“Psycho” is known for starting the slasher genre and is condered to be one of Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpieces. I picked up the 50th Anniversary Edition of the film on blu-ray and gave it a watch. It was my fourth time seeing the film and just a few years ago was the first time I had seen it and still, to this day, “Psycho” is one of the best slasher films ever made.
There is so much good to say about “Psycho.” It is a film that is a clasc in almost
every right. From it’s filmmaking to it’s acting to it’s score. It just is so of the times and I think that’s what clasc films are for the most part. Being perfect for the time it was made and the time period the film takes place in.
One of my favorite clasc female characters is Marion Crane played by a stunning, young Janet Leigh. My favorite thing about the character is that we do not necessarily love her but we are curious about her. We open on her in a gorgeous, inventive shot that breaks one of the carnal rules of filmmaking. Do not have the actors backs to the camera at any time. Not only does Hitchcock break the rules in “Psycho” but he creates new camera technics that were groundbreaking for the time and are used in other films to this day.
A particular well shot scene and also my personal favorite in the film is the overhead shot of Detective Milton Arbogast played by Martin Balsam walking up the stairs and “Mother” comes out of her room to stab him. We quickly switch angles to a now wounded Arbogast and have another inventive shot of him falling down the stairs along with the camera. It is a shot that feels surreal and trippy still watching it today.
Of course the shower scene is and always will be the best. Janet Leigh in the shower is the happiest person taking a shower on screen I have ever seen. She is almost too happy to the point where “Mother” walks in and pulls back the curtains to stab Marion. Director Alfred Hitchcock actually turned the water in the shower from hot to cold to get a shocking reaction for Leigh. It works along with it’s amazing score to go with it.
The score reminds me of a score like “The Social Network.” A character is tting in a chair doing something mple, like typing on a computer and the score makes it interesting to watch. In “Psycho,” leading up to going to the Bates Motel, Marion Crane has a lot of scenes of just driving on the road. That muc is playing in the background and makes the scene interesting to watch. Even when the score starts to get dull, Hitchcock moves the story along without intercutting scenes of de characters talking about Marion and where she’s gone off to. A director senng time is key and we do not want the story to get boring.
Looking at the characters of Marion Crane and Norman Bates is constantly interesting. Especially when they are on screen together exchanging dialogue. The one scene in the parlor, in my opinion is the best dialogue driven scene in the whole film. If you watch that scene, that is also again, very well shot with it’s wide, low and close up shots depending on it’s dialogue. It is mostly Bates talking, but I would say that both characters truly pour their inner selfs out to each other in a very subtle way especially on a re-watch of the film. This is the first and only time that we see both characters expose their true colors or as true as they are going to get. They are both very troubled human beings that you do not quite understand in the first half of this film. For Marion I feel that you never truly do. Her death is earned and I think it is safe to say that it was her fate to walk into Norman Bates at his motel while on the run and leaving her “old” life behind. That is a very selfish thing to do and Bates stopped her from doing so and really, Marion Crane stopped Bates from living a lie at the end. Her investigation puts him away and exposes him for his true colors as well. It is funny that “Mother” was jealous of Marion because those two dating would have been very interesting. They are almost perfect for each other, in a mad sort of way.
Even the twist at the end of the film is clasc. One of my favorite twists of all time. That is a definition of a true mad man that loves his mother is a strange, sad and psychotic fashion. The monologue at the end by Dr. Fred Richman says it all and that close up on Norman Bates with that half smile turned full as his mother’s voiceover plays is everything. Because at that moment we really feel like this normal looking man that runs a motel on the de of the road turns for good and becomes a true psycho.
Source: http://whenthelightscomeup.com/post/585 ... ll-awesome