We know that something isn't right, but the problem isn't with the car lot; it's Marion's plight casts a dark shadow over all her scenes there, despite the brightest sunlight imaginable. The motel is managed by a quiet young man called Norman who seems to be dominated by his mother. Tired after the long drive and caught in a storm, she gets off the main highway and pulls into The Bates Motel. Hitchcock does not disappoint by leaving out his trademark dark humor. Most especially, there's Anthony Perkins, who plays motel clerk Norman Bates in a very oddly naturalistic way, complete with facial tics and half-swallowed words, not the polished image one expected to see then. You will not regret it. I was lucky enough to have spent my life wisely avoiding any conversation regarding the plot of this movie until I was able to see it in full.
This is made obvious by the initial conversation between Leigh's character and Perkins, a pivotal scene. Even the opening shot, where the camera looks over a Western U. One of the few memorable cinematic killers that does not adhere to these restraints and cliches is, of course, Anthony Hopkins' Hannibal Lecter, whom manages to effectively cause the audience to recoil without such drek as the aforementioned devices. Poor John Gavin had to quit the biz entirely, and became an ambassador. It's hard to find anything wrong with Psycho.
Phoenix officeworker Marion Crane is fed up with the way life has treated her. She has to meet her lover Sam in lunch breaks and they cannot get married because Sam has to give most of his money away in alimony. He shines in bigger scenes, too, like his tense chat with Martin Balsam's boorish but diligent private detective character, Arbogast, who along with Perkins and Leigh delivers a landmark performance. I was fortunate enough to see this movie at a big oldtime movie house during a Hitchcock revival. The result is a mini-comedy of manners; but it is also good exposition, as we learn of Mrs. Marion and the motorcycle cop.
Watch this made for cable movie if you want to know the whole story. So important that you totally forget about anything else. I envy those who experienced Psycho in 1960 in the theaters. The cop is dark and sinister in appearance, due mostly to the bright desert sun, and never takes off his sunglasses. Anthony Perkins in his last moments and remaining years gives his last performance as Norman Bates. He puts a maximum of 4oz into the ice-tea. » This last sequel is actually a prequel.
Perhaps the only imperfection I can find with Psycho is the inability to stand the test of time. There isn't a false note,--or a missed one--as each vocal inflection and raised eyebrow carries great meaning even if, on the surface, not much appears to be happening. Janet Leigh as the beautiful Marion Crane, Vera Miles as the concerned sister, Lila Crane, and of course the unforgettable performance from Anthony Perkins as the eerie yet charismatic Norman Bates. The crucial chemistry in this scene lacking in the remake gives everything away and mars our understanding of upcoming events. So much has been written about this film that all I can do is add my own voice of approval and say that I consider it to be a masterpiece, and add a few things often overlooked or not commented on that add so much to the movie's cumulative power. Thrilling, too, to realize this is one of his most accomplished products; made by a man who was experienced enough to know how the game was played, and daring enough still to break the rules; indeed, start a whole new ballgame.
Once Marion and Norman settle down for a light meal in the parlor their conversation turns to general things, and Norman is a good observer, if a bit awkward socially. He senses that she is being watched by the cop; but he also wants to make a sale. The way both actors play out the awkwardness in their conversation makes you literally sweat. Most modern-day horror films make the killer to be an absolutely inhuman, grotesque, unimaginable monster in order to scare the audience out of its wits. The domestic conflict is well-known. The brilliance of Perkins in the original shines even brighter when compared with the ruination in the remake even though the words and the shots were exactly the same. I won't even go into to how incredible the cinematography is.
Norman Bates returns for this prequel, once more having mommy trouble. Aside from this though, the movie is flawless. His brilliance is in making a climax that is at once both scary and hilarious. Yes, one can put people like Norman under the microscope, and even dissect what one sees, but this doesn't stop such events as unfolded in the movie any less likely to occur. The movie has arguably the best mid-plot point and climactic twist in thriller history, and certainly the best-directed ending. I would especially recommend this movie to any horror movie fan not desensitized by Friday The 13th, Nightmare On Elm Street, or Scream. Every camera angle and line of dialogue in this scene has meaning and carries enormous weight, and yet the drama plays out in a light, relaxed mode, and the performers seems truly connected to one another at its conclusion, strangers no more.
Only when one looks beneath the surface does one see the teeming millions of small things,--gestures, glances, sudden changes in lighting, razor-sharp editing, and all above the refusal on the part of the director to let any one factor dominate--that we understand the meaning of the word genius, the meaning of the word creative. One of the reasons the shower scene has become so notorious is that it's not only filmed to perfection, but because the elements of sexuality and murder are so surreal. The handling of every nuance is prodigal and masterful, and the end result nothing less than staggering. One thing I think people seem to forget about the movie is the incredible soundtrack. The stakes feel very high in this sparring match, and though Norman wins on a technicality, we know that Arbogast is coming back for more.
Most of the time, however, these stereotypes create a generic murderer a raving, ranting, clearly demented psychopath. Perkin's fine performance, a tight script, and Bernstein's classic score make Psycho a film that is now and will always be remembered as one of the pinnacles of the horror genre. Marion is, alas, a bad actress, and the cop sees through this, if not to the heart of the matter, yet we don't want him to follow her. The movie is perfectly casted as well. John Anderson is wonderful as the fast-talking, semi-streetwise small town used car salesman. Norman Rockwell touches abound, like the decor of the motel, but look at what's going on around it. His analysis of Norman's pathology is cogent and extremely well delivered.