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Psycho (1960) Poster

(1960)

Goofs

Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

There are persistent reports that Marion swallows after she is dead. The story originated in a newspaper article in 1973, but has been misremembered and misreported by subsequent generations of goof fans. The original story said that Alfred Hitchcock's wife, Alma Reville, spotted the post-death breath shortly before the film was released and told her husband in time for a correction to be made. According to Janet Leigh, it wasn't a breath at all, but a blink, and it was, indeed, edited out. However, watching the shower scene on the Collectors Edition (ISBN 0783225849) appears to confirm that while Leigh does not actually blink, there is a very slight twitch of the eye that can be spotted by watching the reflection of light. Also, Leigh does indeed appear to have a contraction in the throat at the very beginning of the shot, visible in the upper left of the frame; not an obvious gulp or swallow as has been reported.
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This goof item contains spoilers. Click to view

Audio/visual unsynchronised 

When Norman first meets Marion his first words to her were an apology for not hearing her on account of the rain. He then asks her to accompany him into the office. His lips don't even move during this scene and he gestures with a hand signal for her to go inside instead; the audio must have been added later in post-production.
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When Marion drives away from the police officer, the unmistakable sound of a 1957 Ford starter can be heard, but she doesn't reach for the key (which is left of the steering wheel on the dashboard), or make any visible movement to use the shift lever.
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Continuity 

At the car dealership, the same extras (people on the sidewalks) are seen repeatedly, walking in different directions
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As Marion falls out of the shower, her hair is soaking wet. But in the famous still shot of her lying on the floor, her hair is relatively dry.
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Janet Leigh's body double is obvious when Norman is pulling Marion from the tub onto the shower curtain; the dead woman has painted toenails while Janet had clear nails during the stabbing shots.
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While driving in Bakersfield, no car dealership can be seen through the windshield as Marion turns off a major road onto a wide, unlined street. The next exterior shot shows her car turning off a four-lane, lined street into California Charlie's used car lot.
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When the police officer backs in behind Marion's car on shoulder of the highway, no tire tracks from his vehicle are visible in the soft dirt.
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Det. Arbogast phones in about the Bates Motel and Norman. Later, he returns to the motel to investigate. There is a reaction shot of him looking at the Bates house. The sky in the background is clear and uniform. Arbogast glances behind him to make sure he isn't shadowed and then starts out for the house. Now, the sky in the background is obviously cloudy.
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When Norman is making his way from the house to the hotel office to greet Marion, it is pouring rain outside. However, in the next shot when he's in the hotel office his suit is completely dry.
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During the shower scene, the placement of the curtain rings varies multiple times.
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As Marion approaches the restroom at California Charlie's used car lot, the door hinges on the left with the doorknob on the right and has dark (painted?) glass in the upper half. In the interior shot, the hinges and knob are just the opposite and the door is a solid slab. In the exterior shot as Marion exits the restroom, the door is not seen, and hinges are back on the left and latches on the right, consistent with the original view.
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In the hotel at the start of the film, Sam sits with his arms outstretched. In the close-up of Sam, the towel has moved across to his right though he hasn't yet moved his arms.
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When the cop awakens Marion in her car, the driver's side windshield frame has dozens of grimy handprints and fingerprints from everyone whose touched it while setting up the shot. As she pulls into the car lot the grimy hand prints / smears are shown to be all over the door panels also.
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When Sam and Lila first arrive at the motel, there is a shadow of a nearby tree on the side of the motel office. When Norman runs down from the house a few seconds later, the shadow is gone.
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When Sam and Lila are checking her motel room for traces of Marion, the lid over the toilet seat is up in the bathroom when they enter it, but when Norman left the bathroom after finishing cleaning it up, it was down.
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In the movie's opening shots of the hotel window, the venetian blinds are bunched higher on the right and lower on the left: as the camera closes in the venetian blinds are level with the window sill.
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At the beginning, in the establishing shot of the hotel window, the angle of the shadow on the window ledge changes between shots.
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Crew or equipment visible 

When Marion first gets out of her car and meets the salesman at the used car dealership, a crewmember is reflected in the car door. Part way through the shot, he suddenly crouches down.
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The shadow of the camera falls on the lady examining the pesticide can in Sam's hardware store.
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When Lila and Sam are walking from their motel room to the office, the reflection of a crew member can be seen in the window between rooms 1 and 2.
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When Marion pulls into the motel during the rain and sees the office, she drives over to it and stops. In the next shot two lights on a stand can be seen to the immediate left of the office, left by the crew.
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Marion is in her apartment changing her clothes after stealing the money; as the camera dollies toward the money lying on the bed, a shadow of the camera or member of the crew briefly appears on the bedspread in the lower-right portion of the frame.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

The title card of the film fixes the date as December 11, but when Marion is deducting the cost of the car from the $40,000 later that same night, the last date in her bank book is shown as being January 20. People often "backdate" checks.
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Revealing mistakes 

When Janet Leigh is in the car dealer bathroom getting the cash, as the envelope is being returned to her purse the top couple bills fold back revealing a $1 bill, not another $100 as the stack is expected to contain.
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When Lila approaches Mother in the fruit cellar, we see Mrs. Bates seated in a four-legged chair. After Ms. Miles touches the corpse, it slowly spins around as if it's sitting on a swiveling chair. The effect was achieved by a prop man lying on his back rotating a camera head with wheels underneath Mother.
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When Marion Crane leaves town and it becomes dark outside, the rear shot of the car driving into a cloudy night shows very noticeable white scratches in the sky. Apparently, a scratched image of the dark cloudy sky was placed above the footage of the car driving to make it appear as though the car was driving in the night.
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During the shower scene, when Marion is seen in front of the shower curtain, there are two different water jets, visible by different angles towards each other, revealing that besides the shower head, an additional source of water was used.
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When Norman drags Marion from the bathroom to wrap her in the shower curtain you can see that she is wearing panties.
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When Norman gets Marion's luggage out of her car he ignores the trunk and goes, correctly, straight for the back seat.
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Spoilers 

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Continuity 

When Norman comes to clean the evidence of Marion Crane's death, there is blood on the floor. In the immediate capture, there is seen less blood in the same spot. Norman couldn't have mopped the blood away that quickly.
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Continuity 

In the shower, Marion's hand changes from thumb down to thumb up when she grabs the shower curtain and then pulls it down.
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Continuity 

During the shower scene, when Norman is stabbing Marion, his right arm gets completely wet but when he walks away, it's dry.
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Continuity 

In the final reveal of Norma Bates, she is sitting with her back to the camera on an ordinary four-legged chair, like a dining chair. When Lila touches Norma's shoulder, she turns as though she is on a totating desk chair.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

Lila and Sam are able to sneak into Cabin 1 just by pushing an unlocked door. A sane, caluclating criminal would have locked it to avoid someone discovering evidence of Marion's murder, but Norman is not sane by any means.
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Plot holes 

Mother is depicted standing full-figure in front of the second-floor front window. However, the arrangement of the furniture in Mother's room establishes that there is a large desk in front of the forward-facing window, which would prevent a full-figure glimpse of anyone at that window.
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Revealing mistakes 

When Norman is walking through the ground floor of the house shortly before the shower scene, he grabs hold of the giant, wooden stair banisters, which wobble unnaturally.
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Revealing mistakes 

When Marion is lying dead in the shower, an extreme close-up of her eyes is shown, which shows her pupils to be narrowly constricted. A dead person's eyes are fixed and dilated. (There is probably nothing Janet Leigh could have done about this, especially since the bright lights used in filming would cause her pupils to naturally constrict. However, the extreme close-up makes this point particularly noticeable, and Gus Van Sant made it a point to digitally alter Anne Heche's eyes in Psycho so that they are dilated.)
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Revealing mistakes 

When Norman has pushed Marion's car into the swamp you can hear that the sound of the bubbles creates echoes. The scene was probably shot in a studio.
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See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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