I had a strong urge to do a Throwback because it seems like forever since I last did one. So this week we’re going back a way to take a look into one of the greatest masters of suspense Alfred Hitchcock and one of his most famed works Psycho.
Marion Crane, played by Janet Leigh (The Fog, Two is a Happy Number, Wives and Lovers) is desperate to get out of town and get her happily ever after with her lover Sam Loomis played by John Gavin (Jennifer, Back Street, Convoy *Series). The only thing standing in her way is money and the lack of it. So when her employer gets a boastful but wealthy client who practically dangles his fortune of forty thousand dollars in front of the lovely Ms. Crane well…how’s a girl to resist? On a whim, she steals the money and makes a run for it taking a long drive from Phoenix to Los Angeles to meet up with Sam. But she never makes it there.
Stopping in on a stormy night at the Bate’s Motel Marion meets Norman Bates; Anthony Perkins (Catch-22, Psycho II, The Lonely Man) a sweet young man who informs her they have twelve rooms and twelve vacancies and lucky her she gets room number one. A quiet chat between the two quickly takes a turn for the strange and when Marion excuses herself to settle down for the night a simple shower turns very deadly. This is where the story takes a turn transferring to a very worried Lila Crane; Vera Miles (One Little Indian, The Man from U.N.C.L.E *Series, 5 Branded Women) the older sister of Marion. Unable to understand why her sister would suddenly disappear doesn’t settle well with Lila. She confronts Sam, who is just as baffled as she is and they are both then introduced to Milton Arbogast; Martin Balasm (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, 12 Angry Men, The Good Guys and The Bad Guys) a private eye who’s been hired by Marion’s employer to find the girl and have her return the money. Together the three track down Marion’s last whereabouts to discover the horrible fate that befell the poor girl, find her killer and in doing so open up a disturbing secret behind Norman, his Mother and the Bate’s Motel.
Alfred Hitchcock is best known for his mastery in suspense and Psycho is definitely the movie to prove that. The movie was a pioneer for special effects in editing and the quality really shows here. Janet and Anthony have a great chemistry together as predator and victim and I really enjoy the scene where they have dinner together. There’s something just so unsettling about the whole thing, the atmosphere and the uncomfortable feeling that they portray onto the audience is something to admire. This is why Anthony will forever hold the medal for his creepy and sinister role as Norman Bates. His last scene gives me chills! The second half of the movie with Marion’s sister and lover are just as gripping the closer they get to finding the truth. The acting, at times, can be a little over dramatic, but it’s not a constant and it hardly takes away from the movie.
Rated R for violence and partial nudity.
Rotten Tomatoes has this fantastic throwback at a 96% fresh. That just gave me a satisfying feeling that all is right with the world.
Released early September of 1960 Psycho still holds the record as the greatest thriller in cinematic history. There’s a very good reason for that. So now I’m addicted to all Hitchcock movies, including his show, which have some pretty good short thrillers. I’ll enjoy finding more of his work and I thoroughly encourage you to check this movie out. It’ll make you think twice before checking into that motel that’s hidden away from the highway.