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Hitchcock assembled
June 23, 2013 4:49 AM   Subscribe

Hitchcock assembled. At the time, Hitchcock had many restrictions placed upon when creating this film. This is a perfect example of restriction breeding creativity.
posted by twoleftfeet (22 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
That was some nice documentary footage that suddenly turned into a Talking Heads fan video with little warning.
posted by planetesimal at 5:00 AM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nothing really scares us anymore. Nothing weirds us out.

We've all seen too much. Too much more than ordinary animals should have to see.

There's a new movie where Brad Pitt fights the zombies. I like Brad Pitt; he's a nice-looking dude. And I hate zombies. They are ugly.

Nonetheless, it's not right. I shouldn't have to care about Brad Pitt and the zombies, but there you go. That's what's happening.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:09 AM on June 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


That was some nice documentary footage that suddenly turned into a Talking Heads fan video with little warning.

Exactly.

The documentarian did not appear to have learned the lessons Hitchcock was trying to communicate.
posted by fairmettle at 5:40 AM on June 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Nothing weirds us out.

There's nothing more bittersweet than witnessing the innocence of someone who's never heard of The Human Centipede.
posted by schroedinger at 6:48 AM on June 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Nothing weirds us out.

First Goatse

The 8 Phases of Goatse
posted by localroger at 6:59 AM on June 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's a pity he never got to revisit his movies with CGI twenty years later.
posted by entropicamericana at 6:59 AM on June 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Psycho isn't just historically important as a Hitchcock film or as a horror film. It's also the film that drove a stake through the heart of the Production Code. Hitchcock's montage in the shower scene never technically violated the Production Code, but the images it invoked in the mind of the audience made the Production Code a complete farce. After that, the walls of censorship started crumbling down.
posted by jonp72 at 8:03 AM on June 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


Interview with Marli Renfro, Janet Leigh's shower scene body double. (Audio)
posted by houseofdanie at 8:43 AM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Richard Brooks gave Diane Keaton a similar sendoff in Looking for Mr. Goodbar. After recovering from the brutality of the final murder scene I went through it frame by frame and was astonished at how little of what I had thought I'd seen was actually on the screen.
posted by localroger at 9:04 AM on June 23, 2013


I've never seen Psycho. This post has finally inspired me to, um, acquire it and check it out.

This is, of course, one of those moments in cinema that's become so famous, so iconic, that it forever changes the way future audiences approach the film.

Because you can't go into the movie without knowing that this scene is coming—and when it arrives, it's not just a pivotal moment in the movie—it's The Famous Psycho Shower Scene That Changed Cinema Forever. It kind of yanks you out of the film's world, and makes you consider it as a cultural artifact.

It's sort of like Citizen Kane and [SPOILER] Rosebud, or Luke Skywalker and his dad, only more so. Is there a name for that phenomenon? When aspects of an artwork become so widely known that their reputation precedes the work itself?
posted by escape from the potato planet at 9:21 AM on June 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


The main problem with Psycho is that next to last scene with the expository monologue is like one of the worst scenes in cinema history.
posted by planetesimal at 10:45 AM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Escape from the potato planet: Because you can't go into the movie without knowing that this scene is coming—and when it arrives, it's not just a pivotal moment in the movie—it's The Famous Psycho Shower Scene That Changed Cinema Forever. It kind of yanks you out of the film's world, and makes you consider it as a cultural artifact.

That's very true. I remember watching Psycho for the first time in a college film studies class and not being all that surprised when the shower scene came around. Not because it wasn't horrifying or scary. But it had become such an ingrained part of our cultural soup that I could describe exactly what was happening before it started happening. (The same thing happened when I saw Casablanca for the first time.)

That said, the film is still pretty amazing. The part that made me JUMP out of my seat was the scene where the detective (Arborgast) was killed. That frightened the bejesus out if me because I absolutely did not see it coming.

And I'm sure I heard Mr. Hitchcock quietly laughing somewhere and saying, "Heh heh. Got you!"
posted by zooropa at 10:46 AM on June 23, 2013


I actually saw Psycho for the first time a few days ago, and I wish I had seen it when I was you ger because it's so embedded in our culture that the major twists are totally predictable.

What really struck me was how incredibly well made this film is. The acting, the scenes, are phenomenally well crafted. My computer was being a bit weird so I had to watch it in slightly slower time and it really brought home the power of the meticulously careful work Hitchcock must have done. I mean it's stunning, compared to today's movies, how precisely, finely engineered every move, every facial expression, every scenic element, every word and sound is. It makes other peoples' work seem incredibly sloppy in comparison. I was also impressed at how many of the minor twists managed to fool me, and at how well the movie invoked suspense even though I knew what was going to happen. It's a magnificent piece of work.

(All of this excludes the aforementioned expository scene. It irritated me so much that I skipped most of it. What the hell was with that psychologist guy? Arg.)
posted by windykites at 12:00 PM on June 23, 2013


What the hell was with that psychologist guy?

You can probably view "that psychologist guy" as Hitchcock's concession to the Production Code, was very insistent that the end of a Hollywood movie had to show clearly that "crime does not pay." By contrast, by the time Halloween came out in 1979, the psychologist in that movie doesn't try to explain Michael Myers at the end; he riddles him with bullets. And even then, Michael Myers somehow gets away. It's the beginning of the trope Roger Ebert called He's Still Out There Somewhere.
posted by jonp72 at 12:58 PM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Minor note: After the psychologist scene, before the final interior monolog, the film shows a guard at the cell door. He was played by Ted Knight, who later became famous as "Ted Baxter" on the "Mary Tyler Moore" show.
posted by bcarter3 at 2:29 PM on June 23, 2013


Jonp72, that makes me wonder if Hitch deliberately made the scene as over-the-top awful as it was. He was presumably talented enough to have realised how annoying that scene was. The acting was so excessive it was almost a joke, and the exposition went on for way longer than necessary. Maybe it was a deliberate fuck-you, a deliberate parody of itself...
posted by windykites at 3:50 PM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


The more I think about it, the more convinced I am. It sucks on purpose. Ha!
posted by windykites at 3:54 PM on June 23, 2013


The more I think about it, the more convinced I am. It sucks on purpose. Ha!

Well. I think there's a grain of of truth in there. Hitchcock was a maestro of boredom. He loved to lull his audiences into a stupor, right before dropping in the gory bits.
posted by ovvl at 7:37 PM on June 23, 2013


I'd like to think that if Hitchcock had more time and more money (Psycho's production had delays and was financed by Hithcock) then the psychiatrist's boring speech would have been a short montage of Bates' past, showing instead of telling the events that were related.
posted by planetesimal at 7:43 AM on June 24, 2013


I think you have to put yourself in the moment as far as that penultimate scene. Cinema and TV viewers were just recently being exposed to modern Psychiatry. The whole concept of transvestitism had to be explained and how this case was not as simple as putting on women's clothing. Remember Hitchcock just took a beating over the many issues left "unresolved" in Vertigo. I imagine he felt that he did not want to make that mistake again, he needed to give his audience proper closure. As clumsy as it was it really was the only way to do it without expanding the film way beyond budget and screen time. Remember Hitch funded Psycho with his own money, making it for essentially the same costs as producing a television show.
posted by Gungho at 8:05 AM on June 24, 2013


I'd like to think that if Hitchcock had more time and more money (Psycho's production had delays and was financed by Hithcock) then the psychiatrist's boring speech would have been a short montage of Bates' past, showing instead of telling the events that were related.

Is there a Special Edition Planetesimal Cut planned for the near future?

Keep us posted!
posted by vhsiv at 8:09 AM on June 24, 2013


But it's not just the lengthy explaination, it is the character as well. That performance bordered on absurd (in my mind), and I feel like Hitch could have gotten much better acting out of that guy, considering how well he did with the others- unless the acting was deliberately farcical.
posted by windykites at 2:13 PM on June 24, 2013


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