Psycho (1960)

directed by alfred hitchcock
shamley productions

I’m sure it’s been noted before, but the attention to detail in this movie astounded me, such as the scene wherein Arbogast is looking for clues to Marion’s disappearance in the Bates Motel’s office parlor – where Norman is displaying his stuffed birds – and the bookshelf behind him holds a full set of books entitled The Art of Taxidermy. So it’s a bit surprising, I guess, that certain other important factors seem so transparent, or even dishonest. Of course, that’s nitpicking, and anyone who doesn’t think this is a high-quality cinematic achievement … probably doesn’t care for noir films or suspense, or pulp fiction. Hitchcock himself must have thought he had a goldmine here, however, as he went ahead and made it despite Paramount’s objections and refusal to budget it appropriately. That worked out all right.

why did i watch this movie?

Noted horror film aficionado and memorabilia collector Johnny Ramone designated Psycho no. 10 in his personal Top 10 in the appendices to his posthumous autobiography Commando. Since the Ramones rank in my personal Rock Band Top 10, and I am a fan of these dumb films anyway, it seemed only right and natural to compare and contrast.

should you watch this movie?

Haven’t you seen it?

highlight and low point

I’ll pick two scenes to exemplify these extremes. The first is the scene where Arbogast is cagily picking his way through Norman’s story that no one’s been to the motel for a while. Anthony Perkins does a tremendous job stumbling over his lies and attempts to dissemble. The other is the terrible, terrible penultimate scene in which the psychiatrist explains the whole thing … and explains it, and explains it, and EXPLAINS it, sucking out a little more of the film’s mystique with every florid sentence. What. A. Drag.

Rating from outer space: B+

kids: don’t do drugs
(click to enlarge)

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