Alfred Hitchcock

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        Psycho (1960)
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        • Dvd Release Date: 17 Oct 2005
        • Region: 2 (UK & Europe)
        • Number of Discs: 2

        • Catalogue Number: 8237913
        • Studio: Universal

        Alfred Hitchcock is up to his clavicle in whimsicality and apparently had the time of his life in putting together Psycho He's gotten in gore, in the form of a couple of graphically depicted knife murders, a story that's far out in Freudian motivations, and now and then injects little amusing plot items that suggest the whole thing is not to be taken seriously.

        Anthony Perkins is the young man who doesn't get enough exorcise (repeat exorcise) of that other inner being. Among the victims are Janet Leigh, who walks away from an illicit love affair with John Gavin, taking with her a stolen $40,000, and Martin Balsam, as a private eye who winds up in the same swamp in which Leigh's body also is deposited.

        John McIntire is the local sheriff with an unusual case on his hands, and Simon Oakland is the psychiatrist. Perkins gives a remarkably effective in-a-dream kind of performance as the possessed young man. Others play it straight, with equal competence.

        Joseph Stefano's screenplay, from a novel by Robert Bloch, provides a strong foundation for Hitchcock's field day. And if the camera, under Hitchcock's direction, tends to overemphasize a story point here and there, well it's forgivable.


        • 1960 Nominations: Best Director, Supp. Actress (Janet Leigh), B&W Cinematography, B&W Art Direction

        Credited with inventing the genre of the modern horror film, PSYCHO has had its share of sequels and imitators, none of which diminishes the achievement of this shocking and complex horror thriller. Alfred Hitchcock's choreography of elements in PSYCHO is considered so perfect it inspired a shot-by-shot remake by Gus Van Zant in 1998. However, Hitchcock's black-and-white original, featuring Anthony Perkins's haunting characterisation of lonely motel keeper Norman Bates, has never been equalled.

        Bates presides over an out-of-the-way motel under the domineering spectre of his mother. The young, well-intentioned Bates is introduced to the audience when Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), a blonde on the run with stolen money, checks in for the night. But Momma doesn't like loose women, so the stage is set for this classic tale of horror and one of the most famous scenes in film history. PSYCHO was initially received by audiences with shock and amazement and it still terrifies today. Though it is now considered prototypical Hitchcock, its setting, pace, and emphasis on terror was a major departure for the director at the time, coming after the more classically grand NORTH BY NORTHWEST.

          The screen's master of suspense moves his camera into the icy blackness of the unexplained!

        This Dvd release marks the 45th anniversary of Psycho's original cinematic release; a film that sent shockwaves throughout the film-going public.

        Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece of the macabre stars Anthony perkins as the troubled Norman Bates, whose "old dark house" and adjoining motel are not the place to spend a quiet evening. No-one knows that better than Janet Leigh, the film's ill-fated heroine who is brutally victimised in the, now-notorious, "shower scene". Vera Miles, Martin Balslam, John Gavin and John McIntire co-star in Hitchcock's most compelling and terrifying film.

        With a scintillating screenplay from Joseph Stefano and with 'that' score by Bernard Herrmann, Psycho was nominated for a multitude of Oscars, but failed to pick up a single gong... How wrong the academy were proven to be.

      • Actors:
          Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin, Martin Balsam, John McIntire

      • Dir/Prod:
      • Scr:
          Joseph Stefano
      • Ph:
          John L. Russell
      • Ed:
          George Tomasini
      • Mus:
          Bernard Herrmann
      • Art Dir:
          Joseph Hurley, Robert Clatworthy


        Dvd Features

          Masters Of Cinema: Alfred Hitchcock
          American Film Institute Salute To Alfred Hitchcock
          Production Notes
          Cast And Filmmakers
          Theatrical Trailer
          Widescreen 1.85:1 Anamorphic
          Languages In Dolby Digital 2.0 - English
          Languages In Dolby Digital Mono - English, German, Polish
          Subtitles - English SDH, French, German, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, Czech, Hungarian, Dutch, Polish, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
          Region 2 / PAL / Black & white
          Running Time 104 Minutes

        Technical Details

          Screen Widescreen: 1.85:1 Anamorphic / Fullscreen
          Languages: English - Dolby Digital (2.0) Stereo
          Additional Languages: Dolby Digital (1.0) Mono: English ; German ; Polish
          Subtitles: Czech ; Danish ; Dutch ; English for the hearing impaired ; Finnish ; French ; German ; Hungarian ; Italian ; Norwegian ; Polish ; Portuguese ; Spanish


      • There were many actresses in the running for the role of Marion. Eva Marie Saint was one mentioned and would have fitted the role seamlessly. Others in the frame were Piper Laurie, Hope Lange, Martha Hyer, Shirley Jones and Lana Turner.

      • For the role of Sam, Hitch wanted Stuart Whitman. Also in the running were: Cliff Robertson, Tom Tryon, Leslie Neilson, Brian Keith, Tom Laughlin, Jack Lord, Robert Loggia (appeared in Psycho II) and The Birds Rod Taylor. The strict budget meant he had to settle for John Gavin

      • Hitch would refer to Gavin as 'the Stiff'.

      • Three women came to play Mrs Bates: Ann Dore played the silhouetted figure approaching the shower curtain, Margo Epper played her scenes involving physical contact with Marion, and a stunt actress called Mitzi played her for the scenes inside the Bates house.

      • Mrs Bates's dialogue was a mixture from Paul Jasmin, Jeanette Nolan and Virginia Gregg. Gregg would go on to provide the voice in the two sequels.

      • Robert Bloch's original novel was based on the Wisconsin mass murderer Ed Gein.

      • Logo used for the movie posters was designed by Tony Palladino.

      • Could Edward Hopper's painting House by the Railroad have inspired the Bates mansion. Have a look and judge for yourself.

      • The swinging light bulb to illuminate Mrs Bates's final unveiling? The 1945 The Picture of Dorian Gray.

      • It has spawned vastly inferior sequels. Psycho II (1983) and Psycho III three years later. The TV movie Psycho IV: The Beginning followed in 1991 and the TV series Bates Motel in 1987. Oh and perhaps the most utterly pointless movie in the history of cinema, the 1998 shot-by-shot remake by Gus Van Sant. I for one just don't understand what you gain by doing this. You learn nothing new and gain just an emptiness from viewing it. Perhaps that was the point but it's an expensive point to make. Nearly 2 hours of my life wasted which I can never get back when I could have been watching the original for the 100th time.

      • The Psycho Experience, the $20 million feature at the Universal Studios Tour in Florida, has a specially created film segment starring Anthony Perkins.

      • I would say the best, certainly the most enjoyable to read, recollections of the making of Psycho is the Janet Leigh penned Psycho: Behind the Scenes of the Classic Thriller.

      • The underrated Vera Miles also appeared in The Wrong Man and the Alfred Hitchcock Presents episodes Revenge, Incident at a Corner and Don't Look Behind a Corner. Oh and she pops up again in Psycho II.

      • His daughter Patricia Hitchcock also appeared in Stage Fright and, memorably, Strangers on a Train.

      • The actress who played Mrs Chambers, Lurune Tuttle, had worked with Hitchcock on a radio adaptation of his film, The Lodger.

      • Here's one to look out for. Seen the Highway Patrolman any where else? The part was played by Mort Mills and if you look carefully you will spot him as the farmer in Torn Curtain.

      • The composer of the music, Bernard Herrmann, also composed the soundtracks for The Trouble with Harry, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Vertigo, North by Northwest and Marnie. He was also the 'sound consultant' for The Birds. Herrmann used only strings for the score. 'Black and white noise' for the black and white photography.

      • The titles designer, Saul Brass, provided innovative titles for Vertigo and North by Northwest (best titles ever?). He is also credited with storyboarding Psycho's shower scene.

      • One mistake Hitch corrected by the time he made Frenzy was a mistake featured here. When Marion died her irises should have dilated and not contracted. Watch out for it when you next view it.

      • There are so many refernces to birds here you would think he made The Birds at the same time! Two characters have the surname 'Crane', the Bates Motel's parlour is filled with Norman's stuffed birds; I also spotted a pheasant, an owl and a raven.

      • Poster: 'A new - and altogether different - screen excitement!!!'/'Don't give away the ending - it's the only one we have!'/'The screen's master of suspense moves his camera into the icy blackness of the unexplained!'

      • Trailer: the original one had Hitch on a tour of the sets for the movie. Vera Miles appears, posing as Leigh.

      • Hitchcock prepared a handbook for cinema managers called: The Care aand Handling of Psycho. Among other things, he ordered that the film must never be followed by a short film or newsreel.

      • Of all the homages to the film, the most memorable appears in The Simpsons.

      • There were no press screenings before the film's release. Press reviews at the time were mixed.

      • This was the first feature film for costume designer Helen Colvig and her assistant Rita Riggs.

      • All of Marion's clothes came off the peg from the West Coast Store.

      • Edith Head created Vera Miles's wardrobe to Hitch's instructions.

      • Rita Riggs was responsible for preserving Leigh's decency in the shower scenes, and used moleskin patches, which were glued in place.

      • The film earned more than $15 million in its first year of release.

      • The only working title for the film was the production number - 9401.

      • The record Lila discovers in Norman's bedroom, Eroica, by Beethoven, was originally composed as a tribute to Napoleon in 1804.

      • Hitchcock cameo: around four minutes in. Hitch is wearing a cowboy hat outside Marion's office.

      • Best line: Marion - 'Headaches are like resolutions - you forget them as soon as they stop hurting.'

      • Titles for the film cost $21,000.

      • Hitchcock bought the rights to the novel anonymously from Bloch for $9,000. He tried to buy as many copies of the book as he could to keep the ending a secret.

      • Total production costs were around $800,000.

        Source: The Ultimate book on the films of Hitchcock: Complete Hitchcock


      • Price: 15.99 UK Sterling
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        Feb. 15: 1 dvd set in stock

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