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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Hitchcock Month - Psycho

Psycho (1960)
Starring Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, Martin Balsam, and John Gavin
Directed by Alfred Hithcock


There's really not a whole lot that needs to be said in this post beyond the following:

Psycho is the best film ever made.

Truer words have never been spoken.  Watching Psycho is watching a master at work.  It's the epitome of a Hitchcock film with all his classic themes in place.

  • The "Hitchcock Blonde" -- A phrase that's well known in this day and age, Hitch more often than not had his lead female charcters be blonde.  Apparently he simply felt that women should be blonde and their male counterpart should not be.  According to him, this is what audiences wanted to see and it made the characters more relatable somehow. [Blondes were more comforting somehow.]  In Psycho, Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) is certainly blonde and both Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) and Marion's beau Sam Loomis (John Gavin) are decidely not.
  • Discussions over Food -- You may think it silly, but this is a Hitchcock staple.  Watch his films (and I've now watched all of the "modern" ones during this fest) and at least half of them will feature discussions that take place while people were eating.  While these chats are often used to humorous effect, Hitch twists that notion here and a simple conversation between Marion and Norman turns frightening quite quickly.  The casualness of eating (which, let's be honest, Hitch liked to do) is toyed with often by Hitch and here it is no exception
  • The Macguffin -- Hitch always wanted you to think you knew what the story was about at the very beginning of the film and then make you realize that it wasn't really about that at all.  In Psycho, we certainly think that the film is about Marion Crane stealing $40,000, but obviously it isn't really about that at all.  In fact, the film is really about Norman Bates' psychotic mind, but we don't even see Mr. Bates until about thirty minutes into the film.
  • Voyeurism -- Although not the extent of Rear Window, we are certainly voyeurs into Marion Crane's life seeing as how the first shot after the opening credits is a peering in through a window to see her in a state of undress.  And let's not forget Norman peeking in on Marion as she prepares for her shower.  Of course, this voyeurism is also rooted in sexuality which is another Hitchcock staple.
  • The Mom Complex -- This is obviously a big plot point in Psycho, but this notion of males having inordinately obnoxious, complicated, or overpowering mothers is always a key plot point touched upon by Hitch, especially in flicks like North by Northwest and Notorious.  
I'm sure there's many more motifs repeated in Psycho that Hitch utilized in his other films, but nothing that I write can do this film any amount of justice.  As I've stated before, it's a lot more difficult for me to write about films I like rather than films I hate, and that's certainly the case here.

Every time I watch Psycho, I simply can't fathom what it was like to watch this film in 1960.  Heck, they weren't used to seeing toilets onscreen back then (scandalous, I know), let alone the huge twist that occurs halfway through the film.  

Enough babbling from me, though.  If you haven't seen Psycho in a while, be sure to check it out.  If you've never seen Psycho, you don't know what you're missing.

I'll be back in the next few days with a wrap-up to this Hitchcock Month which I must say was thoroughly enjoyable for me.  I'm quite pleased that I actually stuck with it.

The RyMickey Rating:  A+

You can check out last year's Psycho posting here which, admittedly, is a little more fun than the above.


  1. Psycho is the best film ever made.

    There's not a doubt in my mind that the above statement is false.

    You realize that that sentence says "I know for a fact that the above statement is wrong" right?

  2. That's what happens when you write 34 of these things day-in and day-out (and also the problem with writing them at 2am in the morning most times). Your proofreading starts to go by the wayside.

    It has since been changed...