Psycho

USA 1960. Dir: Alfred Hitchcock. 109 min. DCP

Hitchcock’s monochrome masterwork, a blistering exercise in morbid, mind-blowingly manipulative horror, was a rude shock after years of suave, sophisticated, highly-polished colour thrillers from the Master of Suspense. Janet Leigh is Phoenix secretary Marion Crane, absconding with a small fortune of her employer’s money. Anthony Perkins is nervous Norman Bates, proprietor of the motel where Miss Crane makes the unfortunate mistake of stopping for the night. Psycho’s iconic shower scene is one of cinema’s great montage sequences (and is now the subject of a new feature documentary, 78/52, also screening this week at The Cinematheque). The movie, made on the cheap with the crew from Hitchcock’s TV series, has a technical brilliance that belies its modest means. The director’s subversive disruption of conventional audience identification, his stimulus/response control of our reactions and implicit indictment of our voyeurism, remains startling. “The most morally unsettling film ever made” (Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader).

See Psycho in a double bill with 78/52 January 5-6, 11


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REVIEWS

“Hitchcock is the most-daring avant-garde film-maker in America today … The first American movie since Touch of Evil to stand in the same creative rank as the great European films.”

Village Voice | full review

“Immortal … No other Hitchcock film had a greater impact.”

Roger Ebert | full review