Let’s Talk About… ‘Psycho’ (1960)

Film #25 in FilmExodus’ AFI 100 Movies

Every week FilmExodus does a review/analysis of a different cinematic masterpiece from AFI’s 100 Movies 2007 updated list. For a complete overview and how you can participate, click here.

I don’t know what made me buy Psycho when I did way back then, but I’m sure glad I did. It’s a cinematic masterpiece. I contemplated not even watching it last weekend for this review since I felt I had seen it enough to be able to write this analysis. However, I found myself putting the disc into the Blu-ray player. And I’m sure glad I did.

Right from the beginning, Psycho draws you in. The opening credits sequence is chillingly brilliant. The music mixed with the title sequences give you a weird sense of terror before the first scene has even started. Additionally, the black-and-white mode works in the film’s favor. Sure, it’s not like Hitchcock had a choice, since color wasn’t necessarily mandatory or popular at the time, yet. But, this lack of color adds something to the film in a way that’s hard to describe.

I don’t really feel like going into a full on review, so instead I will make brief mentions of stuff I noticed and enjoyed, followed by some brief facts on the making of the film.

First, Anthony Perkins is brilliantly cast. He’s got that look, smirk, and whole demeanor down to perfection! Perkins should have been nominated for an Oscar. He’s just so calm and collected, but in a snap he could be on the edge and ready to burst.

Second, here’s some quotes I found funny:

  • “He was flirting with you. I guess he must have noticed my wedding ring.” I laughed so hard at this. I guess that’s what married women do when they feel jealous they aren’t hit on anymore?
  • “Eating in the office is just so officious.” Oh boy, some of Norman’s lines were just a bit awkward and painful like this one. Oh, and then there’s, “My hobby is stuffing things. You know, taxidermy.”

Finally, I’ll talk about the flushing scene and the no late admittance policy.

When Marion flushes the ripped up paper down the toilet, this was the first time a flushing toilet had appeared in a mainstream film or TV show in the United States. Hitchcock was a trendsetter!

Next, Hitchcock refused late entry to showings of Psycho due to Janet Leigh only being in the first twenty or so minutes of the film. His reasoning was that if people showed up late and didn’t get to see Leigh in the film they would feel cheated. Despite hesitation from theater owners that this would lower business, lineups remained long and healthy, and this wasn’t an issue.

Are you a fan of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho? What do you think of the Norman/”Mother” dynamic?