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It killed off its star after forty minutes There was no happy ending And it offered the most violent scene to date in American film Punctuated by shrieking strings that seared the national consciousness nothing like Psycho had existed before It was the biggest hit of Alfred Hitchcock's career and propelled him to new levels of international fame never before had audiences been so aware of the role of the director in film making The movie industry even America itself would never be the sameIn The Moment of Psycho film critic David Thomson situates Psycho in Alfred Hitchcock's career recreating the mood and time when the seminal film erupted onto film screens worldwide Drawing on his encyclopaedic knowledge of Hollywood Thomson shows how in 1959 Hitchcock then sixty years old made Psycho as an attempt to break personally with the dullness of his own settled domesticity a struggle which mirrored the sexual creative and political ferment that soon overtook the nation Psycho was not just a sensation in film it altered the very nature of our desires Sex violence and horror took on new life Psycho all of a sudden represented all America wanted from a film and as The Moment of Psycho brilliantly demonstrates still does


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KmPIhl$TQ 2҆ssUyIѶ#q(am㴳/!GX==3ެi;WaنBOI'0U1 NCIpeG(>FW1ļ oϖ<@ 0h $8j|t#pc%1 A!0q@Q@B@QEQ#|MzT԰eּ2|2BfMaUsKȐ(QeUS%V" class="avatar avatar-100 photo amp-wp-enforced-sizes" height="100" width="100" layout="intrinsic"> says:

    It's not like my mother is a maniac or a raving thing She just goes a little mad sometimes We all go a little mad sometimes Haven't you? Norman Bates Psycho 1960 Note the following review contains spoilers for the films Psycho Carrie and Friday the 13thI've had this slim volume by film critic David Thomson on my currently reading shelf for months and it was high time to finish it or abandon it I finished itbarely Psycho is one of my favorite movies for a thousand reasons including all of the fascinating stories that surround the mythology of how it was shot Hitchcock's battle with Hollywood censors his genius marketing plan and the film's subsequent shell shocking and titillation of 1960 movie audiences So when a book like this promises to show me the moment of Psycho and how its director taught America to love murder I'm there The only thing that rivals talking about the movie itself for me is talking about the cultural Zeitgeist in which it was made and received Thomson's thesis in an ambitious and exciting one His book on the other hand is a wishy washy example of intellectual masturbation that goes nowhere and proves nothing Dare I say he comes off as an idiot quite frankly full of sound and fury in a treatise absent of any real meaning or value He has added zero new to the debate on Hitchcock's films or Psycho in particular This slim volume is less than 200 pages long and reads like a series of short essays for somebody's film blog rather than a serious book by a world renowned film critic The first fifty pages are literally almost a scene by scene recitation of the entire movie with no analysis or context What is the point of this exercise??? It strikes me as so self indulgent in a short work that has a big thesis to prove Thomson is also very obsessed with the first 40 minutes of the film right up to the infamous shower scene Post Marion's murder for him the movie unravels and pales in comparison to the first half For me Psycho works as an organic whole a symphony of screeching violins and Hitchcock's masterful sleight of hand Hitchcock wants us positioned just so on the rug for maximum effect when he pulls it out from underneath us This requires the effort of the entire movie not merely the first 40 minutes no matter how well set up In fact one of my favorite moments in the film comes after the shower scene when Norman performs his frantic largely silent clean up that features the slow sinking of Marion's car into the dark swamp I love that moment when the car pauses and stops sinking We're surprised to discover that we want Norman to succeed in the cover up We feel bad for him with his lonely life and his crazy mother Now with Marion out of the picture he has become the character who we identify with the most We are being manipulated for the big reveal It's crucial the audience feels something for Norman and while the first 40 minutes are critical to assess the rest of the film as weak and untethered is unimaginable to meOne of the most interesting aspects of Psycho is how it was marketed Hitchcock's lengthy teaser trailer was unheard of at the time as was his explicit directive that no audience member be allowed into the movie once it had begun Studio exec Lew Wasserman argued for big simultaneous openings in LA and New York quickly followed by the widest possible release also unheard of at the time It's interesting to note that it would be Wasserman some 15 years later who would finally succeed in his bid for nationwide release with Jaws the first ever summer blockbuster that opened simultaneously in 400 theaters None of this interests Thomson however and his discussion of these matters takes up a measly utterly disappointing five pagesThe chapter I was most keen to read is entitled Other Bodies in the Swamp great title Here Thomson's thesis is to examine the spreading influence Psycho exerted on other films especially in the treatment of sex and violence It's territory that's been trampled to death for if you look hard enough you can see the long reach of Hitchcock just about everywhere in film But here is a seasoned film critic who specifically wants to single out Psycho and measure its long shadow over contemporary movie making I can get on board with that This is the weakest and most pathetic chapter second only to the weirdly included Kerouacian chapter on driving America's highways and stopping at small motels along the way Thomson's analyses of the films he selects are ridiculously superficial not to mention rife with spoilers which should always come with a warning He includes John Carpenter's Halloween 1978 when Sean S Cunningham's Friday the 13th 1980 is Psycho in reverse it's not the son who is doing all the killing it's the mom He also tries to make a case for Kubrick's The Shining 1980 when anyone with a lick of sense knows it's DePalma's Carrie 1976 that has Psycho all over it from the opening shower scene the cheekily named Bates High School the crazy overbearing mother and Psycho's four note violin theme making repeated appearances Where we really see Hitchcock's influence on DePalma's film making style at work is in the treatment of voyeurism Hitchcock was all about voyeurism not just for his characters but for his audience What are you doing when you go to a movie? You are engaging in the ultimate act of voyeurism In Psycho we spy on Norman spying on Marion through a hole in the wall In Carrie we spy on Chris and Billy as they hide under the stage and wait for the perfect moment to drop the bucket of pig's blood We watch Sue Snell's expression as she traces the rope to its final destination Her eyes become our eyes just as our eyes became Norman's during his spying of Marion It's a shifting of guilt and a kind of audience culpability that Hitchcock mastered This is such a lame excuse for a book that I'm embarrassed for it I cannot speak for the author's other works I'm sure his sizable reputation in the field contributed to this grocery list being published in the first place It should not have been It is a waste of paper and the reader's time It doesn't even come close to proving that Alfred Hitchcock taught America to love murder nor does it even try to Save your time and your money Watch the movie instead You and your friends will come up with way interesting things to say about it than this guy does here