Two Cineasts’s review published on Letterboxd:
"Hitchcock's genius not only changed cinema - it changed the way we look at the world."
(Guillermo Del Toro)
ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL MOVIES, NOT ONLY FOR THE HORROR GENRE, BUT OF ALL TIME
Hi everybody, even if there is a danger that I'm repeating myself after the last Hitchcock reviews "Rope" and "The Trouble with Harry" I first need to talk about Hitchcock himself. I owe it to one of my favorite movies of my probably favorite director. Since "Psycho" was the event that have brought me back to my long forgotten passion that I kept my eyes off for too long - movies. I will never forget that "Psycho" was the movie that opened my mind to not only see movies as entertainment, but rather appreciate every aspect of the medium. Now film is a matter of the heart for me. "Psycho" is a special case in all of crime motion pictures: I always have the strange feeling that this time the plot direction has the possibility to change and potentially takes another highway on its road. I don't think about scenes that will come, but rather always be in the right in moment again, stunned and thrilled as it would be the first time. The movie is simply with every repetition exciting as it can be and as Hitchcock intended. I feel like I experience the events together with the protagonist and I would even say "Psycho" gets better everytime. When the shadow of the mother appears for the first time at the window I got goosebumbs all over me, are scared and have finally to look over my shoulder. Coming back to "The Master of Suspense": Hitchcock had a relly hard time realizing and producing this now considered best movie he ever created. As mentioned countless times, Hitchcock is one of my favorite directors especially because of astonishing ground breaks like this game of shadows. He was not only one of the versatiles directors and a absolutely visionary, he was a skilled craftsman who knew his work and with much more competence in the technical aspect of film making owned by his earlier work as a lightning camera man - one of the reasons he was absolutely accepted on set for his knowledge beyond directing. He set standards in many ways, delivered with "Psycho" one of the most influential and greatest achievements in filmaking of all time and enriched the cinema with innovative and creative thrillers and a new perspective how to see movies in general. This game changer breaks through the barriers of censorship (Toilets were virtually never seen in American cinema before; actually was, for the Production Code, the opening scene with an unmarried pair in bed, already too much). What makes this work of him immortal and as watchable as in 1960 (little hint the blu ray quality is amazing), is that it connects directly with our fears (the worst is disappointing our mothers (*wink*)).
Marion Crane is a normal secretary who decides one day, when the opportunity is good, to steal a large amount of money from her employer's client. On the run, highly stressed and under pressure she checks in a motel off the highway that is poorly visited. The manager Norman Bates, a young quite man, seems to be dominated by his mother, but Marion attempts anyways only to stay for one night....
I can already recommend to watch "Hitchcock" starring Anthony Hopkins that breaks down all the complications before and during the filming so detailed that I can't express how lucky we and the film industry are to be able to watch this film, that's often ranked among the greatest of all time. As "Psycho" had not only a very significant impact on the genre horror (comparatively to "2001" to sci-fi), but also on the entire way of staging and witnessing shocking twists and turnarounds, and how a big production needs to look and sound - even though the production value was with 800.000 cheap, even for the standards of the 60s. As we are talking about "Psycho" we can't ignore "Diabolique", the french movie that inspired Hitchcock in many ways to do "Psycho" like we know it today, in the first place. That does not exclude the fact that "Diabolique" probably is the first movie with an explicit Spoiler Warning and "Psycho" copied that resourceful message: "Do not reveal the surprise". Even the famous shower scene is based on the french classic, as Hitchcock revealed in an interview, his daughter saw the film in cinema and reported to him how frightening the scene in the shower was. But we will get to the shower scene later on in the review. However, "Diabolique" is placed as number 59 in "Our top 222 movies" list and highly praised in my last review, also because this barely known piece of cinema did the impressive job to inspire one of the greatest movies ever, as a, more or less, similar unconventional and inventive film, and gets unfortunately far to little attention.
"Headaches are like resolutions. You forget them as soon as they stop hurting.
(Janet Leigh as Marion Crane)