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Psycho versus "The Lost Hitchcock Five" Take a Bite... Napping Through Psycho "Psycho" and "The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms" Poignant Anthony Perkins public hosting of Psycho in Brussels -- in 1992, the year of his death Diane Baker and Walter Matthau(SPOILERS) 2020: Psycho Turns 60 "Dolemite is My Name" -- A Sequel to "Ed Wood"? (MINOR SPOILERS) New Autobio By Film Editor Paul Hirsch Has Hitchcock/Herrmann/Psycho Stuff "Just Missed Psycho December" View all posts >


Sidebar on North by Northwest: After playing on the CBS Friday Night Movie twice a year apart in 1967 and 1968 (for big ratings), NXNW got sent out in 1969 for syndication. On the "early show" of movies screened at 6:00 pm, it played IN TWO PARTS on the local ABC channels in Los Angeles and San Francisco; I saw it in both places, both times by sheer luck of vacations. A "one part" version of NXNW went out each year as well, and it always got a broadcast slot of distinction: the Saturday Late Show(full page ad: "Hitchcock's Greatest Thriller"); a Monday night local broadcast that pre-empted the network feed. NXNW in the 70s was easily as big a broadcast favorite as Psycho, but treated less well: as two-parter and, sometimes, with key scenes removed(in one broadcast, all of the scenes with Grant and his mother.) What became clear to me in those broadcast days was that NXNW, made a mere four years after To Catch a Thief, was a much bigger, more epic, and more action-packed production than To Catch a Thief. Hitchcock knew that a quiet low-key romantic thriller like TCAT just wasn't going to cut it with the 60's coming -- NXNW is a much bigger deal. i think there were some OTHER "lost Hitchcocks" in the 70's and early 80s, by the way: I'm wondering if Hitchcock himself made sure that Marnie, Torn Curtain and Topaz didn't get much(any?) TV airplay on local channels. Torn Curtain was on NBC in 1970 and Topaz was on NBC in 1971(less than two years after its release) but...I just don't recall them being shown much on TV thereafter. It was only in the 80s, when VHS got affordable and "the Universal/Hitchcock collection" was released. that people got a chance to see those "lesser" Hitchcock movies, too. Frenzy was a different deal. It was hard-R rated for sex and violence. It got one heavily edited ABC broadcast in 1975 and then -- disappeared. The sanitized ABC version(which turned a rape into a struggle and removed a long strangulation entirely) got a few plays but was such a worthless version of this shocking film that nobody much watched it. Still, Frenzy played in theaters a LOT in the 70's, affixed by Universal as a second feature to such movies as Ulzana's Raid, Breezy, and...Sleuth(from another studio, both written by Anthony Shaffer; a deal was cut between studios to release them together.) In the 70's also, Psycho was sent out as a second feature to Frenzy in late 1972 and Frenzy was attached to Family Plot as a late-run second feature in 1976. One more thing: with Hitchcock hoarding his Paramount movies Rear Window, Harry, and Man 2 in the 70s, and with Psycho now properly a Universal film (it was FILMED at Universal, given Universal sound effects, etc) was up to To Catch a Thief to stand as "the Hitchcock Paramount film of the 70's. It was on ALL the time, and I adopted To Catch a Thief as a Hitchcock favorite largely because it was on so damn much and I learned it, head to toe. (It stands tall for the gorgeous matching of the gorgeous Grant with the gorgeous Kelly on the gorgeous French Riviera, and for the great one liners.) I never quite understood this scene. From the camera shot it appears to be one of the soldiers who killed her, but nobody seems to worry about him. If I were the commander I would be mad if they would shoot my spy before I could interrogate her. --- No, Parra himself did it. There is a close-up on the gun in his hand pointed at her side and then dropping to his waist level. And he did it for mixed reasons. One: to avoid her being subjected to torture("what they will do to this body...this beautiful body"). Two: because she was a traitor to Castro. Three -- because he loved her, but she obviously loved and was bedding the Frenchman Andre, too -- which gave Parra a personal reason for this execution. On the overhead shot of Juanita dying, her purple dress spreading out like blood AND a blossoming flower, Hitch had crewmen pull on strings attached to the dress to make it "blossom." Key: its not a RED dress...that would be too obvious(blood spreading on the floor.) Moreover, Hitchcock carefully directed the physical movements of the actors, showing them where to place their hands, etc. He told a visiting reporter "These are unseasoned actors so they need more specific direction." " Result: a scene with great visual style AND great emotional impact. A couple of years after Topaz came out and failed, Hitchcock was willing to diss his own film, saying that he "didn't care for it" (a revelation: a director could recognize his own failure and admit it), but offering a specific reason why it failed: "All those actors of different nationalities speaking English" wasn't believable, he felt. The characters are French, Russian, Cuban, and American. Still, we went along in those days with English for everybody (in American studio films.) I think Hitch was just looking for an excuse with that assessment, as when he said that Torn Curtain failed because "audiences came expecting Julie Andrews to sing, and when she did not, there was diappoinment." But she hadn't sung in The Americanization of Emily or Hawaii, either. Hitch was canny that way, running a diversion(Andrews didn't sing; all the characters spoke English) to cover up other flaws in his films. That said, I think that both Torn Curtain and Topaz are better than their detractors say; they are Hitchcock, after all. I'm still not sure whether it's 35 mm as it's not advertised as such. 35 mm is warmer, but you're going to get some grain and pop. The 35 mm version is usually advertised. --- It would be interesting to find out which version. As for "grain and pop" well -- amazingly when you think about it -- Psycho IS now 60 years old. I can personally look back now over those years and -- well, I lived a lot of life. Old Psycho is, and yet the DVD version has a very rich sound track(voices and music) and is so 'cleaned up" that it looks like these "50s people" made this movie last week. Happy New Year to you, too, Gubbio! It was interesting to find that while I slept fine through the "quiet scenes' of the movie, each of the remaining two "screeching violins" passages (very loud on my TV) woke me right up. You could use the music as an alarm clock. Which reminded me of that old "Spielberg's Amazing Stories" episode where a teenage boy was such a Psycho fan that he used the shower scene music to wake himself in the morning. SPOILERS I watched this the other night, saw that ending and thought to myself: "The ambiguous ending of The Sopranos -- which I hated -- always reminded me of how a lot of 70's movies ended: without an ending, and usually with a freeze frame(as here). Though the Sopranos cut to black. And now here was a 70's movie that proved my point. So Busting...a 70's movie with a "Sopranos" ending. I know that there are more. ...speaking of the Golden Globes...Hitchcock and his people did better by the Globes than by the Oscars, on at least these occasions: 1960 Janet Leigh WON the Best Supporting Actress Golden Globe, over Shirley Jones "abrupt about-face as a trollop"(Stephen Rebello's immortal phrase) in Elmer Gantry. At the Oscars, the roles were reversed. As I recall, Leigh got the only GG nomination from Psycho. Picture, Director, Actor...all snubbed. I may be wrong. I hope I am. 1972 The triumphant(but sexually violent) comeback of Frenzy got these nominations: Best Picture (Drama) Best Director (Drama) Best Screenplay Best Score ...and Merv Griffin read these nominations aloud to Hitch on his show. Alas Hitch lost in all GG categories and no Oscar noms followed. (Cabaret, a winner in the Musical or Comedy category at the Globes, was one of the movies that pushed Frenzy out of contention at the Oscars -- plus Frenzy's very sick look at rape and murder(not that Hitchcock was FOR it, but he showed it, however stylishly) I think bothered feminists. 1976 Family Plot: Barbara Harris manages a Best Actress nomination -- in the Muscial Comedy category. No Oscar nom was waiting. I checked Psycho and it's going to play for one night in a better classic cinema theater except they want $22 for best seats (also pay for downtown parking). This is the bigger downtown theater. It's variable priced from $10 to $22. --- Its a pricey proposition but c'mon...its Psycho. Its a very different big screen experience, and I think that some critic noted that its "Tbw/TV imagery" blown up to giant size makes for a movie that LOOKS like no other. Arbogast's fall, for instance, is much more dizzying. I think they will be showing a 35 mm print film since they showcase ability to show 35 mm film, so that's a version I haven't seen. I saw a regular HD version and now they have 4K versions of newer films. The sound system has been upgraded as they show concert films, too. Usually, the top theaters such as the Castro theater in San Francisco can have a special event screening and get around $30 for seats. As well it should! It gets more iconic all the time... View all replies >