Classic Cinema Spotlight: Psycho (1960)

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Psycho (1960) is now known as one of Hitchcock's best films. Starring Janet Leigh as Marion Crane and Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates, the films centers on Marion's embezzlement of $40,000 and her hiding out at the Bates Motel where Norman works.

Prior to this film Hitchcock never made a film like this before. A woman desperate to steal from her employer so she can marry her lover, a motel owner who mind is unraveling, and an old woman who we only see as a shadow. Is she real or is she a figment of the viewers imagination?

Marion hides out at the Bates Motel and decides to return the money she stole. Before she can do that the infamous shower scene (which is one worth seeing rather than reading about) ensues. Who is that shadowy figure? We don't find out until the end of the film but so much suspense builds up until then. It's fantastic.

Eventually a detective named Arbogast (Martin Balsam) becomes suspicious that Marion stole the money and begins to investigate. Joining the suspicious Arbogast are Sam Loomis (John Gavin) and Marion's sister, Lila Crane (Vera Miles). They begin their own investigation worrying that something may have happened to Marion.

A Vintage Nerd, Vintage Blog, Classic Film Blog, Psycho Review, Old Hollywood Blog
A Vintage Nerd, Vintage Blog, Classic Film Blog, Psycho Review, Old Hollywood Blog
A Vintage Nerd, Vintage Blog, Classic Film Blog, Psycho Review, Old Hollywood Blog
A Vintage Nerd, Vintage Blog, Classic Film Blog, Psycho Review, Old Hollywood Blog

The shower scene in this film is so iconic and well known that most people forget that it was just the beginning of the film and there is a whole rest of the film with Balsam, Miles, and Gavin in it (Aborgast, Lila, and Sam).

If you want to watch something spooky in preparation for Halloween, this will fit the bill nicely. And keep in mind that although you may know about this famous scene and you may know the identity of who the killer is, watching this film in its entirety will still leave you with chills going up your spine. Hitchcock never disappoints!

Have you seen Psycho? What do you think of Hichcock's take on psychotic murders? Did the ending shock you, surprise you, give you goosebumps?

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  1. First off, this is my favorite film ever (I'm sure you've noticed my ridiculous love for Anthony Perkins on my blog)! It's a little sad, really. My bedroom walls feature three posters for the movie, there's a Norman Bates action figure on my dresser... It's just ridiculous. I'm psycho for Psycho.

    Anyway! This movie is the perfect storm. The acting, the cinematography, the directing (of course) and the music are all incredible. Herrmann's score is off the charts and so iconic now. One reason I really love it is just that it embodies this bridge between more conservative 1950s cinema and the wild and progressive 1960s cinema. Parts of the aesthetic are still very '50s, but the topics it deals with are not.

    And also, I'm not sure if you did this on purpose or not, but 9/12 marks the anniversary of Perkins's death in 1992. So this is a very timely post, too. :)


  2. That is exactly what impressed me when I finally saw Psycho. I knew about the shower scene and the twists, but I had no idea about the rest of plot, including the theft. I was amazed at how much it still gave me chills and still surprised me, even when I knew the "spoilers". That's a mark of an amazing movie!

  3. I remember one day when I was alone in my room and flipping through the channels. I remembered the new channel (TCM) I had discovered recently that played old movies. I flipped to the channel and started to watch the movie that was on. I had no idea it was the Psycho movie. It was the scene where Norman and the girl (I forgot her name) are drinking tea or coffee. And I saw the killing scene. I watched a bit more and then one of my parents was calling me so I turned the t.v off and left. I was eight and a half and I had no idea that I was watching such a famous movie. About a year or two later my dad and mom were watching famous movie scenes online. And it just so happened that I walked in when they were watching the Psycho scene. I knew that movie was supposed to be scary and I wasn't allowed to watch it yet. I watched the video with my parents because they wanted me to see it. So I'm watching it and I'm thinking to myself "Wait, this looks familiar." I found out that the scary movie I was watching when I was eight was Psycho. No wonder I had a few bad dreams after that day! After the video I told my parents that I had already seen the movie, the killing scene actually. They both said "What!" My dad thought it was funny but my mom didn't feel the same.
    I always laugh when I remember that I saw the Psycho movie at eight years old. And would you believe that I still have not watched the whole movie? It's on my must watch movie list though.


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