Psycho (1960) 5/5 (1)


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Rating: The Good – 90.8
Genre: Horror
Duration: 109 mins
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, Martin Balsam

In many ways, Psycho is Alfred Hitchcock’s most audacious film. Not content with the controversial shower scene, he gloriously defies two major cinematic conventions with one fell swoop. One involves the switching of leads and the other, the switching of genres right at the end of the first act. The film starts off with Janet Leigh hightailing it out of the city with her boss’ money to start a new life with her man. Weather interrupts her journey and she takes shelter in the isolated Bates Motel tended by good old boy Norman Bates. Whether you’ve seen the rest or not, you know what happens but in getting there, Hitchcock brings us on a completely enthralling and original trip. Janet Leigh is perfect as the decent but desperate criminal on the run. There was always an alluring maturity to the way she carried herself on screen and it adds real substance to her character’s sudden capitulation to whimsy. Anthony Perkins does an outstanding job as the quietly charming motel attendant with a dark streak about a mile long. There’s a chilling believability to his character’s personality swings and of all the crazed murderers we’ve seen on screen, it’s fair to say his seems one of the most realistic. Martin Balsam pops up as he does in nearly every classic from around that time while Vera miles and John Gavin round off the cast nicely. Ultimately, however, Psycho is all about Hitchcock’s understanding of film, his innovation, and one of cinema’s most memorable scores courtesy of the equally legendary Bernard Herrmann.

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5 thoughts on “Psycho (1960)”

  1. The site looks amazing and this review was spot on! I liked what you said about Hitch understanding film. It was his craft and he knew how to make the audience a part of his skill as a storyteller. Good job!

    1. Cheers Vic. I really appreciate your kind words. Film-making seemed to come so easy to Hitchcock. Even when he wasn’t showboating, there was just so much richness and craft to even his simplest of set-ups. Carpenter always me impressed me on that latter level too. No surprise we’re both big fans of both Hitch & JC!:) Thanks for stopping by:)

      1. JC and Hitch are 2 movie makers we hold in high regard. Mainly because of what you said about them making their craft seem so easy. They also made their films so artistically impeccable. For example, Dean Cundey started with JC early on and he gave his films a remarkable look because JC (and of course, Hitch) wants the audience to be so involved in the film as if they are right there. 2 films that come to mind using this aesthetic are “Rear Window” and “The Thing.” Classic films in the highest order.

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