Psycho (1960)

By Jay Hunter Alfred Hitchcock’s, Psycho is widely regarded (rightly or wrongly) as the most important and influential horror movie of all time. To celebrate the ‘master of suspense”s birthday, we countdown the top 25 things you didn’t know about Psycho.

25. Although Janet Leigh was not bothered by the filming of the famous shower scene, seeing it on film profoundly moved her. She later remarked that it made her realise how vulnerable a woman was in a shower. To the end of her life, she always took baths.

24. Director Alfred Hitchcock originally envisioned the shower sequence as completely silent, but Bernard Herrmann went ahead and scored it anyway, and upon hearing it, Hitchcock immediately changed his mind.

23. Walt Disney refused to allow Alfred Hitchcock to film at Disneyland in the early 1960s because Hitchcock had made “that disgusting movie, ‘Psycho.’

22. Every theatre that showed the film had a cardboard cut-out installed in the lobby of Alfred Hitchcock pointing to his wristwatch with a note from the director saying “The manager of this theatre has been instructed at the risk of his life, not to admit to the theatre any persons after the picture starts. Any spurious attempts to enter by side doors, fire escapes or ventilating shafts will be met by force. The entire objective of this extraordinary policy, of course, is to help you enjoy PSYCHO more. Alfred Hitchcock”

21. One of the reasons Alfred Hitchcock shot the movie in black and white was he thought it would be too gory in colour. But the main reason was that he wanted to make the film as inexpensively as possible (under $1 million). He also wondered if so many bad, inexpensively made, b/w “B” movies did so well at the box office, what would happen if a really good, inexpensively made, b/w movie was made.

20. First American film ever to show a toilet flushing on screen.

19. Alfred Hitchcock deferred his standard $250,000 salary in lieu of 60% of the film’s net profits. His personal earnings from the film exceeded $15 million. Adjusted for inflation, that amount would now top $150 million in 2006 dollars.

18. The Bates house, though moved from its original location, still resides on Universal’s lot. The motel has been replicated. It is a regular stop on the Universal Studios tram tour.

17. Janet Leigh invented a complete backstory for Marion Crane, figuring out what she was like at high school, her favourite colours, etc.

16. This was Alfred Hitchcock’s last film for Paramount. By the time principal photography started, Hitchcock had moved his offices to Universal and the film was actually shot on Universal’s back lot. Universal owns the film today as well, even though the Paramount Pictures logo is still on the film.

15. The strings-only music by Bernard Herrmann is ranked #4 on AFI’s 100 Years of Film Scores.

14. The official trailer for the film back in 1960 ran on for over six minutes and thirty seconds, a feat unheard of in today’s trailers.

13. There are several references to birds in this film : Marion’s surname is Crane, Norman’s hobby is stuffing birds and he states that Marion eats like a bird. Coincidentally Alfred Hitchcock’s next film was The Birds (1963)

12. The highest grossing film of Hitchcock’s career.

11. The movie’s line “A boy’s best friend is his mother.” was voted as the #56 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100).

10. In the murder scene in the shower, there are two split second frames of the knife touching the body

9. Psycho (1960) has been rated and re-rated over the years. From PG, to PG-13 and 15.

8. This was voted the seventh scariest film of all time by Entertainment Weekly.

7. This was Alfred Hitchcock’s last feature film in black and white, filmed November 30 1959-March 1 1960.

6. Ranked #1 on the AFI 100 Years… 100 Thrills film series.

5. In 1992, Psycho (1960) was selected for preservation by The Library of Congress at The National Film Registry.

4. In an interview on The Dick Cavett Show (1968), Alfred Hitchcock said of the shower scene, “…everything was so rapid that there were 78 separate pieces of film in 45 seconds.”

3. Marion’s white 1957 Ford sedan is the same car (owned by Universal) that the Cleaver family drove on Leave It to Beaver (1957).

2. Psycho was first scheduled to air on U.S. network TV in the fall of 1966. Just before it would have aired, however, Valerie Percy, the daughter of then U.S. Senate candidate Charles H. Percy (U.S. Senator, R-Illinois: 1967 – 85), was stabbed to death, apparently by an intruder, in a murder that, as of 2011, remains unsolved. It was deemed prudent, under the circumstances, to postpone the scheduled airing. Ultimately, the film was not shown on U.S. network TV until 1970, following a highly successful theatrical re-release the previous year. At that time, Universal released it on the syndication market, where it quickly became a popular staple on local late night horror film showings.

1. In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked this as the #14 Greatest Movie of All Time.

Source – IMDB

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