Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Psycho, Dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 1960

This review is analysing the editing of Alfred Hitchcock’s movie - “Psycho”. Just like in all other of his movies Hitchcock surprises with his own style of film making. This review is based on Bill Thompson’s review from “Bill's Movie Emporium”, Bosley Crowther’s review from “New York Times” and Rger Ebert’s review from “Chicago-sun Times”.


Psycho is a 1960 American psychological thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The film is based on the screenplay by Joseph Stefano, who adapted it from the 1959 novel of the same name by Robert Bloch. The novel was based on the crimes of Wisconsin serial killer Ed Gein. It’s budget, $800,000, was cheap even by 1960 standards and it is easily noticeable, but nobody can argue that it looks as good as all other movies that Hitchcock have done and left a great impact to the history of the movies world. By the way concentrating on necessary things and showing not too much is one of the strengths in this move and Roger Ebert gives a perfect example: Seeing the shower scene today, several things stand out. Unlike modern horror films, "Psycho" never shows the knife striking flesh. There are no wounds. There is blood, but not gallons of it. Hitchcock shot in black and white because he felt the audience could not stand so much blood in color (the 1998 Gus Van Sant remake specifically repudiates that theory).” (December 6, 1998, Chicago-sun Times). This movie is sophisticated and even nowadays such movie can easily compete with other thrillers.


The fact that it was made in 60’s is more interesting, because the audience back then was definitely not prepared for such a honest reality without beautifying. June 17, 1960, Bosley Crowther was talking in his review on New York Times magazine about that: “You had better have a pretty strong stomach and be prepared or a couple of grisly shocks when you go to see Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho," which a great many people are sure to do. For Mr. Hitchcock, an old hand at frightening people comes at you with a club in this frankly intended blood-curdler”. Right now when we are spoiled by high quality effects like opening flesh in most of modern horror movies it might look too simple, but everybody must know that it is actually leaving some space for the imagination and this movie wasn’t built by the special effects it was much more about the story itself.


All in all, this movie is example of making something good with limited amount of the budget. “There is a reason that directors to this day still look to Hitchcock’s work - for examples on how to build suspense within a film.” - notices Bill Thompson in his review (October 23, 2010). Interesting, but a bit predictable ending and intelligent Hitchcock’s manner of making films is worth attention and again it is true that this is one of those “must to see” classics.


1. Roger Ebert http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19981206/REVIEWS08/401010353/1023

2. Bosley Crowther http://www.nytimes.com/library/film/061760hitch-psycho-review.html

3. Bill Thompson http://billsmovieemporium.wordpress.com/2010/10/23/review-psycho-1960/


Figure2 - Intimate beginning scene http://www.afi.com/laa/laa79g.aspx

1 comment:

  1. Hey Domantas, again, this review represents an improvement; the efforts you're making in terms of clarity of structure, order and formality are all noticeable - and welcome. Just keep taking the advice and working at this important aspect of your creative skills. It will put you in a much stronger position for future assignments. Very encouraging - keep it up and keep improving.