Rewatched Apr 30, 2012
I am still struck will how well this still holds up. This remains the turning point in film history, between films hinged on sentiment and connection and the proceeding waves of films founded on sensation and the power of shock. What I find more fascinating about Psycho is how it uses elements of both to weave its warped fairy tale of Victorian bugaboos to maximum effect.
“My mother, what is the phrase? She isn’t quite herself today.”
And neither were movies in general after this. And frankly, Psycho hasn’t aged a day. The Shower Scene is still the blue-print textbook of how you use montage. And that all-string score by Bernard Herrmann is in my Top 5 of greatest film scores ever devised.
Anthony Perkins gives a clinic to every prospective Gary Oldman type that was to follow. Janet Leigh gives the best performance of her career simply by responding and reacting to Hitchcock’s camera. Balsam and Oakland give great character turns that invite references to film noir while bringing whiffs of it with them. And finally Joseph Stefano’s script both mocks the 50’s exploitation pieces that it samples, while at that same time transcending them to place Psycho firmly where it finds itself today.
Once I finished watching that final shot again, I knew, like I’ve always known that Psycho (1960) is a film for the ages.