One of Alfred Hitchcock's latter masterpieces, and how he loved playing with his audience with this one - more than he usually did!
Containing the most famous shower scene in movie history, the impact of it was, as has been said, because of the combination of beauty and ugliness. There's the beautiful Janet Leigh as Marion Crane taking a shower, which is then interrupted by the gory ugliness of Norman Bates's frenzied attack. The scene came not even halfway through the movie, and the sound of knife ripping into flesh is uncomfortably realistic.
Miss Leigh is no angel however, as she had taken $40,000 from the bank where she worked, in Phoenix, Arizona, and takes flight. You fear for her when she ends up at the Bates Motel - it looks so creepy, you just expect something bad to happen there (the tower part of the house was taken from a building used for James Stewart's gentler film, 'Harvey', from ten years earlier!).
Anthony Perkins is inspired as the brooding, philosophising monster, Bates, though he seems a pleasant, helpful young man to begin with, but he turns. Ms. Crane mentions something about his mother which he takes offence with. Norman's most telling comment in the whole film is when he says: "A boy's best friend is his mother." But he then becomes pleasant again, but is faking it...
Martin Balsam, as Milton Arbogast, is asked to investigate Marion's disappearance. He interrogates a nervy Bates, but he too, will wish he hadn't visited the Bates Motel.
Vera Miles play Ms. Crane's sister, Lila, and John Gavin is Marion's concerned boyfriend, Sam Loomis. The two of them pay a visit to the Bates Motel, pretending to be husband and wife, to get to the bottom of things regarding Marion's disappearance, and get a few unexpected shocks from Bates and his mother...The ending of the film is dark and disturbing. Even now it seems shocking, which is some achievement considering the dark and gruesome nature of a lot of modern movies.
This film, surprisingly, won no Oscars, though there were nominations for Hitchcock as Best Director (he also produced the film); Janet Leigh as Best Supporting Actress; Best Cinematography: John L. Russell; Best Art Direction/Set Decoration: Joseph Hurley, Robert Clatworthy, George Milo. The music of Bernard Herrman, with its short, harsh chords, was a very important part in creating the feeling of menace in 'Psycho', yet wasn't even nominated!
- Paul Rance/booksmusicfilmstv.com.
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Psycho Main Cast List
Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates
Janet Leigh as Marion Crane
Vera Miles as Lila Crane
John Gavin as Sam Loomis
Martin Balsam as Detective Milton Arbogast
John McIntire as Sheriff Al Chambers
Simon Oakland as Dr. Fred Richmond
Vaughn Taylor as George Lowery
Frank Albertson as Tom Cassidy
Lurene Tuttle as Eliza Chambers
Patricia Hitchcock as Caroline (as Pat Hitchcock)
John Anderson as Charlie
Mort Mills as Highway Patrol Officer
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock