is about to be committed, but also due to the feeling of being held captive (willingly!), as an observer. As with other Hitchcock films, we are drawn into the action immediately.

 

On the heels of this dramatic, magnetic open is the establishment of the location, date and time - all important elements to the plot, as we will discover as the story unfolds; but in the process, we are allowed to peer through partially-closed blinds into the lives of Marion and Sam, whose relationship is revealed through their conversation -- and their half-clothed bodies. We also gain a lot of information about these two people, especially Marion, that establishes her as a main character; we learn about her relationship with Sam, that she's again playing hooky from work during an "extended" lunch hour, etc. This is reminiscent of Rear Window, in which we get a panoramic view of the apartments, along with an intimate view of what's going on inside of some of them. I also was reminded of Shadow of a Doubt, which also begins with a view inside of Uncle Charlie's hotel room, and also launches us right into the action (we find out that Charlie, at the very least, is a wanted man!).

 

 

 

 

 

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1. First. I need to say that I never ever tire of this opening. I get super chills ever time. Bernard Hermann and his exquisite masterful music belong with our master of suspense. The score is an awakening that doesn't depart. The music is played simultaneously with the stark in your face "face up to this horror " fest. I'm there ! I'm in !!! I'm in from the very beginning. The very first note and graphic is solid purposeful as it expresses the evil the innocence that was polluted in Norman. (b&w) normans psyche. Etc etc etc.

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1. The opening titles are dark with thin lines of white. These lines sometimes pierce the frame from the top, bottom and the sides. Likewise the text flies in and out and sometimes splits apart. It all comes at a frenetic pace making it hard to read everything unless you are totally focused. You can't look away because you'll miss part of the title sequence. Bernard Herrmann's score is all strings. In an orchestra, strings, especially violins, are considered "voice" instruments. In this case the rhythm, whining violins strings made me feel like I was hyperventilating. The pace of the music quickened my pulse and raised my intensity level. It peaked with almost screeching sounds and then bellowed with the larger string instruments. Almost as if my heart stopped, the music stopped and we moved into a panoramic view of Phoenix with soft, almost curious sounding music as we are drawn into a partially open window. We are voyeurs again on a couple finishing an afternoon tryst.

 

2. The specificity of the date and time sets parameters for the action. It's the end of a work week (Friday) and it's late in the afternoon - the workday and workweek are almost over. Businesses might close for the weekend. People might be going out of town for the weekend. It's time to close up and finish business...one way or another. Certainly the end of the week will allow Phoenix to get a little quieter. We are drawn into the above mentioned afternoon tryst and we learn that Marion is unhappy with these types of arrangements for what appears to be some kind of "long distance" romance. Both wish for things to be different. Like the rental of their hotel room for the afternoon, time is compressed. Whatever is going to happen has to be set up before closing time. The camera moving in through a partially opened window allowing us to see inside seems like a reversal of the opening of Rear Window where the camera takes us out of LB Jeffries room and into the courtyard.

 

3. The scene opens with Marion lying back on the bed, unabashed and free. She lets her sensuality speak for herself. She doesn't like the situation and wants more. She does most of the talking, even while she is kissing Sam. She's is using her feminine wiles to push him and she knows it. She is doing this on her lunch hour. She lives in town. She works in town. She has more to lose and runs the risk of being recognized. Sam is just visiting town. He doesn't come off with any forceful manner even though he is standing over her in the opening shot.

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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?

 

As with the two other opening title sequences we watched, the score and design go together here like peanut butter and jelly or macaroni and cheese. While each is masterful and well worthy of appreciation on its own, they create something special and unique when they come together -- almost a mini-introduction to the underlying themes the film Psycho will tackle. 

 

The way the opening titles and simple lines sort of fly in from the edges of the screen to come together in the middle and fly apart again make me think of the split personality theme from the movie. You read the titles during the brief period where everything's come together in the middle, which alludes to the way Norman as an individual no longer feels complete without his mother, as well as the way he occasionally changes completely into Mother psychologically. This idea seems to be underscored by the way some of the words, including the title "Psycho", split into moving pieces that look like they're trying to come apart into fragments, but don't quite ever reach that point. Instead, the fragments just grind against one another uncomfortably. (Kind of makes me think of fault lines in an earthquake zone -- definitely indicative of some kind of turmoil, building pressure, or inherent discomfort.)

 

The score helps tell me how I'm supposed to feel about what's going on with the title design. I wish I had a better understanding of musical terms so I could speak in clearer detail about what I'm hearing, but the title theme overall "feels" frantic and anxious. Parts of it, especially the flowing parts with the high-pitched violins, remind me of a woman either pleading, or fleeing, or both. Those violins sound scared, worried, and confused. The sections with the lower-pitched strings sound more menacing, determined, and possibly angry/irritated. They remind me of a male figure or a predator pursuing someone else or engaging in something quite dark. The shorter, louder, more staccato strikes sound exactly like violent stabbing.

 

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 captions serve a dual purpose. The first has to do with the way Hitch likes to orient us in the world he's created quickly and without the need for a lot of inane, pointless dialogue. Because of that captioning, we know at a glance what time of year this is, as well as what day of the week it is and what time it is. We're skating into late afternoon on a Friday, the last day of most people's working week. If you're going to bounce early from work to go enjoy your weekend, this is when you start thinking about doing it -- going over in your mind what you'd do with a free Friday afternoon if you had it, brainstorming possible excuses to hand your boss, etc.

 

The captioning also instantly tells me that I'm watching a film in which the timeline will be vitally important. In fact, we're quite literally being cautioned to pay attention to time down to the minute right from the very beginning. I most strongly associate that approach with movies, televisions shows, or documentaries that are about a crime that's been committed (or will be soon) and an investigation that will follow. Even if I knew nothing about Psycho, I'd assume that's going to be the case here as well. The captions showing up right at this point also tell me that even though the interaction I'm about to witness might seem mundane, it's actually something important that will factor into whatever happens later.

 

Hitch chooses to enter through the semi-closed blinds to let us know something illicit is going on here -- something that isn't supposed to be happening, but is (Sam and Marion's secret rendezvous). It also not only suggests that voyeurism may carry over into the rest of the story as a theme/storytelling device, but serves to put us once again in the position of being the voyeur. It probably reminds me most strongly of the opening to Rear Window for that reason. Right from the get-go, we're being invited to spy on people that are living out their private lives, don't know we're watching, and probably wouldn't be too terribly thrilled about that if they did know.

 

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 learn from listening to the dialogue that Marion has reached a sort of crossroads. She and Sam are having an affair. Marion lives here in Phoenix, but Sam does not. Wherever he does live, it's far enough away to necessitate a plane ride, so Marion is probably not a part of Sam's everyday life in any significant way. Sam is either married or has some other reason he can't openly have a relationship with Marion. From the sounds of it, their affair has been going on for a while and while Sam sounds perfectly fine with the situation, Marion is getting tired of living in the kind of limbo you're stuck in when you're someone's secret lover. 

 

She is also making it clear that she wants something very different. A real life with Sam -- one that is whole and normal, not split or on hold with a lot of "maybes" and "one days" in the mix. This moment -- 2:43 PM on Friday, December 11th -- is the one that found her taking a stand and making a definite decision about her relationship and the direction of her life moving forward. ("This is the last time" said with complete conviction.) We know Marion is the main character because she was the one making the choice to stop the bus, so to speak. Also, the entire discussion focuses on her feelings, her thoughts on their relationship, and her hopes for the future. What Sam wants (if he wants anything) is treated as unimportant or irrelevant, because it's barely mentioned or discussed by either character.

 

This notion is reinforced by the way the camera centers on Marion most of the time, especially when we first enter the room. Plus, almost everything in our visual field at first is dark in color. Even Sam is wearing darker colors, so he looks more like part of the scenery than he does a main character. (We don't even see his face at first when we first float in through the window, just Marion's.) Marion, on the other hand, is wearing stark white and appears to be bathed in whatever light is entering the room through the window as she lies on the bed. It makes her really stand out as the focal point of the shot. Although Sam may figure into the story, we're clearly following a sequence of events that's mostly about Marion.

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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 slashing of the title could refer to the weapon of choice for Norman Bates or the fact that his mind has split into two different personalities. Marion Crane also moves from her responsible and trusted position in the office and takes off on a whim. This could also be interpreted as a break from reality.

 

 

 

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? Hitchcock is establishing a time and day to possibly set up the specifics for Marion Crane to do what she does. Having a "long lunch" with her married lover and returning to work to provide her with a two day head start in her getaway with the cash. Of course, Rear Window is an obvious choice for a similar opening as is Shadow of a Doubt. 

 

 

 

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. As we see the occupants in various states of undress, the lunch not eaten and Marion referring to the type of hotel that has a checkout at 3:00 PM that one of them is married and is having an adulterous affair. Marion wants more and is ending the relationship, Sam just wants seconds. Marion has most of the dialog establishing her as a main character rather than Sam.

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2. The exact date and time are provided to us . Viewing this as it flashes on screen is with deliberate importance Plus we are entering as peeping Toms throughout this entire movie. We peep. We peep. We don't stop peeping. Long after the movie ends we are left with the everlasting feeling of peeping. We see Marion and her adulterous lover. They are beautiful and seductive. They are also sinful We peep at them. We peep at Normans massacre of Marion. We peep at Normans pain and suffering. This daily dose is like the others as we can

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The graphic design and the score introduces the film by giving us the feeling that something bad is going to happen. It sets the time and date to remind us later in the movie what has happened in that length of time. It looks like it may be a hotel where Sam and Marion are at. The scene with the blind is down halfway reminds me of ​Rear Window​. The scene is telling us to watch for Marion.

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2. The exact date and time are provided to us . Viewing this as it flashes on screen is with deliberate importance Plus we are entering as peeping Toms throughout this entire movie. We peep. We peep. We don't stop peeping. Long after the movie ends we are left with the everlasting feeling of peeping. We see Marion and her adulterous lover. They are beautiful and seductive. They are also sinful We peep at them. We peep at Normans massacre of Marion. We peep at Normans pain and suffering due to the sad, twisted upbringing.

3. Marion was an adulterous woman. She was the object of Normans' mothers hatred . " Loose women " The vision of Marion and her lover evokes visions of Marion and Norman. She is the main character and we have been given lots of background to fan the flames of interest empathy and even some possible contempt.

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The graphic design of the titles and the score introduce feelings of suspense, psychological experience, a chase, and of course some horror. The moving of the lines and the jarring of the names indicates perhaps slicing of a sense of uneasiness. I love Saul Bass' style!

 

Hitchcock is seeking to establish a timeline of events at the beginning to help the viewer understand what Marion's life at the time soon leads up to in the first few minutes of her story and short time on screen. The director elects to enter the hotel room that way because her meeting with her lover is in secret and again we are voyeurs of a forbidden romance. This shot reminds me especially of the Rear Window opening scenes where we are introduced to the characters lives through their apartment windows.

 

The scene of the hotel room establishes Marion Crane as a woman of modesty and risk. The afternoon meeting with Sam hidden in the shadows of an unknown hotel room displays that she doesn't want her private life public. Hitchcock tastefully shows the femininity of Marion and her vulnerability.

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I think these title design and score for PSYCHO introduce the main themes of the film in that both are fast pace, poignant, sharp-seeing title design matching the psychotic rousing sounding score, like a shocker, horror movie about to happen.

I think it is seeking to establish and make sure we the audience know it is holiday season approaching, it is lunch time on a work day, and we enter the room with closed blinds letting us know something is going on in there but they still need a little bit of air; I think the scene sets us up for the Bates Motel because from the outside they look similar and edgy.

I think the hotel room scene functions as a way to establish Marion Crane (hmm, her name is spelled with an "O", that's usually the way it was spelled for a male, and with an A (Marian) for a female) as a main character by it being a similar set up for what's to come -- the hotel/motel setting, and by her ending the dallying, rising and getting dressed to go back to work. 

 

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The violins are played in a unique way in the opening score, making them sound like motion associated with stabbing (or quick, jolting movement).  Coupled with the sharp music, there is a cutting, scissored pattern appearing as the credits roll. The tone is set as frenzied and chaotic, and intentionally makes the viewer uneasy.    

 

The mention of day/date is notable, in that we know it's a Friday going into the weekend.  The time of 2:43 becomes significant when we hear Marion say that check-out is at three.   The viewer once again becomes a voyeur to the hotel room scene.  The opening shot brings the characters into view through the window blinds, making it similar to Rear Window.

 

As the scene plays out, the viewer is hearing what Marion Crane wants out of life, rather than what Sam Loomis wants.  She is setting the stage for the story to revolve around her and what is to become of her future, with or without Sam.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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 graphic design shows a split in lines and a split in the words - two halves become a whole. Perhaps this is a foreshadowing of the Norman/Mother personality split that is revealed in the end of the movie. This visual, combined with the sharp, scary music  -  almost shrill  -  raises the blood pressure and anxiety levels of the audience. We know something is coming, but what?

 

Really sets the tone of the film and grips you right away.  

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The title design with all the lines reminds me of looking (peeping?) through blinds in a window on the one hand.  On the other hand, it also seems like the credits are being sliced up.  Add the music to that, & you know that something scary is about to happen.

 

The use of the exact date & time reminded me of a police report (a la Dragnet....just the facts, ma'am).  You're being given information that can help you understand the context of what is about to happen in the film.

 

Marion Crane is the person doing most of the talking.  She's giving you information about her & Sam's relationship, including the fact that she's not happy with the relationship's current state.  She has control of the focus of the opening scene, much more than Sam.  She is the obvious main character.

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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?

 

(I wonder how this extraordinary collaboration came off?  Hitchcock, Herrmann and Bass had to communicate in some form.  Which came first, the development of the titles or the music?  Of course, the final draft titles and music had to be fully synched and approved by Hitchcock.)

 

Psycho is a complex psychological thriller that again plays with dualities or doubles.  In this film, the major theme involves the split personality disorder of Norman Bates.  However, it also involves a split in Marion Crane’s personality as someone who becomes desperate to be with and help her lover Sam Loomis and does something that she never would have imagined herself capable by stealing $ 40,000.  It is this theme of duality in the nature of people and situations that must have inspired Bass to produce the almost deceptively simple bands of gray against black that seem to chase the white titles on and off the screen.  There is no escaping the feeling that these bands slice the screen with clinical precision in vertical and horizontal directions as a surgeon’s scalpel.  The credit titles, like shards of glass, come together and split back apart with surgical precision.  The Psycho title actually splits momentarily into three pieces moving back and forth on top of each other.  Herrmann’s score made up entirely of string instruments compliments the graphics but can actually stand on its own with its furious, totally original rhythms.        

 

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 Arizona cityscapes, dull and dry like cheap postcards, are used by Hitchcock to indicate a rather humdrum, ordinary existence of the inhabitants of the city including the people in this hotel.  One camera shot is positioned at a very high angle looking down at the hotel windows which seems to be a position of judgement like God.  Of course, Hitchcock uses the day, date and time to establish the time frame of the story which is the end of a work day and the beginning of a weekend.  The day, date and time credits sweep on and off the screen with the same surgical precision as the opening titles that is the sort of information that might appear in a very unemotional straightforward police report.  (This is the first time that I’ve thought about the story occurring in the month of December, very close to Christmas.  That’s interesting because I don’t remember seeing any Christmas decorations at the real estate office, Marion’s little apartment or on the streets.)

 

Hitchcock’s camera approaches the hotel as a voyeur peeping through the window of a young couple who have just made love.  Of course, this same cinematic approach was used to enter Uncle Charlie’s seedy room in Shadow of a Doubt.   

 

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.

 

Based on simply this bit of the hotel scene, I don’t know that the audience could be absolutely sure that Marion would be the central character.  We see that Marion seems uncomfortable, perhaps even guilt-ridden over this slightly elicit romance with a soon-to-be-divorced but still married man, a theme of repression that Hitchcock fans likely knew that the Master of Suspense liked to explore in a main character.  However, the film might have wandered off with Sam Loomis or some other character by the end of this scene.  The audience is set up to expect see Marion quite a bit since her credit in Bass’ title sequence is singled out with “Janet Leigh as Marion Crane”.  Anthony Perkins is not given the same kind of credit even though he is listed at the top of the billing.  We also know that Marion will be the featured character from the movie poster with Janet Leigh posing in a bra that is the largest figure in the ad.  Leigh will obviously play the most important central role, at least in the movie-goer’s mind up to the point that she is murdered a third of the way into the film.

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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?
  • This score gets to me. I can feel someone as they follow me. There is a sense of paranoia in the song. This song definitely plays into the search for information and the need for answers. 
  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?
  • We are the voyeurs in this situations. When you place the date and time we as an audience become more confined. We are strapped in for the ride so to speak. It adds to the suspense. 
  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.
  •  The majority of the dialogue and camera focus on her. We are meant to identify or like her so we feel something when she is killed. Regardless of her situation we are meant to feel for her. 

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1. The title sequences to Psycho, introduce themes of the film both graphical and aurally.  Bass' visuals shows each name and titled, fragmented and skewed, then readable, then fractured, indicative of attribute of the multiple sides to individuals' personality - as seen in the film with Norman's multiple personalities, as well as Marion's good-girl/bad-girl sides being exposed, as well as other characters.  As every credit is handled in this manner, it defines this segmentation as being part of everyone, including the director.  There is also the dissecting aspect, reflective of the method of murder to be presented.  Herrmann's opening theme, with its layers of rapid strings, slashing the music with a persistence, depict quick action, as that of the thrusting of slashing of a knife.  The choice of only string instrumentation also embodies tension, as they derive their sound from the taut strings, and a grating friction from a bow.

2. The direct and unambiguous detail of time and day conveys to the audience that this is taking place during normal working hours - or at least when most people are at their jobs.  Instead of tracking to a place of employment though, we take the voyueristic route of peeking through a window - just like Rear Window  - to see something hidden and desired to be secret; a man and woman in a hotel room bed, and not using the time to eat the lunch that was brought.  And prioritizing this affair over her job, as she is late in returning to where she should be at this time of day.  Thus providing Marion's desire for this man over and above everything - that she would do anything to marry him.

3. Marion is seen in white under garments, showing her to being good at heart, but in a situation she is not comfortable with, as she tells Sam that this is the last time.  She wants to marry him, to make an 'honest woman' of herself and her relationship with him, rather than such tawdry hidden rendezvouses.   It gives Marion a degree of frustration and perhaps desperation to seek a quick solution, and establishes her motivation for her rash actions to follow. 

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Good Evening...

1. The music (violins) is piercing & sharp along w/ the lines moving in & out of each other: left to right & top to bottom, as they come together to form the players names and the title of the film which creates a kind of frenzied anticipation; you sense something horrible is going to happen. The grey lines revealing white letters against the stark black background also adds to this mood/tone. There is something about a black & white film that invokes an eerie foreboding that makes you curl up into a fetal position under the cover, only your eyes showing. Scary.

2. Not sure what "FRIDAY, DECEMBER THE ELEVENTH” and “TWO FORTY-THREE P.M. signifies, however, this is an explanation I found on the internet: "The opening title card tells us the date is Friday, December The Eleventh, Two Forty Three PM. So the entire movie takes course over the middle week of the holiday season." So, this is even more horrific, a horror film shown during the happy, joyful season of Christmas! Very Hitchcockian! Approaching the hotel through the semi closed blinds reminds me of Rear Window, Jeff 's voyeurism revisited.

3. The hotel scene focuses on/establishes Marion as main character in the dialogue. She is clearly wanting more from Sam; she wants to see more of him outside of cheap hotels, she wants more than skipping her lunch hour with him; marriage is an ideal option for her.

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The scene of the hotel room establishes Marion Crane as a woman of modesty and risk. The afternoon meeting with Sam hidden in the shadows of an unknown hotel room displays that she doesn't want her private life public. Hitchcock tastefully shows the femininity of Marion and her vulnerability.

I believe you are one of the few in our class to pick up on the character's "vulnerability". In preparing for the role of Marion Crane, Janet Leigh had invented a complete life for Marion, as to where she went to school, what church she attended, favorite book, passions, fantasies etc., she knew the character intimately. And she goes on to say her book Psycho - Behind the Scenes of The Classic Thriller, "She isn't a thief by trade, but she is desperately trying to build a life for herself with the man she loves, who is debt-ridden and therefore, unable or unwilling to marry.  This is her last chance to grab the brass ring of happiness."

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