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Legacy Review

Psycho (1960)

Calling a film “perfect” is tossed around a bit freely by movie fans (myself included), but the first half of Psycho really is perfect. Sixty-plus years later, and I was still white-knuckle clenching my fist until that blood ran down the drain.

The second half is also brilliant — if not quite so breathless, except for a few heart-pounding stretches like Lila’s search of the Bates house. Some of the shots are iconic, like Arbogast’s murder and Norman’s appearance in the fruit cellar.

I’m not the first to note that the film’s coda is let-down for the rest of the film. The psychoanalyst’s babble tells us what we’ve already deduced and is a waste of screentime — even a slight blemish on a film that’s otherwise a masterpiece. (I wouldn’t trade Anthony Perkins’s last smile for the world, though.)

Is It Good?

Masterpiece: Tour De Good (8/8)

Note: This review was originally published elsewhere. Please excuse brevity or inconsistencies in style. If you have questions or feedback, please leave a comment or contact me.

2 replies on “Psycho (1960)”

I read somewhere that the lack of commercial success for Vertigo led Hitchcock to be more explicit in spelling things out in this one, hence the terrible psychiatrist scene. Don’t know if that’s true or not, but it does make me very grateful that Vertigo has no such hand-holding.

Anthony Perkins wasn’t even nominated for an Oscar here. Mind-boggling. And Hitchcock and Janet Leigh were, so it’s not like the Academy just considered this to be popcorn fluff and ignored it. Why do the Oscars always have to be so goofy?

The Academy is particularly anti-Hitchcock from what I can recall. I don’t know if Perkins’ barely-closeted homosexuality made honoring him a taboo. But yeah, it’s ridiculous.

Full disclosure: Never seen Vertigo. I’ve seen a handful of Hitchcocks but still have some major gaps. Rear Window, too.

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