Sunday, June 5, 2022

REVIEW: Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (live action movie)

Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho is a 1960 thriller based on a novel by Robert Bloch. I haven't read the novel, and this was my first time watching the movie. I bought my copy of this brand new.


Marion Crane, a real estate secretary, has a secret relationship with her boyfriend Sam. She wants to get married, but he's too concerned about his debts and general lack of when Marion is handed an envelope with $40,000 at work and told to immediately deposit it at the bank, she instead decides at the spur-of-the-moment to steal the money for her and Sam.

Increasingly concerned about the amount of attention she's getting from a cop, Marion ends up at the Bates Motel off the main highway. The proprietor, Norman Bates, seems a little odd and awkward, but Marion feels sympathetic towards him when she overhears Norman's mother berating her for wanting to allow Marion over for dinner. Now that she's had some time to think, Marion is reconsidering her decision to steal the money. Unfortunately, the Bates Motel was the wrong place to stop for the night.

I had never previously seen this, although cultural osmosis meant that I already knew about the twist ending, and I'd seen stills of the shower scene before. Although aspects of it haven't aged well, this was still worth watching.

Marion and Sam didn't work at all for me as a couple, and her sudden decision to steal the $40,000 immediately came across as a giant, stupid mistake. Buying a different car as the suspicious cop watched didn't really help - she was doomed to failure, one way or another. But her increasing tension and fear were believable, and I liked the way the creepiness of the cop made Norman Bates seem safer by comparison. Of course, I already knew that wasn't going to be the case, but as it turns out, I've never seen the outcome of the shower scene, so that was still a bit of a shock.

Anthony Perkins was excellent as Norman, shifting effortlessly between shy and kind of pitiful to something darker and more ominous. Unfortunately, the ending was one of those things that hasn't aged well. The big reveal wasn't so much shocking and scary as it was unintentionally funny, and the psychologist's monologue at the end was dated and came across as extremely insensitive - he treated this case like a fascinating puzzle, laying out all the pieces, apparently unbothered by the fact that he was talking to, among others, the victim's sister and boyfriend. 


Trailers, production photographs, behind-the-scenes photographs, storyboards for the shower scene, some behind-the-scenes info on the shower scene, and more. Nothing as helpful as the extras on the Dial "M" for Murder DVD I watched, although I appreciated the info on the shower scene. It sounded like Hitchcock went out of his way to make sure that filming the scene wouldn't be distressing for anyone involved, although the end result had to look violent.

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