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Psycho  (49 ratings)

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Rating  (49 ratings)
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Movie Information
DirectorAlfred Hitchcock
Production CompanyParamount/Universal
Movie Reviews
Submitted by Victor J. Smith 
(Jan 12, 2006)

Psycho is, quite simply, the Citizen Kane of the Horror movie genre. It has no equal when it comes to the most influential Horror film ever made. Hithcock knew what he was doing when he bought the rights to the novel Psycho.
The reason for it being such a great movie? Well first and foremost, great storytelling. Hitchcock, to whom I give my undying respect, crafts the story perfectly. There is also revoulutionary filming techniques, the movies really ahead of its time. Anthony Perkins gives one of the greatest, and most frightening performances in Motion Picture history. He also, doesn't go over the edge on violence.
Hitchcock is a credit to the art of film, and this is his greatest landmark.

Submitted by filmfactsman 
(Jun 12, 2005)

Future filmmakers dedicated to their profession can use "Psycho" as a textbook.

If imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, then "Psycho" has no peers. Hitchcock always intended it to be a film for audiences but it's more than that. Like myself, it has influenced countless filmmakers and writers throughout the years. I will never get over (nor do I want to) the impact that this film has had in my life. I watch it every six months or so and I still enjoy every second. I've shown it in college film classes and the reaction has always been amazing. Everything works in the film from the brilliant Bernard Herrmann score to the haunting performances by the entire cast. I wouldn't change a frame. I only wish I'd seen it when it first opened in 1960. How I envy those who did! I've certainly made up for it ever since. Alfred Hitchcock claimed that he had always wanted to be Cary Grant. Can anyone imagine cinema without Hitch? Thank God he didn't get his wish!

In its own time, "Psycho" was certainly controversial. Initially, the film was burdened by misguided marketing attempts that hyped the idea that no one could be admitted to a showing anywhere once the movie had begun. In particular, this scheme created havoc at drive-ins all across America, but, in general, there arose a kind of carnival atmosphere around this movie, which deserved to be taken very seriously. The stabbing scene in the shower was considered excessive and shocking in 1960 and it attracted negative commentary, as well as calls for its censure and possible prohibition. An unsigned review of "Psycho" published in Esquire in 1960 commented, "I'm against censorship on principle, but that killing in the shower makes me wonder. And not because of the nudity; I favor more nudity in film." Six years later, in 1966, CBS television canceled a planned national broadcast of the movie shortly after the kidnapping and murder of the daughter of U.S. Senator Charles Percy (R Illinois).

At the time, however, most critical and industry attention was given to the film's unusual dramatic elements rather than to the powerful new visual aesthetic that was created in the shower scene. The story line of "Psycho" was seen as subversive of the values that had been traditionally advanced in classic Hollywood movies, because the central idea of the film was that horror could come from the heart of an American family and could be perpetrated by a superficially harmless and likable character such as Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins).

Nonetheless, "Psycho" was truly important aesthetically because the shower scene was shot and then edited so as to give the sequence a ragged edge that, in hindsight, could be assessed as "Stravinsky like" in its impact on the modern American cinema. In its thrusting and jabbing power, the sequence was for the American feature film in 1960 what the 1913 premiere of Igor Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" had been for modern music and dance. Although there were no riots outside the cinemas in 1960, as there had been in 1913 outside the theater in Paris where "The Rite of Spring" premiered, "Psycho" nonetheless marked the arrival of what was to become the dominant motion picture aesthetic of the late twentieth century. This aesthetic, honed and polished subsequently by Hollywood, constituted a cinema of sensation that emerged and grew up separately from the previously dominant "cinema of sentiment" that had characterized classic Hollywood production.



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