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Psycho (Universal Home Entertainment's 2-disc Legacy Series Special Edition DVD)

A movie directed by Alfred Hitchcock

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  • Jul 16, 2003
Rating:
+3
Even after more than 40 years, and even after having seen it so many times, I am still caught up in the tension which director Hitchcock develops so carefully. I am still shocked by the famous (infamous?) shower scene and by later moments in the Bates residence. It is thus a tribute to Hitchcock, his cast, and crew that this breakthrough retains its shock value after so many years. Hitchcock requires his audience to be especially alert to seemingly insignificant details as well as to playful insertions. More often than not, we are thus aware of what his leading characters miss. The first time around, I spotted him wearing (all things) a cowboy hat but only after several viewings did I spot Ted Knight in a small role as a prison guard. Her adulterous relationship with Sam Loomis (John Gavin) notwithstanding, Janet Leigh (as Marion Crane) was never more attractive than in she is this film. Frankly, I am still trying to wipe from my memory Perkins' portrayal of Jim Pearsall in Fear Strikes Out. It is almost as painful to watch as William Bendix' portrayal of Babe Ruth. In this film, Perkins is brilliant as Norman Bates.

Even as I saw this film again, I wanted to warn Norman's victims before it is too late. Marion, of course, but also Milton Arbogast (Martin Balsam). Don't be fooled! He really isn't the nice young man he seems to be! And for God's sake, don't go near the house! Perhaps only Hitchcock could engage and then sustain such emotions, and do so at such a high level of anxiety. That is not the case, at least for me, with The Birds. Oh sure, a few moments which still have some bite (no pun intended) but without the seamless continuity to be found in Psycho.

Many think this is a great film, period. I think it is among the greatest of horror films. It redefined the rules for that genre. When first released, it defied so many conventions concerning adultery, nudity, and physical violence. What it suggests is even more frightening than what it portrays visually. Spielberg must have studied this film with great care. With all due respect to several moments in Jaws when, during my first viewing, I literally came up out of my seat in terror, it is the sense of infrequently seen but ever-present danger which captures our attention from the first underwater shot at night (I can still hear the cellos) until almost the very end of the film.

I have seen most of the horror films which preceded this one. With only minor deviations, they tend to follow a formula. Even at an early age, I realized that violent thunderstorms with lightning illuminating a castle against the late-night sky, especially with a sound track featuring violin music, indicate that SOMETHING REALLY BAD is about to happen. The moment I became fond of a minor character, I knew that character was doomed. These films were almost completely predictable. The only question is "When?"

Not so with Psycho, at least when viewed for the first time. And as I indicated earlier, Hitchcock still gets me emotionally involved even if by now I almost know the screenplay by heart. How does he accomplish that? I have yet to come up with answer that satisfies me. Meanwhile, I will continue to appreciate his art and especially films of his such as this.

Thanks to the DVD format, both image and sound are much clearer. I also appreciate having supplementary materials such as the documentary "The making of Psycho" featuring new interviews with Janet Leigh, Hitchcock's daughter Patricia Hichtcock O'Connell, writer Joseph Stefano and Hilton A. Green; one censored scene; newsreel footage; and the shower scene both with and without music. Excellent stuff!

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October 22, 2010
This is a great film and the Legacy Series release is excellent.
 
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More Psycho reviews
review by . May 31, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
**** out of ****     Contained within "Psycho" are images that are haunting to this day, and also at the time, quite violent. Considered one of the "greats" for its genre, Alfred Hitchcock's horror/thriller "Psycho" is a film that I just had to see. I am passionate about this genre, and I thought that perhaps this film could inspire me, little-by-little, to create real, top-notch suspense. That is exactly what it did; and the film is brilliant. I'm not as familiar as I should …
review by . October 22, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
The Story of a Boy and His Mother
When “Psycho” was first released in 1960, director Alfred Hitchcock took great pains to ensure the plot would remain unspoiled. He wouldn’t allow stars Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh to promote the film. Critics were not granted pre-release screenings. The trailer, at a lengthy six and a half minutes, featured not a single shot of the actual finished film, nor did it showcase its actors; it featured Hitchcock himself guiding us on a tour of the sets, all the while hinting – …
review by . January 04, 2011
Nobody knows how to make horror films anymore, it truly is a lost art. Now I would hardly consider myself an expert on the subject, but gone are the days of monsters, Hitchcock, and classic serial killers like Myers, Freddy, and Jason. Now, there exists nothing but crappy sequels and movies that are more focused on blood and guts than actual psychological terror. But back in the days of Hitchcock, there existed this one film, which redefined the horror genre, despite the fact that I don't think …
review by . December 28, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
A Classic Hitchcock Tale And It's Sequels
To start off the review, let me quote from http://www.filmsite.org/psyc.html      Alfred Hitchcock's powerful, complex psychological thriller, Psycho (1960) is the "mother" of all modern horror suspense films - it single-handedly ushered in an era of inferior screen 'slashers' with blood-letting and graphic, shocking killings (e.g., Homicidal (1961), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), Halloween 1978, Motel Hell (1980), and DePalma's Dressed to …
review by . July 18, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
  Psycho is a classic that you must see if you haven’t gotten around to it yet. If the ending hasn’t been ruined for you by someone’s big mouth, it will be sure to blow your mind.    This film was absolutely nothing like I expected it to be. I expected Psycho to be mildly outdated and cheesy, but it wasn’t at all. I am the type of person that laughs at horror films to the point that they may as well be relabeled “comedy.” I have never been able …
Quick Tip by . May 27, 2010
Loved this movie-Norman Bates is truly an unforgettable character.
Quick Tip by . July 20, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
One of the ultimate horror films, just thinking of Norman Bates gives me the chills. Even in 2010 this film packs a chillfest.
Quick Tip by . November 02, 2009
Psycho is a shocker and will remain so. Hitchcock took a chance when he killed off his leading lady at the beginning of the film!
review by . February 25, 2005
Pros: An American Movie Classic; frightening; interesting; great story     Cons: Probably not interesting to those who don't like "old" films     The Bottom Line: This movie is a classic. If you've never seen Psycho, you really should.     Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot. Before taking my Hitchcock class at The University of Alaska - Anchorage, the only Hitchcock film I had seen was The Birds. To …
review by . May 18, 2000
Pros: combining these releases, hard to pick - but the story line remains great     Cons: lost a little with the retelling of the tale :(     THAT WAS THEN 1960 .... The blood curling scream, the knife, the sound of water swirling down the drain, a shot to the drain, water and blood combined .... always the gurgling of the water slowly, slowly leaving the tub. One beautiful eye, staring into nothingness. Hauntingly eerie in stark black and white .....   …
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Wiki

Psycho The movie poster for Psycho features a large image of a young woman in white underwear. The names of the main actors are featured down the right side of the poster. Smaller images of Anthony Perkins and John Gavin are above the words, written in large print, "Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho".
Theatrical release poster Directed by Alfred Hitchcock Produced by Alfred Hitchcock Written by Joseph Stefano Starring Anthony Perkins
Vera Miles
John Gavin
Janet Leigh Music by Bernard Herrmann Cinematography John L. Russell Editing by George Tomasini Studio Shamley Productions Distributed by 1960–1968:
Paramount Pictures
1968-present:
Universal Pictures Release date(s) June 16, 1960 (1960-06-16) Running time 108 minutes Country United States Language English Budget $806,947 Gross revenue $32 million Followed by Psycho II

Psycho is a 1960 American suspense 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.[1]

The film depicts the encounter between a secretary, Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), who is in hiding at a motel after embezzling from her employer, and the motel's owner, Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), and the aftermath of their encounter.[2]

Psycho initially received mixed reviews, but outstanding box office returns prompted a re-review which was overwhelmingly positive and led to four Academy Award nominations. Psycho is now considered one of Hitchcock's best films[3] and is highly praised as a work of cinematic art by international critics.[4] The film spawned two sequels, a prequel, a remake, and an unsuccessful television spin-off.

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Details

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Genre: Classics, Crime, Mystery, Thriller
Release Date: June 16, 1960
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Joseph Stefano, Robert Bloch
Runtime: 2hrs 0min
Studio: Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
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