78/52 (2017) Movie Script

I was 21 years old.
I was a pin-up model.
I was working
with a photographer
and he said
that Universal
or UI,
as it was called then
are looking for somebody
to pose in a film.
So I called
and made an appointment.
I went and spoke
with Mr. Hitchcock
and basically
had to strip down.
Got dressed
again and then
was interviewed by,
uh, Janet Leigh
and I had to strip down
for her, too.
Well, just in my
underpants, but anyway..
My body was very
similar to hers. So I got hired.
I had to report
for makeup
I don't know,
one or two days later
and there's
the red light flashing
and "No admittance"
and all of this.
And I thought, "Oh, God.
You know, here they're
expecting a stripper."
I was not quite
completely nude.
I had, uh, what we called
a crotch patch.
During filming
with the shower
going and everything
it would come loose.
I told Hitchcock, I said
"Why don't we
take this thing off?"
And he says, "No. No."
The whole time
he wore a suit
black tie, white shirt.
I was hired
for two or three days
and wound up working
for seven.
It's extraordinary
that it took so long
to do that
p... one particular scene
because that was about
a third of what
Janet Leigh had to work
for the movie.
There were 78
pieces of film
in about 45 seconds.
Spending seven days
on one small set
shooting, you know,
such a short scene
was pretty much
unheard of.
Generally these days,
you're lucky
if you get
one day to kill someone.
Oh, it has to be
an obsession.
You're shooting that over
the course of seven days
that is absolutely
an obsession.
Hitchcock thought
to film this murder
separately from the rest
of this movie
which meant
in a way that
murder was now
going to be
an acceptable
part of entertainment.
There was violence
in American films
but nothing
like "Psycho."
Nothing that intimate,
nothing that designed
nothing that
kind of remorseless.
I think he knew
what he had on his hands.
And he probably
felt like
the whole film
hinged on that moment
that's this
crucible moment.
You should've seen
the blood.
The whole,
the whole place was..
Well it's,
it's too horrible
to describe. Dreadful.
It's, I think
the first modern..
...expression of..
...the female body
under assault.
And in some ways
it's its most
pure expression.
it is devastating.
Women had top billing
in the '30s and '20s.
And that slowly evaporated
during the forties.
And by the time we got
to the end of the '50s
women were, you know,
secondary in movies.
And Hitch, sort of,
that's what the movie does
in a way, say that
he's killing off
the woman.
And it was really
the first A movie
to deal
with this kind of
horror, trashy,
tabloid stuff.
Nobody wanted to make it
and they went,
"Are you nuts?
"You just did
"North by Northwest"
"this incredible hit
"now you want to do
this like
"black and white,
what is this thing?"
I have just made
a motion picture
"North By Northwest."
"North by Northwest"
was like
the ultimate achievement
in... on every level.
It was grand entertainment,
it was classy
it had movie stars, and it,
you know, it was, it was
it was colorful.
So, w... how are you gonna
follow that up
with a prank?
I once made a movie, uh
rather tongue-in-cheek,
called "Psycho."
- Yes.
- It was a..
It was, it was a big joke,
you know?
And I was horrified
to find that
some people
took it seriously.
It was intended
to cause people
to scream and yell
and so forth
uh, but no more than
the screaming and yelling
on a switchback railway.
Those of us who work in the
horror genre rarely wear tuxedos.
This is not a movie that
wears a tuxedo either.
This is a movie that's very
much jeans and a T-shirt.
But it's told by a guy
who wears a tuxedo.
He wanted to stray
beyond his comfort zone.
One of the things
he was up to is
"You don't know me
at all."
And that's what "Psycho"
is really about.
What attracted you
to this one then?
I think the murder
in the bathtub.
Coming out of the blue
you know,
that was about all.
Hitchcock was very, very
aware of his competition.
He realized that Clouzot
had done the kind of movie
that he felt that he should
and could be making.
And of course,
when critics started
calling Clouzot
"The French Hitchcock.."
Well, you were invading
his territory then
and he, believe me,
he took notice.
"Psycho" is really
the moment
where the gloves
come off.
It does feel
like Hitch's revenge
on Hollywood
to some extent.
In so many levels,
it's, um, his masterpiece.
I s... continue to feel like, the movie
is an act of aggression
against his fans,
his critics, actors.
- Yeah.
- It's, it just feels angry.
Like, he was hurt
and he had to hurt back.
The sudden violence
of the shower scene
in "Psycho"
was meaningful to him
for reasons that dated
back you know, 20 years
to the origins
of World War II.
Hitchcock thought
that the UK
and the United States were
insufficiently prepared
for the dangers and
horrors of World War II.
There were several moments in
his movies that spoke to that.
You can hear the bombs
falling on the streets
and the homes.
Don't tune me out.
Hang on a while, this is a
big story and you're a part of it.
It's too late to do
anything here now
except stand in the dark
and let them come.
What's the matter
with us?
We not only let the Nazi
do our rowing for us
but our thinking!
Ye Gods
and little fishes!
One of them was
"Shadow of a Doubt"
only about a year
and a half
after Pearl Harbor
set in Santa Rosa
in California.
You can see how
in that movie
he's kind of chastising
this town
for being naive.
You live in a dream.
You're a sleepwalker,
How do you know
what the world is like?
Do you know the world
is a foul sty?
Do you know if you ripped
the fronts off houses
you'd find swine?
He was basically saying
you were way too naive.
"You think you're safe
in your shower, at home
"with, you know, your family
and loved ones nearby?
No. You're not. Sorry."
had many obsessions
but one of them that he
talked about with "The Birds"
was the randomness
of life.
There is no explanation
for the birds attacking.
To him that was life.
There you are,
everything's fine and then
someone gets cancer and
they're dead two weeks later.
Or your life is good and then
you get hit by a bus.
Hitchcock was someone who,
for several years now
was showing up on people's TV sets,
on Sunday nights.
The victim tumbled or fell
with a horrible cash.
I think the back broke immediately
it hit the floor.
It was, it's difficult
to describe
the way that the, the..
He was an icon.
He was this sort of
yet creepy guy
who was presenting sex
and violence to Americans
leavened with black humor,
every Sunday night.
And Americans were comfortable
with him by 1960.
If someone else
had made "Psycho"
it's quite possible
that the reaction
would not have been
the same.
"Psycho" came at a very unique time
in American pop culture.
It almost pre-dates
the turmoil and the shock
and the trauma
that were to come
in the 1960's
with racial violence
with political
I'm not saying that
Hitchcock anticipated it
and knew
what he was up to.
But what he did know
is that he was trapped
by his past
that it was not a time
anymore for Grace Kelly.
It was not
a time anymore for
what he called "Beautiful
technicolor baubles."
When you look
at "Psycho"
and you look at those
elegant, big, rich
technicolor films
of the fifties
you know
that something changed.
I think that "Psycho'
was his response
to movies changing
and to upping the ante
and not wanting
to be forgotten.
1959 is, that was the year
of "Some Like it Hot."
"Suddenly, Last Summer,"
and "Anatomy of a Murder."
All three of those movies
pushed boundaries.
So, there was something
in the air, culturally speaking
that Hollywood
was already tapping into.
"Psycho" comes out
at this period
where we're post
atomic age
but pre-civil rights.
You know,
if you think about
the horror
movie violence
they were science
gone wrong
but you don't really feel like
it was going to happen to you.
"Psycho" you felt
could happen to you.
This was the first movie
that showed, yeah
you can be vulnerable,
naked, alone in a shower
and someone who is wearing
the clothes
of their dead mother
is going
to come in
and just stab you
because that's what
they're going to do.
Americans were kind of
obsessed with domesticity.
They wanted
to tell themselves that
in their private personal
domestic spaces
at least there
they were safe.
The Soviets
and whomever else
they couldn't possibly
get to you
in your bathroom!
A few days
after "Psycho"
begins shooting
in November of 1959
the Clutter family
in Kansas is murdered.
Those are the
"In Cold Blood" murders.
You're not
living next door
to the Norman Rockwell
family anymore.
You're living next door
to the Manson family.
This is the new,
modern American family
which is
v... very much inspired
Tobe Hooper's "The Texas
Chainsaw Massacre."
The first Playboy Club
opens in Chicago.
The most famous
sitcom stars
of the 1950s
Lucille Ball and Ricky
Ricardo are divorced.
The birth control pill
is approved by the FDA.
You could look
at the shower scene
as this buildup of tension
of all of these things
all of these
American fears
in the,
of the quiet 50s.
It's... it's all
gonna explode
and it comes out
in this scene.
While I was on the critic's
list in New York for review.
The press was all invited
to the theater
the day it opened at 10:00
or 10:30 in the morning
with the
first performance.
As you went in,
Hitchcock's voice was
on loudspeakers saying
"Nobody will be allowed
in after the picture starts
and please don't reveal
the ending."
Before "Psycho,"
you know, movies for
as a form of entertainment were
relatively disposable.
There was a tremendous,
compared to today
a tremendous coming and
going in movie theaters.
And Hitchcock brilliantly
said we don't want
anyone coming in after the
beginning of this film.
It changed the way films
are exhibited.
The reason was because
the leading lady, Janet Leigh
was killed off a third
of the way through
I didn't want people
whispering to each other
"When is Janet Leigh
coming on?"
He wanted to build
The bathroom.
Something terrible
happens in a bathroom.
We know this
from the trailer.
We don't know
it's Janet Leigh
because it's Vera Miles
in the trailer
and not Janet Leigh.
The minute
the curtain opened
and started stabbing
there was, there was
a sustained shriek
from the audience.
Like that, cons... you,
uh, you couldn't hear
of the soundtrack
through the entire
shower scene.
So you had the screams
from Janet Leigh
the screams
from all the women
surrounding you
in the theater
and the high shrieking
strings from Herrmann.
That must have been
total mayhem.
It was actually the first time
in the history of movies
where it wasn't safe to be
in the movie theater.
And when I walked out
into Times Square
at noon..
...I felt
I had been raped.
In 1895,
when the Lumiere Brothers
really first showed film
to an audience
one of the fragments
they showed was
of a train pulling
into a station.
And the,
the legend has it
they thought the train
was going to hit them
and they were screaming
and it was like
caused a... a
stampede of people
trying to evacuate this
this room
that it was screened in.
They did not, they didn't
understand the concept.
You know,
"Psycho" comes along
and has a similar
kind of impact.
It's the only movie
in my childhood
that my mom wouldn't
let me go and see.
Which was kind
of ridiculous
because I was seeing
nothing but horror films
every single weekend,
two of them, in fact.
But "Psycho?"
No. I couldn't go.
As a kid when
I would hear about it
I thought the name
was cycle.
Like it was about some
killer on a motorcycle.
But, um, I actually got,
got this Super 8 version
and just,
like, constantly ran
the movie over
and over again.
When audiences saw this
likeable character.
Someone who is quite relatable in
terms of, I need more money
I'm growing older,
the man that I love won't marry me.
They, they
were really hooked.
Oh, Sam,
let's get married.
Yeah, and live with me
in a storeroom
behind a hardware store
in Fairvale.
We'll have
lots of laughs.
"Of course she's going
to survive the movie!
It's Janet Leigh."
she takes a shower.
Out of nowhere,
she's murdered
by... an old lady?
Who I can't even see?
What the fuck
is going on here?
He has broken the
covenant of filmmaker and audience
and the audience
cannot wait to see more.
He was
a respected director
and you know, she was
a bona fide movie star
and I think you kind of
get into the thrill
of that
possible shockwave
which obviously
And I think
that moment signaled
new American cinema.
Maybe new world cinema,
in certain ways.
Now I don't know that
that had ever been done.
- Right.
- Uh, you know, uh..
Or maybe there's some
obscure Czechoslovakian film
that did it and there's
a guy going like..
- I did it first!
- Yeah.
I can think of things that
culturally have got us
thinking about that
structure for instance
um, the first season
of "Game of Thrones"
in which
our most appealing
character of Ned Stark
is just sort of cruelly
killed in front of us.
Culturally, we had to be
reminded of the power
of that
narrative trope.
The reality is, he used the whole
first half of the movie
as a ruse to get you
to this house.
And the only way you're
going to get to this house
is if you believe
that she's someone who's
stolen $40,000.
And that she's gotten
off on the wrong freeway exit
and is on this little tiny road
where nobody goes by.
There's a lot of things
he's saying here about
our society that was
changing at that point.
We were trying to get
as fast as we could
from Los Angeles to
Chicago or New York.
And going into
these little towns
was not
necessary anymore.
And Norman doesn't even
seem to mind.
He's ready to change
the bed sheets
every day
with nobody there.
One by one,
you drop the formalities.
I shouldn't even bother
changing the sheets
but old habits die hard.
When she's driving off
with the $40,000
she's on the road
and she's in the west.
There's something fundamentally
American about that dating back
all the way
to Manifest Destiny.
"Go west! Find your fate,
find your freedom."
Marion tries
to do just that.
And that's where
she meets her fate.
It's interesting to
compare the novel "Psycho"
with the movie
The shower scene
is a lot different.
It's really brief
in the book.
So on page 28
um, here's
the shower scene.
"The roar
was deafening.
"The room was beginning
to steam up.
"That's why she didn't
hear the door open
"or note the sound
of footsteps.
"And at first when the
shower curtains parted
"the steam
obscured the face.
"Then she did
see it there
"just a face, peering
through the curtains
"hanging in mid-air
like a mask.
"A half-scarf
concealed the hair
"and the glassy eyes
stared inhumanly.
"But it wasn't a mask.
It couldn't be.
"The skin had been
powdered dead white
"and two hectic spots of rouge
centered on the cheekbones.
"It wasn't a mask, it was
the face of a crazy woman.
"Mary started to scream
and then the curtain parted further
"and a hand appeared,
holding a butcher knife.
"It was the knife, that a
moment later cut off her scream..
...and her head."
The fact that Hitchcock
brought Saul Bass in to work
on the shower scene as its
own, kind of independent thing
uh, says to me
that he knew
that, uh, he had to do
something special
with the shower scene.
Mary in shower.
"We see the bathroom
door being pushed slowly open.
"The noise of the shower
drowns out any sound.
"The door is then slowly
and carefully closed.
"And we see
the shadow of a woman
"fall across
the shower curtain.
"Mary's back is turned
to the curtain.
"The white brightness
of the bathroom is almost blinding.
"Suddenly we see
the hand reach up
"grasp the shower curtain,
rip it aside.
"Cut to Mary,
extreme close up.
"As she turns
in response to the feel
"and sound of the shower curtain
being torn aside.
"A look of pure horror
erupts in her face.
"A low, terrible groan
"begins to rise up
out of her throat.
"A hand comes
in the shot.
"The hand holds
an enormous bread knife.
"The flint of the blade
shatters the screen
"to an almost total
silver blankness.
"The slashing.
"An impression
of a knife slashing
"as if tearing at the very screen,
ripping the film.
"Over it the brief
gulps of screaming.
"And then silence.
"And then the dreadful
thump as Mary's body falls in the tub.
"Reverse angle,
the blank whiteness
"the blur
of the shower water
"the hand pulling
the shower curtain back.
"We catch one flicker
of a glimpse of the murderer.
"A woman, her face
contorted with madness
"her head wild
with hair
"as if she were wearing
a fright-wig.
"And then we see
only the curtain
"closed across the tub
"and hear the rush
of the shower water.
"Above the shower-bar we see
the bathroom door open again
"and after a moment we hear t
he sound of the front door slamming.
"Cut to the dead body.
"Lying half in,
half out of the tub.
"The head tumbled over,
touching the floor.
"The hair wet, one eye
wide open as if popped.
"One arm lying limp and
wet along the tile floor.
"Coming down
the side of the tub
"running thick and dark
along the porcelain
"we see many small
threads of blood.
"Camera moves away
from the body
"travels slowly across
the bathroom
past the toilet,
out into the bedroom."
I think that the shower
scene elevated film.
Not the horror genre specifically,
but film making in general.
Over and over again and it
keeps showing you new things.
I think it's one of those
spectacular pieces of work.
The film is moving
inexorably to that scene.
You don't know it as a,
as a viewer.
Sam, this
is the last time.
I pay, too.
They also pay
who meet in hotel rooms.
There are plenty of motels
in this area.
You should've,
I mean, just to be safe.
M... mother. My, my, my mother,
uh, what is the phrase?
She isn't
q... quite herself today.
Hitchcock was amazing
at setting everything up.
When she's packing
to go to see her boyfriend
you see the showerhead
in the background.
And it's very specific
the shower is right over
her shoulder.
You know, when it
comes to Norman, when he
t... t, he talks about the
bathroom and he like stutters
and he can't
really say "Toilet"
you know,
or, or "Bathroom."
And the, uh..
...over there..
- The bathroom.
- Yeah.
That's what's, what's
great about Hitchcock.
I mean, he always,
really, like
tunes into those
c... character moments.
That desperate drive
at the beginning.
It's crazy good.
The notion
of getting clean
that's her ark.
She can't see because
of the density
of the water
is really beautiful
because she's drowning
in her worry and fear.
The slashing
of the wipers
presages the slashing of,
of the knife.
It sort of,
it's a very violent and wet
and sloshy, sharp,
stabbing motion.
And it's a long build-up
but we have no idea
that the rain that's going to
come down upon
her later is going to
include her own blood.
I certainly
get the sensation
that the shower scene
was something that Hitchcock
had probably been
working towards all of his life.
Is he cleaning house?
He's washing down
the bathroom walls.
Hmm! Must've
splattered a lot.
Well, why not? That's
what we're all thinking.
He killed her in there,
he has to clean up
those stains
before he leaves.
W... you really can't talk
about the shower scene
without talking about
the rest of the film.
Without the parlor scene,
the shower scene
doesn't really work nearly as well
because the parlor scene
is a sort of really sad
beautiful connection
that comes
before this savagery.
Is your time so empty?
No. Uh..
Well, I... I
run the office.
And, uh, tend the cabins
and grounds and, and do little
uh, errands
for my mother
the ones she allows I
might be capable of doing.
Do you go out
with friends?
Well, a... a boy's best
friend is his mother.
There's a very loaded preamble
to the shower scene.
Wouldn't it be better
if you put her..
...some place..
You mean an institution?
A madhouse?
Look how still he is.
Whereas before he was
fidgety and moving around
suddenly he
became very still.
Maybe that's the moment
he decided to kill her.
- Yeah.
- Yeah.
Yeah, he's super
confident now.
Yeah, he's barely
moving his head.
- Just his eyes
- Wow.
Oh, he's so angry.
- And she just got terrified.
- Yeah.
Oh, y... you're not, uh
you're not going back
to your room already?
"Perhaps I'll go back
to my room now, Norman.
"It's been lovely
to chat.
Terribly sorry
about your loneliness."
This is the first moment
that you're with him and not her.
Yeah, she literally
walks away from camera.
- Yeah, right.
- And then we're with him.
- My job here is done.
- Yeah.
I'm no longer the
protagonist of this story.
There was a private
supper here.
And, uh..
Oh, by the way,
this picture..
...has great
Uh, let's go along
to cabin number one.
The painting
that Mr. Bates removed
to become the peeping Tom,
was actually
a 16th or early
17th century painting.
"Susanna and the Elders"
is actually a morality story
about a virtuous woman
who bathed in her garden
and was spied on
by two elder men.
And the theme burgeoned
possibly as the result
of counter reformatory motives.
It was either that
or it was simply an excuse
for painting
female nudity.
Now, the interesting thing
about it is, it's about adultery.
And it's fascinating
who's in the shower
is kind
of cleansing herself
of committing adultery
with a married man.
In art history,
there were about three
or four different phases
of how artists
depicted Susanna
and the Elders.
Lucas van Leyden shows
the two Elders in prominence
the small Susanna
is bathing
in the far distance.
But by the time
you get to Tintoretto
she's full frontal.
Rubens begins
to take and probe
the psychological
intensity of the moment.
Rembrandt's using the power of
lightness and darkness
of highlights
to enhance the drama.
The interesting thing
about the painting
is that you've got full
frontal nudity of Susanna
and yet the two elders
are not simply looking at her
they're actually groping
and violating her.
It's an almost
a rape scene
that's taking place
before our eyes.
It's... it's an amazing painting
that he picked.
It's not any old
baroque painting.
It's voyeurism.
He removes the
voyeuristic painting
to become the voyeur
looking in on the shower.
He could have picked
from 50 different examples
but he chose this one because
it had the most amount
of information that he
could use for his film.
I love that there is
a hole in the wall
the size of his face
which tells you that he's been doing
this more than once
and he's made it
comfortable for himself.
The notion that he's
looking just as you are
it binds you with him.
And when you eliminate
those walls
and you're now
watching him
and you're watching, and
you're watching together
then you are
in a new place
where things can get
a lot scarier.
"Psycho" is delineated
from the other works
of his oeuvre
by those gazes.
The birds
are looking at us
each individual bird
dead bird,
is looking at us.
Mother is looking at us
from eyeless sockets.
Dead Marion
with her eye open.
The stare includes
and indicts us
at the same time.
It's a mirror image,
you know, it goes both ways.
We're looking into
the eyes of death
and the eyes of death
are looking at us.
And it's inclusive
and horrifying.
The laughing
and the tears..
...and the cruel eyes
studying you.
My mother, there?
God is studying you,
because there are a number of
you know, God point-of-view
shots in "Psycho"
just as there are
in "The Birds."
Hitchcock's God
is cruel and arbitrary
a bit like some kind of
bird of prey or raptor
which is, uh, gazing down
rather coldly and disinterestedly
on its human subjects.
In the shower sequence,
the violence is directed
and that knife
is coming towards us
so we're being punished
for being the voyeurs.
There are consequences
to watching
and being watched.
In the character
of James Stewart
if we identify
with him in "Rear Window"
has a very literal, great fall
at the end of it
where he breaks
the other leg
meaning another six,
eight months of pain and itchiness
and not being able
to screw Grace Kelly.
All of those things are
pertinent to Hitchcock.
I'll bet you
nine people out of ten..
...if they see
something across
like a woman undressing
and going to bed
or even sometimes
a man puttering around
his room
doing nothing..
...nine people out of ten
will stay and look.
They won't turn away
and say
"It's none
of my business"
and pull down
their own curtain.
They won't do it.
In the beginning
in the movie
you're flying into a window
with the blinds closed
so you're starting off
as a voyeur.
And if you think about it,
if the movie's opening
from the point of view
of a fly
it changes
the whole context
of what the meaning
of the movie is.
I'm not even going
to swat that fly.
I hope they are watching.
They'll see.
They'll see and they'll
know and they'll say
"Why, she wouldn't
even harm a fly."
I think the voyeurism
actually has a payoff
in the shower scene.
It's Hitchcock's way of setting
the bomb under the table
which is something he liked
to do to create dramatic irony.
I think at this point,
we start to wonder
what's going on in his head
and what's gonna happen
because of this look
on his face.
This is so interesting,
as an actor, what is he playing.
He's playing, "Oh, God, don't let
my mother kill this girl."
Norman Bates is presented
in all these little
you know, encapsulated moments
throughout the film
and in much the same way that
the murder is presented
in encapsulated
moments of images
and compositions
cut together.
So, I think that
th... the movie is
it's about
It is fragmentation.
Norman goes
up to the house.
It's very important
that the audience
sees him leave
because he is reacting
to a third character
that we think
is in the house
mother, but that
is really in his mind.
He goes to the stairs
and he looks up and he looks like
he's sad 'cause he realizes mom's
not at home upstairs.
Then he goes and flops
into the kitchen
like a dejected
little school boy.
Then he sits there like, "Oh rats,
I can't have dinner with
the lady I want
to have dinner with."
I imagine he must have done that a lot
when mother was alive.
That she must have yelled at him
and he would just go
in the kitchen when he couldn't
get what he wanted
when she was berating him
for whatever he wasn't
up to her standards.
There's a lot one could say about
Hitchcock mothers.
Are you quite sure she didn't
come down here to see you
to capture the rich Alex
Sebastian for a husband?
Now, get shaved before
your father gets home.
You gentlemen aren't really trying
to kill my son, are you?
When you talk about
what is sacred in America
people talk about mom
and apple pie.
Mom is good,
we love mom.
We are mom. We are good.
On the other hand, there's
something else going on
in 1950's American
culture and society
where mom
is also suspect.
There was a serious
social panic in America
juvenile delinquency.
One thing that this
social panic resulted in
was this fear
that moms were going
to shelter
and spoil children
possibly America itself,
to death.
All of the sitcoms
"Father Knows Best"
"Ozzie and Harriett"
where mother
never did anything.
All she did
was take care
of the house
and the kids.
Lunch is practically ready and
David has to get dressed.
Get dressed?
You mean dressed up?
Well, yes. You want to look nice
when Nancy gets here.
The director who exposes
the horror of the American
family in the '50s
without making a horror
movie is Douglas Sirk.
You see, Kay,
I love Ron.
You love him so much
you're willing to ruin all our lives?
You can't
really think that.
What else can I think?
In Sirk, it's the whole
construction of the family.
It's not until "Psycho,"
though, where the mother
is literally a monster
when you see her
at the end.
I think my mother
scared me
when I was
three months old.
You see,
she said, "Boo!"
I don't know
how many times in "Psycho"
do people
talk about mother.
Oh, we can see
each other.
We can even have dinner.
But respectably.
In my house, with my mother's
picture on the mantel
and my sister helping me
broil a big steak for three.
And after the steak,
do we send sister
to the movies, turn mama's
picture to the wall?
Patricia Hitchcock
talks about, she
offers her a tranquilizer.
Have you got
some aspirin?
I've got something,
not aspirin.
My mother's doctor gave them to me
the day of my wedding.
Teddy was furious when he found out
I'd taken tranquilizers.
A... any calls?
Teddy called me. My mother called
to see if Teddy called.
Even in that office,
the influence
the negative influence
of mothers
and here it's on women,
not on men.
So, the fact that
Norman Bates' mother
we realize eventually
it's Norman Bates himself
might have, on an unconscious
level, audiences saying
"A-ha! I knew it!
"Mom is gonna kill us!
Mom is gonna be
the death of us all!"
Okay, once more
onto the bridge.
Back to the primal
Marion is doing her
accounting here
figuring out how much
she spent on the car.
She's making
the decision to
return the money.
Nice little bit
of handy exposition.
I always
write down my math.
It's charming, you know.
It's still an old movie,
let's face it.
She throws the paper
in the toilet bowl
and then, to cap it off,
she flushes it.
Right from the beginning
you know you're in new territory.
In 1960, nobody had shown
a toilet before.
The flushing toilet
is a clear indication that
the scene to come is going
to break one or two taboos.
Details are important, you know,
in the building of suspense.
You know that those details are all
going to add up
to something
much more monumental
than the simplicity
of these shots.
was a Victorian.
thought that a bright
white, tiled bathroom
was sanitary.
That's the term
they used.
His bathroom in his home
was bright, white tiles.
He thought that invading the
sanctity of the bathroom
was a cool and
subversive thing to do.
He did it in his silent films,
he did it in "Spellbound."
But showing that brightness, it was
a way of saying
look at how I'm defiling the sanctity
of the bathroom.
And I'm doing it
almost bloodlessly.
Coincidentally, this scene
was extremely influential
on a scene in
"The Conversation"
which I edited
back in 1973.
A murder
has been committed
and Gene Hackman
comes into
the bathroom
of a hotel room
but the room
is completely clean.
And he pulls
the curtain apart
just as in "Psycho"
the mother
pulls the curtain apart
but it's empty.
He goes to the drain of the tub
and runs his fingers
around the drain to see
if there was any telltale
signs of blood,
and there's nothing.
He goes over to the toilet
to jiggle the handle
and the toilet
suddenly backs up.
So it's a kind
of i... inverse version
of the "Psycho" scene.
The toilet and the flushing
of the toilet
the shower curtain, the drain, all
of these things were
definitely imprinted
upon us by "Psycho."
Now, one of
the most beautiful
leading ladies in 1960
just stripped in front of us
and stepped into a shower.
It's like, "Holy shit,
where are we going now?"
Man, that must have been
crazy racy for 1960.
I don't even understand.
Hitchcock knew that
men were curious
about Janet Leigh.
And so the idea
of having her in a shower
in a stance that seems
very suggestive, was a huge deal.
Seeing her full body
behind that curtain
it's brilliant
because it's translucent.
It's not transparent
it's not opaque,
but it's translucent
enough to see her
and titillate us
but not enough to really
be graphic yet.
Whole theory is that
you have to discover
the sex in the woman
and not have it..
...stuck all over her
like labels, you know.
And, uh, there's nothing
else to look for
nothing to discover.
Do we know anybody who
turns a shower on before it gets..
Uh, I mean,
I don't act that way.
I don't turn
a shower on... like that.
I run it and then get in
when I know that it's safe.
And look at that almost
sexual expression on her face.
She's being rained upon,
and it's cleansing.
It's warm and she's happy and she's
like, made up her mind.
The natural sounds kind of put you
in the perspective of
you know, we all become Janet Leigh,
but not as attractive.
Through other movies
like "Rear Window" and "Birds"
he knows when the lack of music can
be as effective as music.
I think there's almost
no moment
when we see Marion
with a genuine smile.
There's almost no moment where, where
she's allowed to feel
good about
what her life is like.
She's happy
for the first time.
We're going into a scene
which on the one hand
is, um, quite liberating
for the character
but at the same time,
it's clearly really
what we're watching
is the liberation of Hitchcock
of his own
repressed desires
finally being writ
large on screen.
viewed the world
as a very imperfect
moral machine.
And he always had this..
...biblical, almost, sense of doom
and punishment.
You know, that befalls
those that tangle
with sin
in a casual way.
Even his most
un-Hitchcockian movie
which is
"Mr. and Mrs. Smith"
which I love,
punishes banality.
She makes a moral decision
to take back that money, and in
you know, and suffer whatever
punishment will come her way.
I stepped into a private
trap back there
and... I'd like to go back
and try to pull myself out of it..
...before it's too late
for me, too.
This is very important.
Very important
narratively because
it doesn't come, uh,
in the middle of a heist
or in the middle
of the robbery
or as she's escaping
with the money on the road.
And it turns out, bang,
it doesn't make a damn
bit of difference because the universe
doesn't give a shit.
I think, uh, that is, um
a true sign
of his Catholicism
and... and his sense
of doom
about a sin that
cannot be washed away
literally, with water.
You know,
it cannot be purged
except by blood and violence and
paying the price.
She's punished
for the worst crime
which is sexually arousing
Norman Bates.
You know, you get this
strain again and again.
I mean, think of
"Strangers on a Train"
where Robert Walker, you know,
strangles this poor girl.
Again, what does
he strangle her for?
she's a loose woman
who is in
Farley Granger's way..
I... I mean, that's a
foreshadowing of "Psycho."
That's her point of view
of the shower
that puts us,
the audience
as if we're
in the shower with her.
It makes us feel just
as vulnerable as she is.
It's spraying at us and it's creating
a sonic curtain.
She can't hear him
Gee, I'm sorry I didn't hear you
in all this rain.
And that's why that shot
is bad news.
You know, the shots
change in their level of symmetry
during the course
of the sequence.
That's order
at the beginning
and then oddly, it'll be echoed
by the eye, and the drain
and Norman Bates'
peephole through his office
and those things start
to rhyme after awhile in a great way.
How do you point
a camera at a shower head
without the lens
getting sprayed?
Move the camera
back enough
plug some of the holes
so that the spray shoots outward.
Very simple
and elegant solution.
There's nothing unusual
about the pacing here.
It's at a rather leisurely
four and a half seconds
per cut on average.
So it's the calm
before the storm, let's say.
And now here's
what I would call a strange cut
what I call
the wet hair cut
which is her
washing herself
with her head
tilted back
and then
it suddenly cuts
to the same
kind of an angle
really a jump cut, except now
her hair is completely wet.
This would give the lie
to somebody who said
this scene
was shot exactly
as the storyboards
were done
because you never
would storyboard
a moment like that.
You think you're gonna
be watching her
go through the whole
process in real time
but that cut
jumps you ahead.
It feels very bold
and confident.
Now, we... we cut
to the showerhead
but it's a side angle
on the shower head
not this sort of
subjective point of view.
When we were looking
at her, she was facing left to right
away from the shower.
And when we
cut back to her
we come around
to the other side of the stageline.
What's behind her
now is the shower curtain
not the wall.
And now
there's another cut
again it's a kind
of awkward jump cut.
Objectively, there would be
no reason to do that.
But it's unsettling
there's a big empty
space, which is itself unsettling.
What is going to fill
that empty space?
The audience starts to look over
into that negative space
and feeling like, "Why
am I looking over here?"
The door opens,
you see the shadow
and then Norman's
And that's
the mounting terror
where you say
to yourself
"Oh, my God.
Oh, my God."
And that is the difference
between suspense and surprise.
The idea of menace
in a shadowy figure.
I think that that's
Hitchcock's fear.
Who is the menacing
in A... Alfred Hitchcock's
own life?
By the time he gets to "Psycho,"
that person is unleashed.
Here you see, uh,
Margo Epper
the stunt woman,
coming toward.
How do you not reveal
who that is?
I've been taking the rap for that
sequence for 20 years now
but that's not me
behind the curtain.
I was in New York that day
rehearsing a Broadway show.
Every time
they kept shooting it
you kept seeing
the stunt woman's face.
One of the makeup
men decided
what if we blackened
her face?
And so they... they tried
that a couple of times
and they went darker
and darker and darker
until they... they
achieved that effect.
I talked with Janet Leigh
about what she thought
she saw coming at her,
and, and she clearly
saw Norman
coming at her
and that's what
she played.
So the reality
for her was
I'm going to die
this way by this person
who tried
to befriend me
and I tried
to be polite to.
You're very kind.
It's all for you.
I'm not hungry, go ahead.
It really does lend
an extra air of horror
and pathos
to that moment.
And that wallpaper
in the background
"The Shining," so many horror
movies try to have that like
perfect Hitchcock,
Bates Motel wallpaper.
This floral pattern
that juxtaposed with this
black silhouette of the knife
and the hair of mother
it's really,
really terrifying.
The shape always
kind of tortured me.
Almost like a weird
mushroom-shaped head.
I don't know, kind of lame
to me, for some reason.
I, I'd always wished that this shot
looked a little scarier.
When my grandfather first
saw the first rough cut of "Psycho"
um, he didn't
like it at all
He was just gonna
cut it down to an hour
and make it part
of the TV show.
Bernard Herrmann convinced
him to create the most like
famous scared chord music in... in
horror cinema history.
It's so engrained in pop
culture, to where..
It, it is,
it is transcendent.
My seven year old daughter
knows that
but she doesn't know
what it comes from.
But, you know,
she's made that joke.
Like, I don't know
where she got it.
- That's incredible.
- She has no idea it's from "Psycho."
It's evolutionary, like
we're just born knowing
the shower scene
from "Psycho."
I wanted a tattoo
and I thought,
it must be that one cue
by Bernard Herrmann
the most amazing cue ever made
in cinematic history.
It has so little
to do with harmony.
It is just
sheer terror.
The way that music was used in
movies to scare people really
changed after "Psycho."
If you wanna make
something scary
you put in those strings,
and you're like..
If you slow
it down you get..
What I really adore
about Herrmann is
the way that he realized
that in the limitation
there is actually
a much more
powerful statement
to be made.
He did "The Day
the Earth Stood Still"
and he wrote it for seven Theremins
and only copper horns.
Herrmann wrote,
"Living Doll"
which I think is one
of the best scores
that they had on
"Twilight Zone."
It's like
a bass clarinet
or it might have been
a contra bassoon
a glockenspiel
and a harp.
He was definitely
an experimenter.
He's the one who taught me
that you can kind of do
anything anywhere,
if it works.
What I think is also
absolutely genius about
the shower scene is that the way
Herrmann spotted it.
Uh, the spotting is deciding
when do you start a cue
when do you end a cue.
It starts with the... the
toilet flushing.
She steps
into the shower
there is no music
at all whatsoever.
This composer does not prepare us
for the onslaught
that is about
to happen.
When Janet Leigh
walks into the shower
and she pulls
the curtain closed
you can actually
hear the sound
of the rings on the bar
that and it goes
You see the villain
coming too
no music,
no music at all.
The curtain gets swept aside,
we get the first sting..
This is... this is the rush of
Janet Leigh's heartbeat.
From the moment that we,
as an audience, completely realize
"Okay, this girl is being
brutally butchered here"
and we see this,
and the music goes..
She falls to the floor
the heartbeat slows
because she's dying.
And then,
in her last gasp
that music
basically leaves her
and all we have is the sound
of the falling curtain
and her head
smacking to the ground.
How genius is that?
That's Herrmann.
That's not Hitch.
That's Bernie.
We used
the original score
um, Bernard Herrmann's
original score
for our temp music,
of course.
While we were editing the film
and then Danny came
and re-recorded it
and it was
so beautiful.
It's a perfect score.
When I was given the job,
I mean
it really was
a holy scripture for me.
There was one beat in a meeting with
some of the producers
of like, maybe because it's in color,
we should do it with
uh, brass and woodwinds
and percussion and do it
with a full orchestra,
I was like
"No, no, no, no,
no, no, no, no, no.
Please, please. I beg you.
Don't make me do that."
I had visions
of a very grumpy
Bernard Herrmann
his ghost coming into my
room and I'd wake up
in the middle of the night
and he'd be there going
"You little asshole,
what have you done?"
A knife is raised up
and now,
the murder scene begins
and the pace
of the cutting
it's going
to shrink dramatically.
And there it is,
unbelievably savage..
...intimate and just
wrong on so many levels.
That... that looks awful.
That... that is..
Wow. Wow. Man, oh, man.
And he his way of reaching
out and grabbing you
by the throat
and saying, "Look! Look!
You will look at this."
It was a perfect,
stainless steel trap.
You could not run away from it,
it was, uh, inflicting damage
but at the same time,
you knew
you were in
the hands of a master.
There was nothing
to do but submit.
The "Psycho" shower scene is
cut very much like a... an action scene.
George Tomasini
was a master.
What he did with
the shower scene changed
the language of cinema.
Uh, the editor suddenly became
a much more important
piece of the puzzle.
You had to think
about a cut
'cause a cut was gonna take you
four minutes to make
and splice
and check it.
And now, you can make
a cut every 12 seconds or something.
The planning, the consideration,
the thinking that went
into designing some of these films
is astonishing.
Motion pictures were 14 years old before
somebody got the idea
that you could
make a cut.
Because it's violent
what's happening
you're looking at
an image, a visual field
that is very detailed
and full of motion
and then, instantly
it is removed and replaced
with another image.
In a sense, the audience
should kind of
crash through the windshield
of this experience.
Hitchcock and Tomasini
knew exactly
where the audience
was looking.
They ended up working
the disorientation
drawing you into Marion's sense
of confusion and terror.
Every single cut that
Tomasini does is you..
By the time you've caught up
to what you're looking at
in the new shot, he's already
cut to another shot.
It's a kaleidoscope
of these images crashing
into your cranium, but it's very planned,
and it feels that way.
It's order and chaos come
crashing up against each other.
- It's a magic act. Truly.
- Yeah.
'Cause people walked out
of the cinema feeling
like they had seen, like shocked,
you know, beyond belief
'cause there was nothing like that
in cinema prior to that.
And yet they hadn't
actually seen the things
that they thought they saw. That's
an incredible thing.
The use of the sound
effects, um, that... are
I think, I think
a huge contributor
to the violence
of the scene.
The stabbing sounds
in particular.
How do you come up
with the sound of
what happens when a butcher
knife strikes flesh?
The soundman
came up with the idea of
what about a knife
stabbing melons?
So, knowing Hitchcock,
you would have to bring
lots of melons and arrange
them on a big table.
There'd be Crenshaw
melons, and you know
any kind of melon
that you can imagine
of very,
very different sizes.
So, I think
they had about
two dozen
and some backups.
So, there's
the prop man
stabbing melon,
melon, melon, melon.
Next melon,
melon, melon.
And so by the end of it
Hitchcock knew the one
that sounded most
like, sinew and
sounded the way he
thought it should sound.
So, when they were
through demonstrating
all of these
different melons
all he said was..
That's all they
needed to know.
I think the whole key to the sound
of the Casaba melon
is that the inner gooey
part is very small
and there's a very
thick layer of fruit
that you have
to stab through.
- It's very dense.
- Dense?
Not hollow, like a lot
of the other melons
sounded a
little bit hollow.
And I'm sure,
with his eyes closed
Hitchcock was probably
hearing that.
To my ear, the Casaba
melon sounds more like dry
bony stabbing, as opposed
to wet, gooey stabbing.
The starchiness
and the thickness
probably gives you,
more of that viscera
the crunchiness
or the...
- Viscera.
- Viscera.
Hitchcock also had them
bring a sirloin
a really big
thing of sirloin.
I don't eat meat,
and so I'm nearly nauseous
telling you this but,
uh, in any case
Hitchcock thought that would be
a really great idea.
And they did,
in fact, stab
a big, big,
big slab of steak.
And so that sound
is interspersed with melon.
And the soundman
took it home and had it
for dinner that night.
The stabbing sound
in "Psycho"
is not a Hollywood
sound effect
it is a natural
sound effect
which makes it
all the more horrible.
You could take the
combination of like, an arrow
a literal arrow
or an axe hitting
and you add to that a pipe
in the mud kind of gush
and you add to that some
sort of like, uh, like a leather rip
and you could make
the sound design stab
that would
feel horrible.
Marion turns.
We have three close-ups
increasingly tighter
to the point that now
we're looking at nothing
but her open mouth.
The three quick cuts
which makes me
happy to be an editor.
I've seen some of Saul Bass'
boards and you'll see
cut one and cut three
but the idea of drawing
the three together
really feels like something
that's, uh... uh,
kind of a joyful
in feeling your way through things
in the cutting room.
Hitchcock does the thing here that
he does in "The Birds" too
to show something
that's shocking.
An on-axis cut
boom, boom, boom.
It's a psychological
People always think
it's s... something that Hitchcock
came up with, but I actually
always traced it back
to the
original "Frankenstein"
directed by
James Whale in 1931.
In a way it was
the same effect because
they were showing you
something so grotesque
something that you had
never seen before.
People wanted to go to the movie
just to see how shocking it was.
There's something called an American
cut when you're editing, which is
just like jump cutting into a close-up
from a wide shot.
And I know whenever I do it in a movie
when I'm working with
Sam Raimi, he's
always like, tortured.
He's like, "Why do you
do those stupid cuts?"
And I always go, "It's, uh, it's
an American cut."
And he always says, "That's more like
a C... Canadian cut."
There's something really
visceral about cutting
from a wide shot
jumping into a, a close-up.
Now we have
a lower angle
that is not
a subjective angle
this is not
what Marion sees
but it's maximized
for threat.
There's a lot of defensive shots
that make it look like
she's trying
to fight him off
that makes you feel
that you're there.
We've jumped
the stage line here
which is another
disorienting thing.
In violence, and in love,
it's actually good
to cross the stageline
because it gives you that
subjective sense of a kind of
d... dizzy delirium.
You see Norman's hand
with the knife come laterally
across and
break the lines.
It's so great because
it's violating the purity.
The water is going
in the opposite direction
of the knife, so there's
all these great angles
that are again, like, German
expressionist cinema
that Hitchcock
had been exposed to
in the early '20's when he first
started his career.
This overhead shot, it's like the
whole shot is out of focus.
And, you know,
they used it anyway.
I can imagine sitting in with
studio executives now
and them saying, "Oh, you know,
you've got this one shot
"that's so out of focus,
we really didn't need to take
that shot out
of the edit."
But thank goodness
they left it in
because it's such
a great shot.
The knife is already
through the frame
before we, the audience,
are really able to lock onto
what we're looking at.
Our face
gravitates to Marion
and then to the negative
space to see where did the knife go?
They force the audience
to fill in the blank.
Her right to left
movement carries us
right to the cut and
right where her face is
there's the knife.
That knife never makes
connection with her
but in my mind
I see him stabbing her.
It's crazy.
Hitchcock is going
in 360 degrees.
All of these things that
you're not supposed to do
in narrative storytelling,
he's doing to give you
this feeling of
complete disorientation.
Every time we cut back
to Norman's form
we're grounded again.
Back to Norman, but now
we're slightly tighter.
Cut to Marion,
we are tighter.
Norman, tighter.
And then, in the intersecting
water over and over again
to the shot,
the one shot
that convinces me as
a viewer
that Marion
has been stabbed.
The knife never connects
with the skin
but what about
this shot here?
I'm telling you, folks,
that is penetration.
Hitchcock got away with,
uh, showing
my belly button on film.
All the beach towel movies, you know,
with Annette Funicello
they had bikinis, but they
had to have them up
over their belly button.
He explained to me
that he, he says
"Paramount Special Effects
Department made
"for me a torso
of rubber.
"You plunge the knife in,
blood would spurt out.
"Oh, it was wonderful.
I didn't use it at all."
"You didn't use it at all?"
"No, no, no.
The knife never
touches the body."
Goes back to Eisenstein
and the whole idea
of editing,
uh, cutting.
He didn't want a
plastic knife or anything.
He use the knife.
He had marks on there like
blood, and he pressed it
against my stomach
and then pulled it out.
And then, in the film
they reversed it
showing it going in.
Hitchcock, I think,
it's safe to say
spent an entire career
thumbing his nose at the censors.
The last shot of "North by
Northwest" is a, is a train
entering a tunnel, like a very
unsubtle sexual metaphor
and then we pick that up with
a post coitus in "Psycho."
Wow. That's interesting.
You know, the Production
Code Administration
still mattered
at that time.
And then in trying to get
the movie approved
by the Legion
of Decency.
If either one of those
had been a problem
as far as the production and
distribution of "Psycho"
it would not have been
the phenomenon that it was.
There was a little
negotiation going on.
He said, "I'll reshoot
the beginning.
You... you can come
and watch me shoot it."
They never showed up.
All he did was
tell the whole crew
we're gonna just
send the scene back.
We're not gonna cut
one frame from it, and he didn't.
He just kept basically
telling them, you're prudes
and you're actually
horn dog prudes
because you're seeing
something that isn't there.
So everything stayed
in the way he wanted it.
He got away with it.
You contrast Hitchcock
making a disturbing,
shocking movie
that revolves
around sex and violence.
and a deeply
disturbed protagonist
with a movie that came out
the very same year
within a few months of it,
like Michael Powell's "Peeping Tom."
That movie, a lot of people see
as having ruined
Michael Powell's
You know, Val Lewton, who these
guys know I'm obsessed with
but you know, he was the master of,
you saw nothing, ever.
There's no cat
in "Cat People."
Right. Right, right,
There's no cat people
in "Cat People."
There's shadows.
There's some shadows.
Every one
of his films was
the title promised something that
you never actually saw.
You never, there's no leopard man
in "Leopard Man."
And the most chilling murder in all
of Val Lewton's canon
takes place on the other
side of a closed door
from the perspective
of a mother
who is hearing her
daughter get slaughtered.
And you just see the blood
seep in under the crack in the door.
You n... you never
see it, you never see it at all.
And that seems to me
like the roots of the shower scene.
- Totally.
- I would like to throw one in there.
Uh, like,
one film into the mix
which has one particular
mind-blowing scene
which I would call horror,
and that's "Irreversible."
And here's the thing
about that rape scene.
It's like, it's, i... it, what
is it like, 15 minutes long?
It's something, and they don't
really show anything.
There's no nudity,
there's no nothing.
It's just one shot
that lingers.
The rape scene
in "Irreversible"
and the shower scene
in "Psycho"
are exact inverses.
The shower scene
is incredibly close..
...and frenetic.
And the rape scene
in "Irreversible"
is incredibly distant
and still.
The shots of the mother
are out of focus
the focus is on the water,
not the mother.
You could argue that this is
Marion's subjective
point of view that she
doesn't see who it is clearly
she's so confused.
Very quick cutting here,
on the average
one shot every three-quarters of a
second, 18 frames.
And the audience in 1960
would be having
um, they would be
seeing something
in a way that they were
not used to seeing it.
I was always surprised
that they got away with this.
Just the amount of like,
naked breast
that they were
able to show.
It had to be done
So it was done with
little pieces of film.
The head,
the feet, the hand.
Parts of the torso.
The shot of her feet
is the very first cut of blood
that we've had
in this entire piece.
The blood starts to spatter
into the water rather than flow.
You know, you see
spots hitting like a dark rain
and then it just is absorbed
by the water and it spreads out
in a very kind of haunting,
haunting way.
My mom loves
to tell me that
"Oh, you know that,
uh, the blood going down the drain
in "Psycho" is chocolate syrup, right?
- Chocolate syrup. Yeah.
So, is anyone in this
room going to tell us
that that's not
actually chocolate syrup?
They had a can
of Hershey's syrup
which was watered down
and that's what
they used for blood.
But they had to dribble it
around me and on me.
I deliberately made the
film in black and white
because I knew that
if it has been in color
uh, the draining away of blood
would have been too repulsive.
The knife comes through
and even though it's just
swinging through frame
my brain is telling me
she's just gotten stabbed
squarely in the back.
And then,
to the sneaky cut
that Tomasini
has put into the film.
Starting here with her hand out
of focus at the front
it's going
towards the wall.
Your eyes
are super confused here
because you're looking
at a negative space
a... and just
the wall tile.
Her hand starts
to come in and instantly
there's a jump cut.
If you watch
that at full speed
itjust looks
like, bam.
It ends up making it feel like she's
slamming against the wall.
His exit
is also tremendous
that quick move,
without looking back.
He doesn't even stand there to
make sure she's dead. He leaves.
It's almost like a time cut, where he's
already out the door.
And I think part of it is, they were
really trying to hide
you know, who it was.
And they were tired
of showing that lame shot
where his head looked
like a mushroom.
The shot of the hand,
it looks like a starfish
against the wall.
It's just a hand, the least important
part of her body
right now after she's been
hacked to death.
And you see the life ebbing
out of her body through her hand.
So, the scene becomes
all about her hands, if you watch it.
Hand. And then, hand.
And you watch it go.
Trying to grab onto something.
Hand going down the wall.
She turns around,
where's her hand?
You know, that's kind of the,
that's the big question.
And if you actually watch
the opening scene of "Jurassic Park"
it's the same thing,
it's, you know
it doesn't matter
that... that guy
that got eaten
by the velociraptor
you barely
see his face.
But what's important,
and you watch is
he's grabbing
onto his hand.
Hand reaches out.
Hands touching
the thing.
And I think that's part of the ways
that he kind of is able to
bring the audience
into her death
rather than just, watching her,
watching her die.
Now she's begging for her life,
trying to hold herself up.
The way that her hair leaves
like a trail behind her
it follows her down..
I mean, it's an
incredibly haunting image.
And it's a wall.
You know,
you had depth before
and now she's just flat
against nothingness.
Nobody did this before.
Deaths were quick
in movies.
And although actors
loved to make the most of them
this is so obviously
directed in such a way.
You know, in "Torn Curtain,"
there's this endless scene
of trying
to kill someone.
It's not bloody
but it's graphic.
Even "Frenzy"
is fairly graphic
uh, compared
to "Psycho."
But "Psycho" has the
effect of being graphic
much like "Texas Chainsaw
Massacre" later was.
I love how slow it is,
how much time it takes.
There's all this negative
space on the left hand side.
This is
absolutely intentional.
is mirroring the shot
at the beginning
of the sequence
where Marion
is showering
in exactly the right hand
side of the frame.
It is the book end that
makes the shower scene.
My favorite cut is the hand coming
around onto the curtain
and it's all of a sudden
from the staccato rhythms
you end up with this
really fluid shot
that has a sort of almost, kind of,
poetic and sad quality to it.
She's dying and
there's a softness to it
and it makes it
just instantly emotional.
It's really,
really a great cut.
It's... it's one of the
best cuts I've ever seen.
You can just
barely see the outline
of my breast in that shot.
That's my hand.
And you can tell the difference
on my knuckles there.
The, uh, ring finger
is disfigured a bit.
The nail is darker
than a regular
When I was three years old,
I... I reached down to help my
brother on a,
uh, lawn mower
push lawn mower and,
pssh, cut it off.
This is he shot that, uh,
Cecil B. DeMille actually did first
in "The Ten
where Sally Lung
pulls down on the curtain.
This shot, the... the down shot, she
just feels so vulnerable
like a,
like a dying animal.
It's just such a, again,
such a bold shot
because s... so much like,
nudity is revealed.
There is a shot
in the shower scene
that was never used
that is one of the most
heartbreaking shots
I've ever seen.
Anne Heche, she was definitely
willing to do stuff.
That one shot at the end, where
she's slumped over
that was the shot that
Hitchcock could not use.
But it was storyboarded.
There were objections
to using that
and perhaps, Hitch felt
that it wasn't
really necessary anyway.
Then we return to
the motif
of the showerhead
the impassive eye,
which has just watched
this horrible
thing happen.
This shot of the showerhead at the
beginning of the scene
was one of joy, she was
going to get a new start.
And now that same water
is washing away
the evidence of her
existence and the murder.
The water keeps running
and the blood flows
but the heart
is stopping.
It's just such an amazing
image to see her life
flowing down the drain.
You know,
what a metaphor that is.
And then switches
to the eye, right?
Aw, come on.
That's so good.
I wonder how long this
shot is, how long she had to hold.
To get her eye to stay..
Just to make sure
that her eye didn't twitch.
You can t... you can
see a tiny bit, I mean..
Oh, my God,
that's incredible.
The pointless s... spiraling
of the universe
and the way that everything is
ultimately drawn down
the plughole
towards oblivion
towards meaningless
I think to some extent we are
looking at Hitchcock's fears
as well
as his obsessions.
You see it in "Barton Fink," you see
it in so many movies.
And you're like, why is he
going inside the drain?
Why is he going inside,
are we going to go inside?
That is the moment
of "Psycho"
where everything
This was made by
an auteur filmmaker
and that is
a very personal stamp.
It's a rupture
in the movie
but the movie
never achieves
this kind
of poetry again.
And you begin
to realize that
"Oh, this was
what really
mattered most
to Hitchcock."
Tomasini has done
a clockwise turn optically
which then
right about here
hooks back up
to the 24 frame footage.
I'm just amazed
that they were able to get that clean.
Usually, when you do
an optical, it's pretty grainy.
But it looks so smooth
and so beautiful.
It's surprising
an... an... and seamless
from where they go
to live action.
It's I... like, one of
the greatest opticals
in the history
of movies.
It's also kind of like
what the title sequence
is doing in "Vertigo."
It's a theme that
runs through this film
and then later on,
of course
it's not style
just for style's sake.
It's... it's
got content.
The cameras were huge
and very difficult
to manipulate.
You can actually
see pictures
of Hitchcock
behind a Mitchell
and you get a sense
of what it was like
riding on that carriage
behind that huge
locomotive of a camera.
Whereas today,
it's a snap.
You just do it like
Gus Van Sant.
In the remake,
he did it all live action.
The pullback
from her eye
was a whole
robotic camera move.
I seriously followed
the original film
shot by shot.
I was able to cut it
exactly like the original
and we watched it
and it was weird
and it didn't work.
I said, "Well, Gus, you know,
come over, watch the scene."
I said, "I have
a few reservations
"over like,
how it's playing right now
and it doesn't feel like
the shower scene yet."
We went in
and tried to make it
a little more
Gus Van Sant-y.
To duplicate something,
as iconic
as the shower scene
I really think it was just,
it wasn't going to work.
It just didn't
and it just didn't.
I always love the placement
of those drops of water
they're like tears.
Right at the end, there's
a little flicker in her eye
little highlight
in her eye.
Yeah, and you can see
her eye move.
There's a tight, slight
blink of the eye there.
Hitchcock almost
lingers in this
post-mortem moment.
This is what happens
after you die
and no one turns off
the water.
Hitch had a little
snap of the finger
to let Janet know
when the camera had passed
and was going to pan
into the room.
It, it took
a lot of takes.
I could feel
the moleskin
pulling away
from my top part.
And so, I could
feel this..
It was just kind of
like going..
And I thought,
"You know what?
"I don't want to do
this damn thing again.
I really don't want to."
And there are all the guys
on the scaffolding.
And I said, "I don't, I'm not going
to be modest," you know.
Let 'em look.
Why would you cut
to the shower there?
I don't think
the reason has
anything to do
with artistic decision.
It's... it's the solution
to some problem that he had.
After my grandfather
filmed "Psycho"
it had been shown
to all the executives.
The last person he showed it
to was my grandmother
and they were sitting
in the screening room
and he's panning out and she looks at
my grandfather and says
"Hitch, you can't
release this."
And he said, "Why not?"
And she goes, "Janet Leigh
took a breath."
They couldn't reshoot it,
Janet was gone.
Uh, they didn't
have the budget.
So they simply cut back to the
showerhead spewing water.
And then,
that cynical camera move.
She made her moral decision and
this is what it got her.
There's an image
of the uncaring universe
if you want one.
And you see the headline there,
I... i... it
is not okay.
Nothing is okay.
He always comes back
to his McGuffin
which is the $40,000.
Then he throws the newspaper
into the quagmire.
It goes down
with the car.
And the audience says,
that's j... the
the... the,
that's the money
that we thought was
important in this story.
It's totally
This is the one other
thing in the movie
that always tortured me.
The greatest scene
in movie history
ends on a sour note
with a bad ADR line
that has been the doom
of so many movies.
Here comes Norman
just wondering
what happened
and oh, my,
he can't believe it.
Another murder at the motel.
How did that happen?
It's an extraordinary
It's a crucial piece
of the filmmaking
to sort of let the consequence
of it actually land.
It's not about getting
the bloodstains out of the tub.
It's about this
laborious process
that this unbearably
damaged soul
needs to work through.
It demands not just that
we watch as we watched
the murder
of Marion Crane
but we're also
voyeurs to
the horror
of Norman's world.
For me,
the cleanup represents
Alfred Hitchcock's
sense of orderliness
sense of, I wasn't sexually
aroused by this woman
and I'm just
going to pretend
that this unhappy episode
just didn't even occur.
I think that cleaning
always represents
sexual guilt.
You care
about this guy.
And I know it sounds
crazy, but you do.
You want to know what's
going to happen to him.
You want to know is he
going to be free of this
or is it going
to consume him?
The fact that he is able
to get you to care
is one of the miracles
of the movie.
"Psycho" obviously
has influence
on a whole
host of movies.
"Psycho" is the mother
of the slasher genre.
The shower scene is really
the first, um, fully sexualized
on-screen, um,
knife attack.
You have Mario Bava
in Italy
and he's taking the visuals
of the "Psycho" scene.
In Italy, in the '60s
they didn't have
the same censorship laws
Bava takes
the Hitchcock style
and really creates
the Italian Giallo film.
Dario Argento
burst onto the scene
with "Bird with
the Crystal Plumage"
determined to present murder
as a form of fine art
consistently sexualizes
and fetishizes the killings
um, um, tries to present them
as something beautiful
cathartic and almost
orgasmic which happens
again and again
in his work.
Then, of course,
the American films
started imitating
Italian films.
And you get the wave
of slasher films of the '80s kicking off
with John Carpenter's
"Psycho" might have also
really have started
the rather negative trend
of victims undressing
before they're butchered,
which is something
that haunted slasher cinema
throughout the '70s.
Martin Scorsese
talks about
the construction
of the fight
in "Raging Bull,"
with Sugar Ray Robinson.
I literally got
shot-by-shot breakdown
of the shower scene
in "Psycho"
and really got
my original storyboards
for this one sequence
and shot it
in that order.
I don't believe
film influences
the culture in this
way anymore.
When a... a moment of
violence is so suggestive
so new, so unlike
anything we've seen
that it just becomes
part of the cultural
and I think
that's what happened
with the shower scene.
I'm on this TV show
called "Screen Queens."
I've been asked
to get in the shower
and take pictures
I've been asked
to recreate it.
And I've said
"No" every time
because of course, um, this is
my mother's legacy
and it is not mine to,
to play in.
It's her sandbox.
But my mother's been
gone now over 10 years.
And this
is a great show.
And it was
a really respectful
funny, homage.
And so the Red Devil
comes along
he rips open the curtain
but I'm not there.
And that second I come from
behind the bathroom door
attack him and right before I do,
I look at him and go
"I saw that movie like,
50 times!"
I went back to Chicago
shot the, uh,
September 1960 cover.
I worked
at the Playboy Club
until probably October
of that year.
I was one of, uh, the original,
uh, bunnies there.
I never mentioned
The shot
I didn't like was
when, uh, Tony Perkins
pulls me out of the tub
and wraps me in the,
in the shower curtain.
He picks me up to
carry me out to the trunk.
Well, he, he gets me up about,
I don't know, six, nine inches
off the floor
and drops me back down
because he... he wasn't in a position
to pick up a dead weight.
He picks me up,
puts me on his knees and then..
...and that's me.
And that's, uh, out to the car
and that's the end of me.