Jump to: Director Cameo (1) | Director Trademark (3) | Spoilers (64)
Director Sir Alfred Hitchcock was so pleased with the score written by Bernard Herrmann that he doubled the composer's salary to $34,501. Hitchcock later said, "Thirty-three percent of the effect of Psycho was due to the music." Ironically, he was originally adamant that there should be no music in the shower scene but he was persuaded by his wife to give it a try. The screeching violins and dire strings (which would inspire the music for Jaws (1975) ) ending up selling the scene and driving theatrical audiences beyond anything they had ever experienced.
1,280 of 1,286 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
When the cast and crew began work on the first day, they had to raise their right hands and promise not to divulge one word of the story. Sir Alfred Hitchcock also withheld the ending part of the script from his cast until he needed to shoot it.
769 of 772 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Director Sir 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.
835 of 839 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
After this movie's release, Sir Alfred Hitchcock received an angry letter from the father of a girl who refused to have a bath after seeing Diabolique (1955), and now refused to shower after seeing this movie. Hitchcock sent a note back simply saying, "Send her to the dry cleaners."
956 of 963 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Director Sir Alfred Hitchcock bought the rights to the novel anonymously from Robert Bloch for only $9,000. He then bought up as many copies of the novel as he could, to keep the ending a secret.
835 of 841 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh said that they did not mind being stereotyped forever because of their participation in this movie. They said in interviews they would rather be stereotyped and be remembered forever for this classic movie than not be remembered at all.
339 of 340 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
In the opening scene, Marion Crane is wearing a white bra because Sir Alfred Hitchcock wanted to show her as being "angelic". After she has taken the money, the following scene has her in a black bra because now she has done something wrong and evil. Similarly, before she steals the money, she has a white purse. After she's stolen the money, her purse is black.
1,182 of 1,194 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
When Norman first realizes there has been a murder, he shouts, "Mother! Oh God! God! Blood! Blood!" Sir Alfred Hitchcock had the bass frequencies removed from Anthony Perkins' voice to make him sound more like a frightened teenager.
576 of 580 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Walt Disney refused to allow Sir Alfred Hitchcock to film at Disneyland in the early 1960s because Hitchcock had made "that disgusting movie, 'Psycho.'"
1,016 of 1,026 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Paramount Pictures gave Sir Alfred Hitchcock a very small budget with which to work, because of their distaste with the source material. They also deferred most of the box-office take to Hitchcock, thinking the movie would fail. When it became a sleeper hit, Hitchcock made a fortune.
742 of 749 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
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.
524 of 528 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
For a shot looking up into the water stream of the shower head, Sir Alfred Hitchcock had a six-foot-diameter shower head made up and blocked the central jets so that the water sprayed in a cone past the camera lens, without any water spraying directly at it.
507 of 512 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Sir Alfred Hitchcock wanted to make this movie so much that he deferred his standard $250,000 salary in lieu of 60% of the movie's gross. Paramount Pictures, believing that this movie would do poorly at the box office, agreed. His personal earnings from this movie exceeded $15 million. Adjusted for inflation, that amount would be $131 million in 2020 dollars.
690 of 699 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Every theater that showed this movie had a cardboard cut-out installed in the lobby of Sir Alfred Hitchcock pointing to his wristwatch with a note 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"
738 of 748 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
On-set, Sir Alfred Hitchcock would always refer to Anthony Perkins as "Master Bates." Hitchcock did have the reputation for often harassing male and female cast members like this (See Tippi Hedren, Billy Mumy, etc.)
871 of 884 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The movie in large part was made because Sir Alfred Hitchcock was fed up with the big-budget, star-studded movies he had recently been making and wanted to experiment with the more efficient, sparser style of television filmmaking. He ultimately used a crew consisting mostly of television veterans and hired actors and actresses less well-known than those he usually used. Specifically, Vertigo (1958), which was later hailed as a masterpiece, was considered a bloated, over-budgeted misfire. And while North by Northwest (1959) was hailed as a masterpiece and was a hit, it was a huge production, and it was also very time-consuming and expensive. So Hitchcock decided to scale things back for his next movie. Also, during the same period, his rival, French new wave and noir film director Henri-Georges Clouzot, hit the bullseye and created a critical box office sensation with the classic Diabolique (1955). All the critics said Clouzot had out-Hithcocked Hitchcock, and this presented a confrontation which Hitchcock could not turn down. Diabolique was a small scale, gritty, black and white independent movie, so Hitchcock decided to out-Diabolique Diabolique and directed his own small scale, gritty black and white project - that was Psycho.
438 of 443 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
In order to implicate viewers as fellow voyeurs, Sir Alfred Hitchcock used a 50 mm lens on his 35 mm camera. This gives the closest approximation to the human vision. In the scenes where Norman is spying on Marion, this effect is felt.
330 of 333 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The reason Sir Alfred Hitchcock cameos so early in the movie was because he knew people would be looking out for him, and he didn't want to divert their attention away from the plot.
655 of 665 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
One of the reasons Sir Alfred Hitchcock shot the movie in black-and-white was he thought it would be too gory in color. But the main reason was that he wanted to make the movie as inexpensively as possible (under one million dollars). He also wondered if so many bad, inexpensively made, black-and-white "B" movies did so well at the box-office, what would happen if a really good, inexpensively made, black-and-white movie was made.
594 of 603 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The score, composed by Bernard Herrmann, is played entirely by stringed instruments.
433 of 439 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Although Janet Leigh was not bothered by the filming of the famous shower scene (though she used a body double), seeing it on film profoundly moved her. She later remarked that it made her realize how vulnerable a woman was in a shower. To the end of her life, she always took baths.
940 of 958 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
To ensure the people were in the theaters at the start of this movie (rather than walking in part way through) the studio provided a record to play in the foyer of the theaters. The album featured background music, occasionally interrupted by a voice saying "Ten minutes to Psycho time", "Five minutes to Psycho time", and so on.
428 of 434 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The official trailer back in 1960 ran on for over six minutes and thirty seconds, a feat unheard of in today's trailers.
316 of 320 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Although Norman Bates typecasted Anthony Perkins, he said he still would have taken the role, even if he knew the character would dog his career.
392 of 398 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Janet Leigh received threatening letters after this movie's release, detailing what they would like to do to Marion Crane. One was so grotesque, she passed it on to the F.B.I. The culprits were discovered, and the F.B.I. said she should notify them again if she ever received any more letters.
505 of 514 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The novel upon which this movie was based was inspired by the true story of Ed Gein, a serial killer who was also the inspiration for Deranged: Confessions of a Necrophile (1974), The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), and The Silence of the Lambs (1991).
297 of 301 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The amount of cash Marion stole, $40,000 in 1960 would be equivalent to approximately $352,000 in 2020. The $700 difference she paid when trading in her car, and getting another one, would be equivalent to about $6,100.
573 of 586 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh were allowed to improvise their roles. For example, Norman's habit of munching on candy corn.
334 of 340 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Sir Alfred Hitchcock used Bosco chocolate syrup instead of blood, because it showed up better on camera.
328 of 334 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The sound that the knife makes penetrating the flesh is actually the sound of a knife stabbing a casaba melon.
215 of 218 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
In the novel, the character of "Marion" was "Mary" Crane. The name was changed because the studio legal department found that two real people named Mary Crane lived in Phoenix, Arizona.
220 of 224 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Joseph Stefano was adamant about seeing a toilet on-screen to display realism. He also wanted to see it flush. Sir Alfred Hitchcock told him he had to "make it so" through his writing if he wanted to see it. Stefano wrote the scene in which Marion adds up the money, then flushes the paper down the toilet specifically so the toilet flushing was integral to the scene, and therefore irremovable. This was the first American movie (and possibly first fictional movie) ever to show a toilet flushing on-screen.
430 of 442 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
This was the highest-grossing movie of Sir Alfred Hitchcock's career.
344 of 353 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Janet Leigh invented a complete backstory for Marion Crane, figuring out what she was like in high school, her favorite colors, et cetera.
290 of 297 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
This movie only cost $800,000 to make, and earned more than $40 million. Sir Alfred Hitchcock used the crew from his television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955) to save time and money. In 1962, he exchanged the rights to the movie and his television series for a huge block of MCA's stock, becoming its third-largest stockholder.
174 of 177 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
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).
333 of 342 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Janet Leigh only had three weeks to work on the movie and spent the whole of one of those weeks filming the shower sequence.
169 of 172 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
When Sir Alfred Hitchcock was off due to illness, the crew shot the sequence of Arbogast inside the house going up the stairs. When Hitchcock saw the footage, he complimented those responsible but said the sequence had to be reshot. Their version made it appear as if Arbogast was going up the stairs to commit a murder. Hitchcock reshot the sequence.
138 of 140 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
After this movie was released, for years Anthony Perkins refused to talk about the part of Norman Bates, because everyone associated Perkins with the character.
270 of 277 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The strings-only music by Bernard Herrmann is ranked #4 on AFI's 100 Years of Film Scores.
269 of 276 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Sir Alfred Hitchcock even had a canvas chair with "Mrs. Bates" written on the back prominently placed and displayed on the set throughout shooting. This further added to the enigma surrounding who was the actress playing Mrs. Bates.
212 of 217 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
According to Janet Leigh, the wardrobe worn by her character Marion Crane was not custom made for her, but rather purchased "off the rack" from ordinary clothing stores. Sir Alfred Hitchcock wanted women viewers to identify with the character by having her wear clothes that an ordinary secretary could afford, and thus add to the mystique of realism.
324 of 334 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The Bates house was largely modelled on an oil painting at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. The canvas is called "House by the Railroad" and was painted in 1925 by the iconic American artist Edward Hopper. That painting was the first one that was acquired by New York's Museum of Modern Art (in 1930). The architectural details, viewpoint, and austere sky is almost identical as seen in this movie.
253 of 260 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
In Robert Bloch's novel, Norman Bates is short, fat, older, and very dislikable. It was Sir Alfred Hitchcock who decided to have him be young, handsome, and sympathetic. Norman is also more of a main character in the novel. The story opens with him and Mother fighting, rather than following Marion from the start.
225 of 231 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
First billed Anthony Perkins does not appear until twenty-seven minutes into the movie. Second billed Vera Miles does not appear until fifty-seven minutes into the movie.
97 of 98 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Shooting wrapped February 1, 1960, nine days over schedule. A rough cut was finished by April, at which point, Sir Alfred Hitchcock was convinced his "experiment" had failed. He was ready to cut the movie down to a television episode, but handed it to Bernard Herrmann to score. After he saw the completed movie with the music, he was very pleased.
174 of 178 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Janet Leigh has said that when he cast her, Sir Alfred Hitchcock gave her the following charter: "I hired you because you are an actress. I will only direct you if A: you attempt to take more than your share of the pie, B: you don't take enough, or C: if you are having trouble motivating the necessary timed movement."
197 of 202 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
In 1992, this movie was selected for preservation by The Library of Congress at The National Film Registry.
121 of 123 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
This was Sir Alfred Hitchcock's first horror movie.
428 of 444 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
According to biographers, Sir Alfred Hitchcock had a troubled relationship with his own domineering mother, who, like Mrs. Bates, forced him to stand at the foot of her bed and tell her everything that had happened to him, although the real relationship was not as disturbed as that seen in the movie.
249 of 257 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Sir Alfred Hitchcock ran a deliciously droll and terse radio ad in the summer of 1960. In an era when sponsors used "Brand X" to describe their competitors' products, Hitchcock's voice said he wanted to compare his new movie with "Brand X.". Then, the sound of a horse neighing and horse clippity-clop sounds. Hitchcock's voice said simply "Brand X is a western." "Now for my picture," followed by a loud scream. End of commercial.
260 of 269 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
In his famous interviews with Sir Alfred Hitchcock, François Truffaut, who was a fan of the movie, commented that the scenes with the sheriff were a letdown. Hitchcock replied: "The sheriff's intervention comes under the heading of what we have discussed many times before: "Why don't they go to the police?". I've always replied: "They don't go to the police because it's dull." Here is a perfect example of what happens when they go to the police".
57 of 57 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Screenwriter Joseph Stefano and director Sir Alfred Hitchcock deliberately layered-in certain risqué elements as a ruse to divert the censors from more crucial concerns, like the action that takes place in the bedroom in the beginning and the shower murder. The censors reviewed the script and censored the "unimportant" extra material and Hitchcock managed to sneak in his "important" material.
130 of 133 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
While writing the screenplay, Joseph Stefano was in therapy dealing with his relationship with his own mother.
231 of 239 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Sir Alfred Hitchcock was initially disappointed with the movie. He even disliked the shower scene and believed the movie would end up on a low budget drive-in double-bill. According to Bernard Herrmann, Hitchcock thought of editing it down for broadcast on his television show. Hitchcock did not conceive of music for the shower scene, but Herrmann did it anyway. After seeing the movie with its score, including the shower sequence, that he realized that the movie would work.
128 of 131 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Before Psycho (1960), movie theaters would play shows on rotation all day long. People would frequently come in the middle of one and stay till the middle of the next showing; leaving when they came in. But HItchcock made all the movie theater owners sign a contract that they would not let anyone in until the start of the film. Once they were late; they would not be let in until the next showing. This started formalizing the whole process of mandatory seating times at theaters which continues until today.
54 of 54 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Sir Alfred Hitchcock hated the infamous psychiatrist explanation scene done by Dr. Fred Richman (Simon Oakland) at the end of the movie. He felt the scene was boring, and the movie came to a grinding halt at that point. The scene has also been ripped to shreds by critics over the years as the worst scene in the movie, and one of Hitchcock's worst scenes ever. Hitchcock and viewers felt the scene was unnecessary, overly obvious, and too talky, slowing down the action and suspense of the rest of the movie. But there was strong pressure from the studios and powers-that-be that funded and distributed the movie to relieve the pressure from earlier scenes, and also to explain the action to less insightful audience members who might be confused by the big reveal at the ending, so the scene was kept in.
186 of 192 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
In an interview on The Dick Cavett Show (1968), Sir Alfred Hitchcock said of the shower scene, "everything was so rapid that there were seventy-eight separate pieces of film in forty-five seconds."
122 of 125 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Anthony Perkins was paid $40,000 for his role, which is the same amount of money that Marion Crane embezzled.
237 of 247 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
As part of publicity campaign prior to release of this movie, Sir Alfred Hitchcock said: "It has been rumored that 'Psycho' is so terrifying that it will scare some people speechless. Some of my men hopefully sent their wives to a screening. The women emerged badly shaken, but still vigorously vocal."
220 of 229 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The car dealership in the movie was actually Harry Maher's used car lot near Universal Studios. Since Ford Motor Company was a sponsor of Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955), the car lot's usual inventory was displaced in favor of shiny Fords, Edsels, and Mercurys.
111 of 114 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
This was Sir Alfred Hitchcock's last theatrical movie in black-and-white. It was filmed from November 30, 1959 to February 1, 1960.
128 of 132 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Vera Miles wore a wig for her role, as she had to shave her head for her role in 5 Branded Women (1960).
145 of 150 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Features Janet Leigh's only Oscar nominated performance.
46 of 46 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The film has been rated and re-rated over the years, from PG, to PG-13 and 15, to R.
163 of 170 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
According to Stephen Rebello, author of "Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho," Sir Alfred Hitchcock was displeased with the performance of John Gavin (Sam Loomis) and referred to Gavin as "the stiff."
145 of 151 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
There are several references to birds in this movie: Marion's surname is Crane, Norman's hobby is stuffing birds, and Norman states that Marion eats like a bird. Sir Alfred Hitchcock's next movie was The Birds (1963).
309 of 327 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
During pre-production, Sir Alfred Hitchcock said to the press that he was considering Helen Hayes for the part of Mother. This was obviously a ruse, but several actresses wrote to Hitchcock requesting auditions.
76 of 78 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Sir Alfred Hitchcock teased the press that Dame Judith Anderson, who had famously essayed the part of Mrs. Danvers in Rebecca (1940), would play the part of Mrs. Bates. Rebecca (1940) was another thriller with an evil mother figure manipulating things from beyond the grave. Virginia Gregg as a matter of fact would go on to voice mother in this movie and a couple of sequels.
104 of 108 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Anthony Perkins was Sir Alfred Hitchcock's first choice for the part of Norman Bates.
55 of 56 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
This movie was first scheduled to air on U.S. network television 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 to 1985), was stabbed to death, apparently by an intruder, in a murder that, as of 2019, remains unsolved. It was deemed prudent, under the circumstances, to postpone the scheduled airing. Ultimately, this movie was not shown on U.S. network television until 1970, following a highly successful theatrical re-release in 1969. At that time, Universal Pictures released it on the syndication market, where it quickly became a popular staple on local late night horror movie showings.
114 of 119 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
In the novel, it is explained that Marion and Sam met on a cruise and fell in love, which is how their relationship became a long distance one, with Marion in Phoenix, Arizona, and Sam in Fairvale, California.
112 of 117 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
An early script had the following dialogue: Marion: "I'm going to spend the weekend in bed." Texas oilman: "Bed? Only playground that beats Las Vegas." (This discarded dialogue was resurrected for the Gus Van Sant remake Psycho (1998), but was subsequently cut.)
83 of 86 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Bernard Herrmann related how the shots of Marion driving away after taking the money looked very ordinary. Sir Alfred Hitchcock thought of having the soundtrack convey anxious voices in her head to add to the action and tension. Herrmann noted, however, that it still didn't work until he suggested bringing back the main title music. All in all, Hitchcock was delighted with Herrmann's very significant contribution to this movie, giving the composer an unusual amount of credit (for Hitchcock) and stating openly that "Thirty-three percent of the effect of Psycho was due to the music."
110 of 115 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Multiple characters in Halloween (1978) are inspired by this movie. Jamie Lee Curtis was cast as the heroine in this movie, based on the casting of her mother, Janet Leigh, in Psycho. Dr. Sam Loomis is directly named after John Gavin's character, the boyfriend to Marion in this movie. The name of Marion Chambers, the nurse in Halloween, is inspired by Marion and Judge Chambers. Billy Loomis, the killer from Scream (1996), was also inspired by Sam Loomis in Psycho. Also, Bates High School in Carrie (1976) is inspired by Norman Bates in Psycho.
35 of 35 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Among the major promotional items for this movie was a lengthy coming attractions trailer (filmed in several languages) of Sir Alfred Hitchcock taking the audience on a seemingly lighthearted tour of the house and motel. At the end, Hitchcock pulls open a shower curtain to reveal a close-up of a woman screaming. The actress is not Janet Leigh, but Vera Miles wearing a wig similar to Miss Leigh's hairstyle. The logo "Psycho" simultaneously comes onto the screen and cleverly covers Miss Miles' eyes so that the switch is not easily discernible.
94 of 98 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
In Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998), Janet Leigh drove a 1950s car similar to Marion Crane's, which, when revealed, part of the Psycho theme is played. Director John Carpenter was inspired by Psycho when making Halloween (1978) and was quite excited when Leigh's daughter Jamie Lee Curtis auditioned and was cast. Leigh played Curtis' secretary.
101 of 106 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
When Marion is having a conversation with Norman in his parlor, Norman says in reference to his mother: "She had to raise me all by herself after my father died. I was only five and it must have been quite a strain for her." Anthony Perkins (Norman) was his parents' only child, and he, like Norman, suffered the loss of his father when he was five years old. From then on, he was raised by his mother.
163 of 174 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The shower scene was shot from December 17 through December 23, 1959. It features fifty different camera angles, and includes seventy-seven cuts.
72 of 75 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
This movie marked the fifth and final time that Sir Alfred Hitchcock earned an Oscar nomination for Best Director, though he never won.
71 of 74 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The first scene to be shot was of Marion getting pulled over by the cop. This was filmed on Golden State Highway (CA 99).
93 of 98 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
On CA 99, which eventually turns into Pacific Avenue near the Fife and Tacoma border in Washington, there are several older hotels along the strip. One of the former owners of one of the hotels is a horror movie buff, and puts on costume parties in his retirement. Being a fan of horror movies, he renamed his motel "Bates Motel." In April 2012, the hotel was torn down, but the hotel sign is still intact.
124 of 133 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
One of the reasons why Sir Alfred Hitchcock wanted to make this movie in black-and-white is because Hitchcock loved the French horror movie Diabolique (1955), which was made in black-and-white. Diabolique was based on Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac's novel "Celle qui n'était plus" (She Who Was No More). Hitchcock attempted to buy the rights to this novel in 1950s. But Director Henri-Georges Clouzot bought the movie rights to the original novel. Clouzot reportedly beat Hitchcock by only a matter of a few hours.
94 of 100 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Parts of the house were built by cannibalizing several stock-unit sections including a tower from the house in Harvey (1950). The house was the most expensive set of the movie, but came to a mere fifteen thousand dollars.
70 of 74 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Norman Bates is ranked the second greatest villain on AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes & Villains.
108 of 117 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Bernard Herrmann decided to use only strings in his score to have a black and-white sound to go along with the black-and-white images.
46 of 48 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Storyboards for the shower scene were drawn by designer Saul Bass. Although some rumors existed that he directed the sequence as well but Janet Leigh stated that Hitchcock directed the sequence one hundred percent.
82 of 88 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The novel "Psycho", written by Robert Bloch, was part of a series of pulp novels marketed in conjunction with the popular spooky radio show "Inner Sanctum".
64 of 68 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Kim Stanley, noted Actors Studio legend, was offered the role of Lila, but turned it down due to personal reservations about working with Anthony Perkins.
72 of 77 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The look of the tall vertical mansion on the hill contrasted with the low, long motel was a deliberate composition choice. Yet Sir Alfred Hitchcock said it wasn't his intention to create a mysterious atmosphere with the big Gothic house, but to re-create the kind of older architecture that existed in the Northern California setting of the story.
63 of 67 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Ranked #1 on the AFI 100 Years... 100 Thrills film series.
112 of 122 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Sir Alfred Hitchcock produced this movie when plans to make a movie starring Audrey Hepburn, called "No Bail for the Judge", fell through.
61 of 65 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
This movie features in both the American and British Film Institutes' Top 100 lists.
61 of 65 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Lila Crane is standing in front of a display of lawn rakes in the hardware store scene that are arranged to give the appearance of hands reaching out to grab her.
33 of 34 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked this as the #14 Greatest Movie of All Time.
81 of 88 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Marion Crane's white 1957 Ford sedan is the same car (owned by Universal Studios) that the Cleaver family drove on the television series Leave It to Beaver (1957).
110 of 121 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Bernard Herrmann wrote the main title theme before Saul Bass created the opening credit sequence. Bass animated it to the music, creating the stabbing, wrenching look in which the credits are ripped in half.
40 of 42 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The Edward Hopper painting "House By the Railroad," the inspiration for the Bates home, was modeled after an actual Victorian house by a railroad track in Haverstraw, N.Y. Built in 1885, it is still standing and privately owned.
20 of 20 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The theatrical trailer shows Sir Alfred Hitchcock giving a partial tour of the set located on the Universal Studios backlot. It ends with a tour of the famous bathroom and Hitchcock pulling the shower curtain revealing the screaming Vera Miles. (Vera Miles was the stand-in for Janet Leigh because Leigh was not available.
67 of 73 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Director Sir Alfred Hitchcock and director of photography John L. Russell regularly used two cameras to get most of the shots in this movie, rather than resetting to get different angles, a common practice in television, but rare for theatrical movies.
45 of 48 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
This was voted the seventh scariest movie of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
128 of 144 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Except for some shots filmed on backroads in Southern California (the scenes of Marion fleeing Phoenix), this movie was filmed on the backlot at Universal Studios. According to various sources, Paramount Pictures either had no space available, or refused to give Sir Alfred Hitchcock any. At any rate, he was happy to work at Universal Pictures, where his crew regularly worked on his television series.
42 of 45 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh's husband at the time, claimed in his autobiography that the film's success, and the fact that all anyone wanted to talk to her about was the shower scene, drove his wife to drink, which eventually led to her breakdown and their divorce.
34 of 36 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Sir Alfred Hitchcock had previously cast Vera Miles in The Wrong Man (1956). He wanted to cast her in Vertigo (1958), but she had to turn it down due to pregnancy. Miles was not happy making this movie, and felt that Hitchcock was punishing her by giving her an unflattering wardrobe that made her look matronly, never mind that it was designed by the famous Hollywood designer Edith Head. For her work, Miles received $100,700 per week.
52 of 57 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Reflections are often used to imply schizophrenia, but in this movie, everyone except Norman Bates is seen in a mirror.
51 of 56 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
During filming, this movie was referred to as "Production 9401" or "Wimpy". The latter name came from Second Unit Cameraman Rex Wimpy, who appeared on clapboards and production sheets, and some on-the-set stills for this movie.
38 of 41 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Ludwig van Beethoven's 3rd Symphony ("Eroica") is in Norman's record player.
62 of 69 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The film takes place in December 1959.
50 of 55 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Currently (2019) the oldest movie in release to carry an R rating, having been released eight years before the MPAA rating system was established, in 1968.
23 of 24 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Sir Alfred Hitchcock always preferred to film indoors on a soundstage, and only the distant shots of the Bates Mansion were shot outside on the backlot. To accomplish this, and allow for an exterior to interior dolly shot, a second, duplicate, mansion exterior consisting only of the front porch was constructed on the soundstage and the cut from exterior, backlot, set to interior soundstage can clearly be seen as Lila approaches, visible in the difference in the lighting when the camera cuts from her back to the porch and front door once she gets close.
63 of 71 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
In the novel, Norman is described as being in his forties, short, overweight, and homely. However, Sir Alfred Hitchcock wanted audiences to be able to like and sympathize with the character, so he decided to make him more of a "boy next door" and cast Anthony Perkins, an actor in his twenties who was tall, thin, and handsome.
41 of 45 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
In later interviews, Sir Alfred Hitchcock and Janet Leigh categorically stated that it was her body in the shower scene, but it wasn't. The body belonged to a model called Marli Renfro. When you can't see Leigh's face in the shots, you're looking at her body double. She only made $500 for filming what would become one of the most iconic movie scenes ever. A Dallas-born stripper who worked in Las Vegas, Renfro was one of the first Playboy Bunnies. Apart from Psycho, she only appeared in one other film: Francis Ford Coppola's 1962 soft-porn comedy-western Tonight for Sure (1962).
28 of 30 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Alfred Hitchcock had not intended the film to be set at Christmas, as established by the date in the titles following the opening credits. Even though the film was shot in the Southwest at that time of year, and the characters were dressed for it, there was nothing in the story to connect it with Christmas. But after discovering the Christmas decorations on the street behind Marion's boss as he crosses in front of her car during her flight out of Phoenix, and knowing it was too late to re-shoot the scene, the director reluctantly set the date to the holiday season.
14 of 14 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
This movie was given an R rating by the MPAA in 1984 even though the movie was released in 1960. The MPAA ratings system wasn't created until 1968, and, from time to time, they rerate older movies.
26 of 28 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
This was the last movie Sir Alfred Hitchcock made for Paramount Pictures. To avoid interference by studio executives, he shot it on the Universal Pictures lot, where he had already moved his offices in order to produce Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955). Universal Pictures would later get the distribution rights to the movie as well even though the Paramount Pictures logo is still on the movie.
20 of 21 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
As well as changing the character of Norman Bates, another variation on the novel is that the movie expands the opening chapters of the book, going into greater detail about Marion absconding with $40,000.
45 of 51 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Considered for the role of Marion were Eva Marie Saint, Lee Remick, Angie Dickinson, Piper Laurie, Martha Hyer, Hope Lange, Shirley Jones, Lana Turner, and Jean Simmons. Coincidentally, Dickinson played a Marion Crane-type character in Brian De Palma's Dressed to Kill (1980), a movie heavily influenced by this movie.
58 of 67 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The head of Mrs. Bates, seen at the end of this movie, was donated by Sir Alfred Hitchcock to Henri Langlois of the Cinematheque Francaise.
23 of 25 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The claim that Sir Alfred Hitchcock and Joseph Stefano originally conceived the film with a jazz score instead of Bernard Herrmann's miniature string orchestra is disputed by Herrmann's daughter Dorothy. In Susan King's interview with Dorothy Herrmann (2011), Dorothy revealed that Hitchcock cut down expenses for this movie. Hitchcock used very inexpensive actors and actresses, and he used a string orchestra in order to save money.
35 of 40 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The camera used to shoot Norman's point of view as he watched Marion undress through the peephole required a circular mask on the lens.
26 of 29 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
This movie is said to be heavily influenced by Henri-Georges Clouzot's Diabolique (1955), which was also a lurid, black-and-white crime story/film noir, with sharply drawn characters, a misogynistic overtone, and loads of suspense, focusing on a grisly murder scene in its middle, and a shock twist at the end. But whereas this movie had a shocking shower murder scene, Diabolique (1955) had a shocking bathtub murder scene. This movie's shower scene is said to be a ripoff of the earlier film's bathtub scene, or certainly influenced by it.
26 of 29 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970)'s Ted Knight (Ted Baxter) makes an appearance in this movie as one of the guards at the ending who open's the door to Norman's cell; so they can bring him a blanket. Knight had a supporting role in Hitchcock's Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Party Line (1960), an episode from his popular TV series Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955).
30 of 34 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The first scene to be shot was the one in which Marion, asleep in her car, is awakened by a highway patrolman.
42 of 49 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
On February 8, 1960, exactly one week after he finished this movie, Sir Alfred Hitchcock directed Startime (1959) season one, episode twenty-seven, "Incident at a Corner", that also featured Vera Miles, and much of the same crew that worked on this movie.
41 of 48 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Anthony Perkins (Norman Bates), Vera Miles (Lila Crane) and Virginia Gregg (Norma Bates) are the only actors to reprise their roles in Psycho II (1983).
29 of 33 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
"Mother", or Norma Bates, is played by several actors and actresses in the movie, including Anthony Perkins. Several people contributed to her shrieking harpy hag voice, and there was a deliberate attempt to age her up, make her older, since Sir Alfred Hitchcock wanted this to be an apocryphal voice of Norman's own conscience and inner demons. Realistically, Norma Bates would be about fifty, since Norman in the movie is only about twenty-six, but you can hear from the voice of the actors and actresses playing her that she is supposed to be a sexagenarian, which is possible if she gave birth to Norman when she was in her mid to late thirties.
29 of 33 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
A false story has circulated that George Reeves was hired to play detective Milton Arbogast and filmed a few of his scenes with the rest of the cast just a week before his death. There is no truth to this rumor whatsoever. Reeves died on June 16, 1959, almost two months before Sir Alfred Hitchcock decided to make this movie, and exactly one year before the June 16, 1960 date when this movie had its world premiere in New York City. Work on the script began in October, 1959, four months after Reeves' death. Filming began in November, 1959, five months after Reeves' death. At the time of Reeves' death, Hitchcock was on a world tour promoting North by Northwest (1959). (Source: "The Dark Side of Genius: The Life of Alfred Hitchcock," by Donald Spoto.) George Reeves did not live long enough to even know a movie of "Psycho" was planned, much less appear in it.
45 of 54 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
According to the opening title cards, the action of this movie begins on Friday, December 11. Extrapolating from the production and release dates, one can determine that the year was 1959, as December 11 fell on a Friday that year.
19 of 21 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Director Alexander Payne said he couldn't imagine this movie being made in color, because it's far more chilling in black-and-white, but it was remade in color as Psycho (1998), to universal disapproval.
55 of 68 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Controversy arose years later when Saul Bass made claims that he had done the complete planning, and even directed the famous shower scene. Those who worked on the movie have refuted this claim.
46 of 57 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
When she was auditioned for the job of Janet Leigh's body double in Psycho's iconic shower scene, model, dancer, and Playboy covergirl Marli Renfro said she had to strip naked for Alfred Hitchcock. After he examined her every curve, he took her to Leigh's tailer where she had to drop her robe again while Leigh reviewed her body. Renfro was a dedicated nudist and a professional stripper, so she had no issue being naked in front of people. After she was cast, she said she spent hours a day for a week naked on set in front of Hitchcock and a mostly male crew as they shot from every angle. At one point, Hitchcock attached a measuring tape to the lens of the camera, walked over and put the point of it on her left nipple to make sure her breast will be out of focus. But she said he was an absolute gentleman and went out of his way to make her feel comfortable.
13 of 14 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
In 2006, Scottish artist Douglas Gordon created an art installation consisting of a twenty-four-hour slow-motion version of this movie. It was titled "24-Hour Psycho", and played at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
53 of 67 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
James P. Cavanagh was the first writer to adapt Robert Bloch's novel for the production. However, his script was jettisoned in favor of the Joseph Stefano adaptation. Cavanagh also wrote at least five episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955), including two directed by Sir Alfred Hitchcock.
23 of 27 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Anthony Perkins and Martin Balsam both later starred together in Murder on the Orient Express (1974). Perkins once again played a never-married, socially distant man with mother issues.
12 of 13 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Stuart Whitman was Sir Alfred Hitchcock's first choice for the role of Sam Loomis.
26 of 32 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Sir Alfred Hitchcock wanted either Stuart Whitman, Tom Tryon, Brian Keith, Cliff Robertson, or Rod Taylor for the role of Sam Loomis, but Universal Pictures insisted on John Gavin.
26 of 32 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Norman's parlor features many stuffed birds, several of whom are associated with wisdom or intelligence, including an owl and a crow. Less noticed is a hoopoe, a striking striped bird native to Eurasia and Africa, that Norman rests his hand upon during the calm portion of his conversation with Marion. Hoopoes are common in Middle Eastern and African folklore, and are characterized as being wise, much like owls. On the other hand, pheasants like the one behind him in the same scene are thought to be fairly stupid, suggesting the split nature of Norman's personality. This seems intentional, given the recurring bird motifs throughout the movie.
20 of 24 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
It's just "Mrs. Bates" in this movie; her first name isn't specified until the sequels.
16 of 19 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Since the death of Patricia Hitchcock in 2021, Vera Miles is now the sole surviving member of the cast.
10 of 11 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The map on the wall behind the psychiatrist while he's talking in the Chief of Police's office is of Shasta County, California.
26 of 33 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Downtown Phoenix in 2021 has grown substantially since the film was shot. However, the intersection of Central and Monroe, where Janet Leigh is stopped as her boss passes in the crosswalk, is still there. The Hotel San Carlos, Professional Building and radio tower are all there, even as the modern cityscape continues to grow.
6 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
To achieve the effect of the water coming out of the shower head and streaming down past the camera on all sides, Sir Alfred Hitchcock had a huge shower head made to order and shot with his camera very close to it.
29 of 38 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
In Bates Motel: Hidden (2017) of the television series Bates Motel (2013), based on characters from this movie, Norman Bates is standing in the office eating candy corn while the Sheriff looks at the registry book. A tribute to the scene in this movie where Norman eats candy corn, while Arbogast is looking at the same book.
24 of 31 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
For Marion's driving scenes, to get her proper actions and facial expressions, Alfred Hitchcock articulated to Janet Leigh what she was doing and thinking at every point in her flight from justice. Later on, cutaway views of the windshield and rear view mirror, road sounds, and voice overs from the other actors, were cut into the film, establishing these stimuli for the audience.
9 of 10 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The first U.S. television station to show this movie was WABC-TV (Channel 7) in New York City, on their late night movie series "The Best of Broadway" on June 24, 1967.
23 of 31 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The painting Norman Bates removes to observe Marion as she undresses in her washroom is Susannah and the Elders, 1691, by Willem van Mieris. It was from Alfred Hitchcock's own art collection.
8 of 9 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Vera Miles and Anthony Perkins are the only actress and actor to appear in both this movie and Psycho II (1983) (although Janet Leigh does appear in a flashback at the beginning of Psycho II).
14 of 18 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
In his youth, Anthony Perkins had a boyish, earnest quality, reminiscent of the young James Stewart, which Sir Alfred Hitchcock exploited and subverted.
19 of 26 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
John Gavin appeared in both this film and Spartacus (1960) in the same year. This means he worked with both Janet Leigh and her then-husband, Tony Curtis.
17 of 23 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
To spy on Marion, Norman removes a painting titled "Susannah and the Elders" from a peephole in the wall. The painting, by the Dutch painter Willem van Mieris, is itself a painting about voyeurism, being a depiction of the biblical story where a group of male elders spy on an innocent girl while she is bathing.
On the initial release of "Psycho", theater owners feared that they would lose business due to the film's "no late admission" policy. They did not want to turn customers away. To the theater owners' surprise, long lines of people started forming outside movie theaters; hours in advance of screening the film. People were patiently waiting in line to see the groundbreaking film.
Film scholars have noted that two of the most violent scenes in "Psycho" take place under bright light, rather than darkness. Alfred Hitchcock's films often used bright lights in scenes involving danger and violence.
Ranked #14 on the AFI 100 Years... 100 Movies 10th Anniversary Edition, up 4 places from #18 in 1997.
20 of 29 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Not only was Sir Alfred Hitchcock intent on keeping this movie under wraps until the last possible minute, he also instructed theaters to not allow anyone in once the movie had started.
15 of 21 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Sir Alfred Hitchcock asked graphic designer Saul Bass to find a way to make the house appear more forbidding. But each attempt by Saul Bass to alter the look of the house failed. Finally, he gave up and tried surrounding it at night with moonlit clouds, moving abnormally, giving the house an eerie silhouette and sinister appearance. This helped give later scenes inside the house, such as Arbogast quietly going up the stairs, an eerie feeling of foreboding.
8 of 10 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Michael Powell directed the infamous movie Peeping Tom (1960), which has been called the "British version of Psycho" by critics. This is ironic, because this movie was directed by an Englishman. But Peeping Tom concerns itself with English characters and takes place in Britain, whereas this movie takes place in the U.S. and concerns itself with Americans. The only British character in this movie is Caroline. She plays Marion's co-worker at the beginning of the movie, and was played by Patricia Hitchcock, Sir Alfred Hitchcock's daughter.
20 of 32 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Martin Balsam, playing a detective who shares his name, later spoofed his role as Milton Arbogast in The Silence of the Hams (1994).
15 of 23 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Psycho starts in Phoenix, Arizona (a real place) and ends in Fairvale, California (not a real place).
15 of 23 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The composer Bernard Herrmann set the tone of impending violence with the film's introductory tune. To maintain tension throughout the slower moments in the film, Herrmann used the method of "ostinato" (the music term for "stubborn") in the music. That translates to persistently repeating a motif in the same musical voice.
"Psycho" is considered emblematic for the erosion of the Hays Code's censorship standards during the 1960s. Sam Loomis and Marion Crane were depicted as lovers sharing the same bed, with Marion wearing a bra in their moments of intimacy. The Hays Code prohibited depictions of unmarried couples in the same bed. In 1968, after several years of minimal enforcement, the Hays Code was abolished.
Sam Loomis' last name is an obvious tongue-in-cheek reference to the Loomis armored truck company. This grimly humorous allusion is due to Marion Crane's stealing a large sum of money that she had been entrusted with as a courier, just as the operators of a Loomis truck are tasked with honorably transporting large sums of currency to various destinations.
17 of 29 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Sir Alfred Hitchcock personally funded Psycho's entire cost of production.
7 of 10 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
24 of 45 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Jeanette Nolan's husband John McIntire played Sheriff Chambers in this film. Jeannette Nolan (who did some voice-work for Norma Bates and for screams in this film) also played some roles in Sir Alfred Hitchcock's show Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955). One of the episodes was Alfred Hitchcock Presents: The Right Kind of House (1958).
14 of 24 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Although highly controversial in 1960, this movie is now an iconic thriller.
38 of 78 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The film was budgeted so well, that total production costs came to just less than $807,000 at the time. By comparison, 1.5 hours (3 episodes) of the Hitchcock half-hour television show of the day cost $387,000, just less than half of what the film cost.
Veteran character actor Martin Balsam, who plays Arbogast, never appears in another Hitchcock film. However he does appear in two episodes of the TV series that came just after Psycho, Alfred Hitchcock Presents. As well, he appears in one of the screen tests of Tippi Hedren for The Birds, Hitchcock's very next film.
According to 'The Psycho Movies' website, '' Anthony Perkins wasn't present during the shooting of the shower scene. A stand-in played Mother while Perkins was rehearsing a Broadway show in New York.''
The car that Marion buys is a 1957 Ford Custom.
Shirley Jones was up for, and almost got, the part of Marion Crane in Psycho. If she had beaten out Janet Leigh for the role, Jones would have played two Marions in a row. Marion in Psycho (1960) and Marian the Librarian in The Music Man (1962).
13 of 23 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.
10 of 17 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
There is a similarity in Psycho (1960) seen and heard in The Raven (1935). In both films, the main character is shown with a stuffed bird and is heard to say "it's more than a hobby."
6 of 9 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Voted the number one horror movie of all time by watchmojo.com.
30 of 64 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Assistant director Hilton A. Green took photos of 140 different locations, which were intended for later reconstruction in the studio. These included real estate offices and private homes, such as those where Marion Crane worked for or lived in.
The final shot in the famous shower scene, depicted an extreme close-up on Marion Crane's unblinking eye. The scene was difficult for actress Janet Leigh. Water from the shower kept splashing in her eyes, causing involuntary blinking. The scene was also difficult for the cameraman, who had been asked to manually focus the camera, while moving it. Alfred Hitchcock had to do several retakes of the scene.
The music score in the shower scene was rumored to have used electronic amplification. Bernard Herrmann denied the rumors. He simply placed the microphones closer to the instruments, in order to get a harsher sound.
While "Psycho" was considered controversial in the United States, nearly all British film critics derided it as a failure and described it as Alfred Hitchcock's worst film. The British public ignored their views, and the film broke attendance records in London.
To paraphrase from the play "The Importance of Being Earnest", Oscar Wilde opined how man's tragedy was that he does not become like his mother.
15 of 30 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list.
15 of 31 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Anthony Perkins had not one, but two, shower scenes in 1960. He also starred with Jane Fonda (in her film debut) in Tall Story (1960). They were kissing in a tiny shower in a camper.
15 of 31 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
This movie made its American television debut on WABC in New York City on June 24, 1967.
12 of 26 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Marion's lover's name is Sam Loomis. Marion was played by Janet Leigh. Her daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis, starred in Halloween (1978), in which the doctor's name is Samuel Loomis.
14 of 32 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
"Psycho" is itself broached in Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start The Fire."
12 of 27 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Felicia Farr, Carolyn Jones, Caroline Korney, and Eleanor Parker were considered for the role of Lila Crane.
8 of 17 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
In 2008, Marion Cotillard re-enacted the shower scene in a photoshoot for Vanity Fair. Cotillard shares the same first name of Janet Leigh's character in this movie: both are called Marion.
30 of 87 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Included among the American Film Institute's 2001 list of the Top 100 Most Heart-Pounding American Movies.
4 of 7 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The Partridge Family (1970) mother Shirley Jones auditioned for, and almost got, the part of Marion Crane. If she had won the role of Marion, who knows if she would have been offered a wholesome family sitcom ten years later. She might have been seen as too controversial to star in such a show if she had previously starred in one of the most infamous slasher films ever.
9 of 21 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The movie features seven actors and actresses who starred on The Twilight Zone (1959). Vera Miles (Lila Crane) starred in The Twilight Zone: Mirror Image (1960). Martin Balsam (Milton Arbogast) starred in The Twilight Zone: The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine (1959) and The Twilight Zone: The New Exhibit (1963). John McIntire (Sheriff Al Chambers) appeared in The Twilight Zone: The Chaser (1960). Simon Oakland (Dr. Fred Richmond) appeared in The Twilight Zone: The Rip Van Winkle Caper (1961) and The Twilight Zone: The Thirty-Fathom Grave (1963). Vaughn Taylor (George Lowery) appeared in The Twilight Zone: Time Enough at Last (1959), The Twilight Zone: Still Valley (1961), The Twilight Zone: I Sing the Body Electric (1962), The Twilight Zone: The Incredible World of Horace Ford (1963), and The Twilight Zone: The Self-Improvement of Salvadore Ross (1964). Lurene Tuttle (Mrs. Chambers) appeared uncredited in The Twilight Zone: Sounds and Silences (1964). John Anderson (California Charlie) appeared in The Twilight Zone: A Passage for Trumpet (1960), The Twilight Zone: The Odyssey of Flight 33 (1961), The Twilight Zone: Of Late I Think of Cliffordville (1963), and The Twilight Zone: The Old Man in the Cave (1963).
12 of 33 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Hilton A. Green was Sir Alfred Hitchcock's assistant director. Two decades later, Green would start producing a series of sequels/prequels to this film.
4 of 8 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The famous shower scene in this film ended up influencing a major sequence of another very controversial, R-rated film released b Universal almost a generation later: Brian De Palma's "Scarface". De Palma was impressed that the PSYCHO shower scene hinted at horrifying carnage but didn't actually SHOW explicit nudity and gore, and used similar quick-cut elements for a scene in SCARFACE where a man is dismembered by a chainsaw-wielding Colombian drug dealer while handcuffed to the top of a shower stall. Fans of each movie ended up feeling that there was much more gore than they actually saw, thanks to smart editing and cinematography. In fact, the chainsaw scene ended up being a minor footnote in the ultimately-successful battle by De Palma and Universal to get SCARFACE an R rating instead of the initial X it was given; the MPAA only asked De Palma to make one edit from that scene, and De Palma had forgotten the unacceptable image (of a severed arm) was there at all and happily cut it out of the movie.
The car behind Marion as she is driving through downtown is a 1959 Plymouth Fury. Considered advanced for its day, it featured a push-button automatic transmission and photoelectric automatic dimmer.
The policeman who finds Marion asleep is driving a 1958 Ford Galaxie.
Norman says that their business dropped away "when the highway was moved." This was a typical situation when the interstate highway system was being built in the fifties and sixties. The legendary Route 66 was one such victim in the western U.S., with large numbers of roadside businesses suddenly finding themselves on what became backroads as the main, more luxurious routes were opened to the public.
Final film of Lillian O'Malley.
When Norman Bates is about to spy on Marion Crane (through a hole in the wall), he holds an image of the biblical story of "Susanna and the Elders" (Chapter 13 of the Book of Daniel). In the story, two Jewish Elders (authority figures) spy on a naked woman while she bathes. They attempt to blackmail her into having sex with them, threatening her with a false charge of adultery. This story of voyeurism and corrupt authority has been a popular subject in Christian art.
"Psycho" was one of the last major productions in Hollywood to be released in black-and-white film. It was released in 1960. 1961 was the last year in which the majority of Hollywood films were released in black and white.
The Bates main residence was famously modeled after the house depicted in the painting "House by the Railroad" (1925) by Edward Hopper. The painting depicts a real mansion, located in Haverstraw, New York. The house's building style was Second Empire architecture. It was a French style; originally developed for the redevelopment of Paris under Napoleon III, but becoming popular in both the United States and Canada from c. 1865 to 1900.
Alma Reville (Alfred Hitchcock's wife) reportedly spotted a few shots in the shower scene where Marion Crane's corpse appears to be breathing. She told Hitchcock, who had these shots edited out.
CBS was the first television channel to purchase television rights to "Psycho", at the price of 450,000 dollars. They had scheduled to screen the film on September 23, 1966, but eventually decided against it. A few days earlier, Valerie Percy (a politician's daughter) had been stabbed to death while her parents slept. News reports covered the sensational knife murder, and CBS decided that screening a fictional knife murder would be in bad taste. "Psycho" instead had its television debut on June 24, 1967, screened on the New York-based television station WABC-TV.
"Psycho" was first released to the home video market in 1979, on the LaserDisc format.
"Psycho" has been described as an inspiration to two different horror film genres: the "splatter film" (graphic portrayals of gore) and the "slasher film" (depictions of serial killers stalking and murdering a group of people). Several early examples in both genres were emulating plot points from "Psycho".
This is the only film of the franchise to not release in the 1980s, to be in the black & white format, and with the 1935 MPAA logo.
3 of 7 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
John Anderson, the used car salesman, is familiar to fans of the next generation as he was a notable guest star on Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Survivors (1989).
2 of 4 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Actress Meg Tilly has starred in two sequels to two classic movies. She first starred in 'Psycho II' (1983), the sequel to 'Psycho'(1960), then later starred in 'The Two Jakes' (1990), the sequel to 'Chinatown' (1974). These four pictures were each first released in four different decades.
4 of 12 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
$40,000, the amount stolen by Marion Crane (Janet Leigh ), is the same amount deposited in the bank by Uncle Charlie (Joseph Cotten ) in Shadow of a Doubt (1943).
10 of 49 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Although it was believed that Sir Alfred Hitchcock was having problems with his marriage during production, some have disputed this as mere rumor.
11 of 59 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Based on Arbogast's coin-slot choice, and the sound inside the payphone when he calls Lila and Sam, a public phone call in 1960 cost 10¢.
2 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The periwinkle blue color mentioned by the sheriff's wife refers to the periwinkle plant, whose flowers are a light blue violet color. It has a storied magical and herbal tradition.
At 6:37 Hitchcock makes his cameo appearance standing on the sidewalk as seen from inside Marion's office.
The police officer suggests to Marion Crane that it is safer to sleep in motels, rather than sleeping in one's car. His advice leads to her death, as she is killed by a motel owner. The implication is that there is little safety in sharing a roof with a stranger. .
"Psycho" was considered unusual for its early depiction of "gender nonconformity". Norman Bates has two distinct personalities, one masculine and one feminine. When the feminine personality is dominant, he both dresses in women's clothes and considers himself to be female.
The butcher knife used by Bates is a,VForschner Victorinox 430-12.
During the scene where the Psychiatrist is explaining Bates' psyche, behind him on the file cabinet is a wooden box with a GW insignia. That was a popular office Globe Werniche teak wood index file box that now is considered a collectible.
2 of 7 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
It has been noted here that Walt Disney was disgusted with this movie, and, as a result, refused to let Hitchcock film at Disneyland and also made Loomis the surname of a villainous character in a Disney film a couple years later. Ironically, the company bearing his name owns, as of March 2019, five films directed by Hitchcock. Four (Rebecca (1940), Spellbound (1945), Notorious (1946) and The Paradine Case (1947)) were produced by David O. Selznick (Notorious was distributed by RKO under an arrangement with the producer; the rights later reverted to him), whose library- most of it- was later sold to ABC in the 1960s; in turn, ABC was acquired by Disney in 1996. Lifeboat (1944) was released by 20th Century Fox, whose parent company 21st Century Fox had its assets acquired by Disney in March of 2019.
In the scene where the psychiatrist is explaining about Norman the calendar on the wall reads 17 when it should read 20.
The record on Norman's turntable is Beethoven's Eroica. It was originally dedicated to Napoleon, but when Napoleon declared himself not to be for the republic but an emperor, Beethoven felt betrayed and angrily inked out the dedication on his manuscript. One might consider that Norman's mother's remarrying and turning her attention to her husband would be seen by Norman as the worst kind of betrayal.
In the film, Norman Bates habitually eats candy corn. It is a type of pyramid-shaped candy, with a flavor based on honey, sugar, butter, and vanilla. It was introduced by the Wunderle Candy Company in 1888. In the 1950s, marketing helped candy corn to become a Halloween staple candy.
Part of the film's epilogue is a detailed description of Norman Bates' mental delusions and disorders. One of them is implied rather than described vocally. Whenever his masculine side feels sexual attraction towards any woman, his feminine side kills that woman. In effect, Norman has been suppressing his own sexual desires for over a decade. And he eliminates any potential sexual or romantic partner for himself. Which is why his acquaintances describe him as a "hermit". The end result is self-imposed celibacy.
Robert Bloch (Norman Bates' creator) wanted the character to appear beneath suspicion to his peers. He worked on the character based on the notion (in his words) "that the man next door may be a monster unsuspected even in the gossip-ridden microcosm of small-town life".
The novelist Robert Bloch came up with the idea of a killer "living in isolation with a religiously fanatical mother" on his own. He only included a vague allusion to real-life murderer and body snatcher Ed Gein (1906-1984) in one of the final chapters of his novel "Psycho", without studying Gein's life. Years later, Bloch realized that the details of Gein's upbringing closely matched details from Norman Bates' upbringing in the novel. He commented on his surprise at the coincidence: "the imaginary character I'd created resembled the real Ed Gein both in overt act and apparent motivation".
There have been several written comments on the close similarities between real-life killer Ed Gein and fictional killer Norman Bates. Both men were solitary murderers in isolated rural locations. Each of them had deceased, domineering mothers. Each of them had sealed off a room in their home as a shrine to their respective mothers. Each of them dressed in women's clothes. However, Gein was apprehended after killing only twice. His only known victims were tavern owner Mary Hogan in 1954 and hardware store owner Bernice Worden in 1957.
Peggy Robertson (1916-1998), script supervisor and personal assistant to Alfred Hitchcock, was the one who suggested buying the film rights to the novel "Psycho". She had read a glowing review of the novel in a column published by "The New York Times". The column had been written by literary critic and mystery novelist Anthony Boucher (1911-1968).
Alfred Hitchcock's regular director's fee in the late 1950s amounted to 250,000 dollars. For "Psycho", he forfeited his regular fee. His payment was a 60% stake in the film negative.
Alfred Hitchcock acquired the film rights to the novel "Psycho" in his own name, rather than that of a film studio or a production company. He acquired the film rights at the price of 9,500 dollars.
Screenwriter Joseph Stefano found the character of Norman Bates (as depicted in the novel) overly unsympathetic. He created a more likable Norman by eliminating darker elements of the novel. In the novel, Norman was a hard drinker, and was fascinated with "spiritualism, the occult and pornography". Stefano's version of the character never touched alcohol, and did not have a series of disturbing hobbies.
The first draft of the screenplay for "Psycho" was written by television writer James P. Cavanagh (1922-1971). Cavanagh was considered a master of black humor, but had never actually written the screenplay of an entire film. His version of the screenplay was rejected, for closely resembling a "television short horror story". Cavanagh was replaced by novice screenwriter Joseph Stefano (1922-2006), who had scripted his first film in 1958. Stefano had made a favorable impression at a job interview with Alfred Hitchcock, and had ideas on how to revise the character of Norman Bates.
Mary Crane was a relatively minor character in the "Psycho" novel, depicted in only two of the novel's chapters. Her film counterpart, Marion Crane, was more fleshed out as a character. Half the film's narrative involves Marion and her life story.
In the film, Marion Crane's emotions towards Norman Bates were intended to be "a maternal sympathy", rather than her viewing him a potential romantic partner. Their conversation was used to highlight some of Norman's positive traits.
In the novel, Sam Loomis falls in love with Lila Crane, after having lost her sister Mary Crane. Alfred Hitchcock decided to eliminate this romantic subplot in the film, because it would remove the audience's focus from the murder mystery. Screenwriter Joseph Stefano also disliked this subplot, because he felt that Sam's love seemed "cheap".
A scene of the film cryptically depicts Lila Crane looking through a book with a blank cover. The book belongs to Norman Bates, and she seems to find it disturbing. But the audience never views the book's contents. In the novel, Lila simply finds out that Norman collects pornographic illustrations.
In the novel, Sam Loomis figures out Norman Bates' pathology and explains it to Lila Crane. Screenwriter Joseph Stefano decided that the exposition should be delivered by an actual psychiatrist, not an amateur psychologist like Sam. Stefano based the new psychiatrist character on the therapists which he was interacting with in real life. Stefano was in therapy due to a difficult relationship with his own mother.
Due to the censorship rules of the Hays Code, Marion Crane's murder scene was less violent than its counterpart in the novel. In the novel, Norman Bates decapitates Mary Crane. In the film, Norman stabs Marion Crane to death. He does not mutilate her corpse.
The set buildings for the Bates Motel and the Bates residence were constructed at the Universal Studios back-lot. They used the same stage which had been once used for the classic horror film "The Phantom of the Opera" (1925).
Alfred Hitchcock was under contract to deliver one more film to Paramount Pictures, but Paramount's executives believed that "Psycho" would be a box office flop. Which is why they repeatedly tried to scrap the project. They felt that the original novel was "too repulsive" and impossible to adapt to film, and that the film version lacked the typical cast of high-profile actors.
In an attempt to minimize the cost of the film's production, Alfred Hitchcock hired film crew members who were used to typical fees for television productions. In all, his crew cost 62,000 dollars to pay.
The film was produced at the end of Janet Leigh's seven-year contract with Paramount Pictures, which she had signed in 1953. She owed them one more film to fulfill the terms of the contract, and "Psycho" was the film which they offered to her. She agreed to appear in the film for a quarter of her usual fee, being paid only 25,000 dollars.
The film was co-produced by Shamley Productions (a production company owned by Alfred Hitchcock) and Paramount Pictures. In 1964, Universal Pictures acquired the rights to Shamley and its film productions. In 1968, Paramount sold all rights of "Psycho" to Universal.
"Psycho'"s daily filming started in the morning and typically finished by 6 p.m. On Thursdays, film director Alfred Hitchcock insisted on terminating filming at an earlier hour. He did not want to miss his weekly visit (with his wife) at the restaurant Chasen's.
The film was primarily shot at Revue Studios, the then-corporate name for the former Universal Studios back-lot (to match the name of the new owner). Since 1958, the Revue Studios' facility was used for filming television programs, such as "Leave It to Beaver". The parent company Revue Studios was also the main production company for the anthology television series "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (from 1955 to 1963). The film's director, Alfred Hitchcock, habitually used their facilities.
Much of the film was shot with 50 mm lenses on 35 mm cameras. This provided an angle of view similar to human vision, which was intended to give the audience a sense of involvement in the film's events.
Assistant director Hilton A. Green shot helicopter footage of Phoenix, Arizona for the opening scene. The footage was too shaky to be fully used, so it was spliced with footage from the studio.
For the scenes where Marion Crane drives away from Phoenix, a film crew shot footage on Highway 99 between Gorman and Fresno, California.
Assistant director Hilton A. Green found a young woman who matched his visual image of Marion Crane. He photographed her entire wardrobe. The photos were used by wardrobe supervisor Helen Colvig to provide realistic clothes for Marion in the film.
In the film, the Bates main residence was based on the painting "House by the Railroad" (1925) by Edward Hopper. The cartoonist Charles Addams (1912 - 1988) had used the same painting as a source for drawing the Addams Mansion for the comic strip "The Addams Family" (1938-1964).
During filming, Alfred Hitchcock requested the creation of various versions of the "Mother corpse". It seemed that he could not decide on which one to use. Janet Leigh speculated that Hitchcock was uncertain "which corpse would be scarier for the audience".
Lead actors Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh were encouraged to improvise on how they would interpret their characters. The main limitation was that no improvisation would involve moving the camera.
The scene at the real estate office where (Marion Crane works) required a number of retakes. Janet Leigh had problems in properly using the term "inordinately" during the scene.
The shower scene of the film was shot between December 17 and December 23, 1959. Janet Leigh was forced to postpone filming the scene twice. First she had to recover from a cold, then she had to wait for her period to end.
Assistant director Hilton A. Green and storyboard artist Saul Bass had originally filmed the scene where Arbogast walks up the stairs in the Bates house. Alfred Hitchcock scraped their scene, and re-filmed it. In his view, their version did not match the role of the character in the story. They did not portray Arbogast as an innocent person, but as a sinister intruder.
For the shower scene, composer Bernard Herrmann created an original film score, on his own initiative. It consisted of "screeching violins, violas, and cellos". Alfred Hitchcock originally rejected this music piece, as he wanted no music for this sequence. Herrmann insisted that his score should be used, and Hitchcock eventually realized that the music intensified the scene. He increased Herrmann's payment as a reward.
Alfred Hitchcock claimed in different interviews that the final version of the shower scene involved either "70" different camera shots, or "78" different shots. A number of film scholars who studied the shower scene have concluded that it only includes 60 different camera shots.
The sound of the knife entering flesh (in the shower scene) was created by plunging a knife into a casaba melon.
The shower scene involves the depiction of blood in the water. The prop used was Hershey's chocolate syrup, as it has more realistic density than stage blood.
The showgirl Marli Renfro (1938-) was reportedly hired as Janet Leigh's body double for the film's shower scene. The extent of her involvement is uncertain. Renfro was interviewed in a 2017 documentary, as one of the last surviving cast members from "Psycho".
Various news sources have falsely reported that Marli Renfro (Janet Leigh's body double) was eventually murdered. Renfro was actually still alive in 2017. The news reports confused her with Myra Davis, who had briefly served as a stand-in for Janet Leigh in order to check lighting (in preparation for filming a scene). Davis was murdered in 1988 by one of her neighbors.
In 1970, storyboard artist Saul Bass published 48 of his storyboard drawings which had been used for the shower scene in "Psycho". His storyboards introduced key aspects of the final scene, including that the killer initially appears as a silhouette. Bass had provided similar drawings for "Vertigo" (1958).
While entrusting the shooting of various film footage and minor scenes to assistants, Alfred Hitchcock insisted that he had to personally direct the shower scene. According to Janet Leigh: "I was in that shower for seven days, and, believe me, Alfred Hitchcock was right next to his camera for every one of those seventy-odd shots."
For the shower scene, two different cameras were used. One of them was a Mitchell Camera, a type that was widely used during the Golden Age of Hollywood. The other camera was a handheld Eclair camera. The type was popularized by the French New Wave movement, as it allowed for a freer form of film shooting.
Marion Crane's eyes should be dilated after her death, but they are not. The contact lenses needed for this effect would require 6 weeks of acclimation in order for Janet Leigh to wear them. Alfred Hitchcock did not want further delays in the film's production, and decided to avoid using the contact lenses.
The music score in the film's shower scene reportedly had the string instruments emulating bird screeches, in order to fit the recurring images of birds in the film.
The censorship board which examined "Psycho" protested the depiction of intimacy between Sam Loomis and Marion Crane, an unmarried couple. Alfred Hitchcock offered to re-shoot the scenes, with the presence of censors on the film set to examine the scenes first-hand. All the censors declined to volunteer working on the set of "Psycho", and the scenes were kept despite their initial protests.
The group of censors in charge of enforcing industry standards on "Psycho" reportedly had a disagreement. They could not decide whether Janet Leigh's breasts were visible (and thus prohibited by the Hays Code) or sufficiently covered (and thus allowed by the Hays Code). Alfred Hitchcock exploited their disagreement to make no cuts in scenes which otherwise emphasized Leigh's bosom.
"Psycho" had its first screenings in the DeMille Theatre (located in Times Square) and the Baronet Theatre. Both theaters were located in New York City.
"Psycho" was the first film released in the United States under a "no late admission" policy, based on the demands of Alfred Hitchcock. Hitchcock was following a French trend of the time. Film director Henri-Georges Clouzot (1907 - 1977) had introduced this policy in France, for the release of the horror film "Les Diaboliques" ("The Devils", 1955). Clouzot was also the first director to convince the audience to avoid spoiling the ending to the general public, and Hitchcock followed his lead.
Alfred Hitchcock decided to not have private screenings of "Psycho" for professional film critics, against the industry standards of the time. Film critics had to wait to see the film, along with the general public.
During the initial release of "Psycho", lead actors Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins were prohibited from appearing in any interviews, on "television, radio, and print". Alfred Hitchcock was afraid that they would reveal plot elements to the public.
The original film trailer of Psycho featured unusually jovial music. Alfred Hitchcock had decided to re-use the music theme from his comedy film "The Trouble with Harry" (1955).
The original film trailer of "Psycho" did not feature Janet Leigh in any way, as she was no longer available for filming. In her place, they used Vera Miles. She wore a blonde wig to imitate Leigh.
In 1970, "Psycho" was first added to Universal Pictures' syndicated programming packages for local television stations. This was the only way it was available to the television public until c. 1990, when Universal first offered the film's screening rights to cable channels.
During the initial release of "Psycho", several film critics either derided it as "a gimmick movie", or protested against its content. British film critic Caroline Alice Lejeune (1897 - 1973) chose to resign from her work and to permanently retire, protesting against the perceived decline of moral standards in the film industry.
In the film, Norman Bates is revealed to be keeping his childhood toys and stuffed animals in his bedroom. This is seen as part of Norman's unwillingness or inability to move from the past. He has devoted his entire life to keeping the past alive.
On its initial release, "Psycho" broke box-office records in Canada, France, Japan, South America, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It was the second highest-grossing film of 1960, behind "Spartacus". It remains the most commercially successful film of Alfred Hitchcock's entire career.
"Psycho" contains recurring references to birds in both its dialogue and the images. Marion and Lila's last name is Crane (like the bird of that name), and they live in Phoenix (a city named after the Phoenix bird). Norman Bates' hobby is staffing birds, and he compares Marion's eating habits to a bird. There are also pictures of birds in the motel room.
The psychiatrist towards the end of the film comments on Norman Bates' possessive feelings towards his mother. Some film scholars have seen incestuous undertones in their relationship, and Norman killed a potential stepfather in order to keep his mother to himself. The situation is reminiscent of Sigmund Freud's Oedipus complex, a purportedly universal phase in the life of a young boy in which he hates his father and wishes to have sex with his mother.
Early in the film, Norman Bates emphasizes his hobby as a taxidermist. The last few scenes in the film imply that he used his skills to mummify his own mother. In both cases, he is trying to create an illusion of life for corpses.
The composer Bernard Herrmann initially refused to work on "Psycho". Due to the film's lower budget than previous Hitchcock productions, Herrmann had to accept working at a reduced fee. He was reluctant to do so. But once hired, Herrmann started enthusiastically working on new ideas for the film score.
The composer Bernard Herrmann decided against hiring a full symphonic ensemble for the film score of "Psycho". He instead wrote music for a string orchestra, providing the film with an unusual all-string soundtrack. The strings played "con sordini" (muted) for all the music other than the shower scene, creating a darker and more intense effect.
In the scene where Lila Crane explores the upstairs of the Bates House, she opens an untitled book in Norman Bate's bedroom. Hitchcock originally envisioned her perusing photos of half naked native tribes from Africa, as might appear in a volume of the National Geographic Magazine. However, studio censors forbid it at the time.
In Robert Bloch's original novel, Norman Bates is pudgy and middle aged. But Hitchcock knew that without a more conventional looking leading man his film would have way less box office appeal.
1 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
At 30:01 there is an error in the subtitle. Norman states that the cabin has "stationery with "Bates Motel" written on it. Instead of "stationery" (think of "e" as in envelope) the subtitles have "stationary" (meaning "not moving".
1 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Perhaps because of his disapproval of Psycho, and to insult Sir Alfred Hitchcock, Walt Disney chose Loomis as the name of the family that adopts the seal in the wholesome Disney TV show double-episode, "Sammy the Wayout Seal", two years later in 1962. Thus the Disney show borrows the whole name "Sam Loomis" from Psycho. Perhaps most pointedly, in the Disney show, one of the young Loomis sons is played by Billy Mumy, whom one year earlier in 1961, Hitchcock had physically threatened on set while directing "Bang! You're Dead" from his own TV show, Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
1 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
John McIntire, John Anderson, Virginia Gregg, and Jeanette Nolan all appeared in The Virginian: Bitter Autumn (1967).
0 of 3 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Included among the 25 films on the American Film Institute's 2005 list of AFI's 100 Years of Film Scores.
The film's first scene is set on December 11th, placing its events in early winter. In the United States, December 11 is known as "Indiana Day". The state of Indiana has its annual state holiday to commemorate its admission to the Union on December 11th, 1816.
One of Norman Bates' first lines in the film explains why his motel is usually vacant. It is located next to a defunct highway, and there is little traffic in the area. He is running a failing business.
0 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
While filming "Psycho", Janet Leigh was reportedly shocked to realize how vulnerable people are while taking a shower. She subsequently started locking all the doors and windows, whenever she had to take a shower or bath.
Film director Alfred Hitchcock and composer Bernard Herrmann, who worked together in "Psycho", continued their professional collaboration until 1966. They eventually had a falling out, due to disagreements over the film score of "Torn Curtain" (1966).
The fictional town of Fairvale most of the film takes place in is shown to be in Shasta County, California. Shasta County is at least 900 miles and a 14 hour drive from the film's starting point of Phoenix, Arizona on the present-day Interstate Highway System, much of which hadn't been built or was under construction in 1960. The drive at the time would have taken significantly more time.
Alfred Hitchcock: At six minutes 35 seconds, man wearing a cowboy hat outside Marion's office.
149 of 159 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Alfred Hitchcock: [mother] Norman has a close relationship with his mother.
30 of 48 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Alfred Hitchcock: [bathroom] Marion hides in the bathroom to count the required number of bills.
18 of 30 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Alfred Hitchcock: [hair] Lila, and Mother.
16 of 42 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Sir Alfred Hitchcock received several letters from ophthalmologists who noted that Janet Leigh's eyes were still contracted during the extreme close-ups after her character's death. The pupils of a true corpse dilate after death. They told Hitchcock he could achieve a proper dead-eye effect by using belladonna drops. Hitchcock did so in all of his later movies.
361 of 365 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Sir Alfred Hitchcock tested the fear factor of Mother's corpse by placing it in Janet Leigh's dressing room and listening to how loud she screamed when she discovered it there.
322 of 326 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The shot of Arbogast falling backward down the stairs was a process shot of Martin Balsam sitting stationary and waving his arms, as if losing his balance, in front of a screen projecting a previously filmed dolly shot moving down the stairs.
124 of 125 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The ending involves a superimposition of three elements that many people fail to notice. The last shot of Norman Bates' face has a still frame of a human skull superimposed on it, almost subliminally. The skull is that of Mother. This then dissolves into the shot of the chain pulling the car with Marion's body out of the swamp. The chain is placed so that it appears to be moving through where Norman/Mother's heart would be, symbolically showing that the two are tied together.
268 of 274 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The stabbing scene in the shower is reported to have taken seven days to shoot, using seventy different camera angles, but only lasts forty-five seconds in the movie.
145 of 147 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Despite his reputation for cultivating extended working relationships with his leading ladies, after observing the reception of this movie, Sir Alfred Hitchcock reluctantly told Janet Leigh that they could never work together again, as she would always be remembered for her on-screen death as Marion Crane.
124 of 126 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
In total, three actresses recorded Norma Bates' dialogue. Their recordings were then mixed together until Sir Alfred Hitchcock found the right tone of voice for each particular scene.
82 of 83 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Contrary to a widely told tale, Sir Alfred Hitchcock did not arrange for the water to suddenly go ice-cold during the shower scene to elicit an effective scream from Janet Leigh. This urban legend appears to have originated with Universal Studios tour guides making up an interesting thing to tell tourists as they passed the "Psycho" house, one of the most popular attractions on the lot. Janet Leigh said that the crew took great care to keep the water warm, and filming of the scene took an entire week.
142 of 146 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The MPAA objected to the use of the term "transvestite" to describe Norman Bates in the final wrap-up. They insisted it be removed until Joseph Stefano proved to them it was a clinical psychology term. They thought he was trying to get one over on them and place a vulgarity in the picture.
99 of 101 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
In the shower scene, there are two split-second frames of the knife touching Marion's body.
116 of 119 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The shower scene has over ninety splices in it, and did not involve Anthony Perkins at all. Contrary to popular belief, it wasn't due to a scheduling conflict Perkins had for the Broadway musical "Greenwillow", but actually a deliberate decision on Sir Alfred Hitchcock's part. On this subject, Perkins states "Hitchcock was very worried that the dual role and nature of Norman Bates would be exposed if I were to appear in that scene. I think it was the recognizability of my silhouette, which is rather slim and broad in the shoulder. That worried him."
188 of 196 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Norman's mother was voiced by Paul Jasmin, Virginia Gregg, and Jeanette Nolan. Nolan provided some of the screams when Lila discovers the corpse of Mrs. Bates. The three voices were thoroughly mixed, except for the last speech, which is all Gregg's.
101 of 104 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
At the end of the shower scene, the first few seconds of the camera pull-back from Janet Leigh's face is a freeze-frame. Sir Alfred Hitchcock did this because, while viewing the rushes, his wife noticed the pulse in Leigh's neck throbbing.
117 of 121 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Stephen King said "people remember the first time they experienced Janet Leigh, and no remake or sequel can top that moment when the curtain is pulled back and the knife starts to do its work".
106 of 110 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Marli Renfro was paid four hundred dollars as Janet Leigh's body double for some shots (according to some reports, she was only used for the scene of Marion's body being wrapped in the shower curtain). Although Leigh said for many years that there was never anyone actually naked in the shower, she admitted late in her life that Renfro did some shots nude. She also mentioned in her autobiography that she was nude in some scenes as the flesh-colored moleskin was washed away from her breasts. "What to do? ...To spoil the so-far successful shot and be modest? Or get it over with and be immodest. I opted for immodesty."
70 of 72 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Sir Alfred Hitchcock strictly mandated, and even wrote into theater managers' contracts, that no one arriving after the start of each showing of this movie would be admitted into the theater until the beginning of the next showing. Advertising artwork deceived audiences into thinking that Janet Leigh was its star, and patrons arriving after her murder would wonder where she was. Newspaper advertisements cleverly piqued audience curiosity with such statements as "You MUST see 'Psycho' from the very beginning. No one, not even the President of the United States, not the theater manager's brother, not even the Queen of England (God bless her), will be allowed into the theater after the beginning of each showing of "Psycho". This is to allow you to enjoy "Psycho" more. By the way, after you see the film, please do not give away the ending. It's the only one we have." News cameras photographed audience members waiting in lines outside theaters to see this movie, creating tremendous curiosity about the movie, and adding extra publicity.
161 of 171 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Marli Renfro, the unbilled nude model who doubled for Janet Leigh in portions of the murder sequence, was featured as a Playboy cover girl on the September 1960 issue while this movie was still in theaters. Quite appropriately, she was pictured on the cover taking a shower.
77 of 80 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Despite the fact that the entire movie is in black-and-white, several viewers vividly (and specifically) recall the "red" blood as it swirled down the shower drain. Obviously, this could not be true, not just for the fact of the black-and-white film, but the blood was actually Bosco chocolate syrup. Although theatrical movies were produced in color at the time, newsreels were shown in black-and-white. Filming the movie in black-and-white might have made it seem less gory, but it also might have seemed more real to viewers at the time, who were used to seeing the news in black-and-white. Perhaps by coincidence, Dr. Richard Thorndyke (Mel Brooks) is "stabbed' by a rolled up newspaper in High Anxiety (1977).
91 of 96 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Because he was working with a low budget, Sir Alfred Hitchcock did not want to use top marquee names, with the exception of Janet Leigh. But he hired her because he knew audiences would be shocked to see a star of her stature killed off early in the movie. (There is a slight giveaway in the credits, however, where instead of first billing, her name appears last as "And Janet Leigh as Marion Crane.") She was paid twenty-five thousand dollars for the role.
79 of 83 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Bernard Herrmann achieved the shrieking sound of the shower scene by having a group of violinists saw the same note over and over. He called the motif "a return to pure ice water."
67 of 70 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Sir Alfred Hitchcock was very uneasy about the morphing of Norman's face into Mother's at the end of the movie. He sent out three different versions of the movie during its initial release. The first version included the ending seen on all prints today, the second contained no morphing at all, and the third contained the trick at the end, yet also included it at an earlier point in the movie. When Sam Loomis (John Gavin) comes back to the Bates Motel to look for Arbogast, there is a zooming shot of Norman standing by the swamp, looking very sinister. The third version of the movie included the subtle morphing of Norman's face into Mother's at this moment.
66 of 69 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
For the high angle above the stairs in the Arbogast murder scene and the shot of Norman carrying "Mother" to the fruit cellar, the camera was placed in a cage hung from rails on the ceiling.
52 of 54 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
When Norman spies on Marion as she gets ready to shower, the painting he removes from the parlor wall is of Susannah and the Elders, in which a young woman is unknowingly watched as she bathes.
37 of 38 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
In the Collector's Edition DVD documentary, Janet Leigh says that a nude body double was used in portions of the shower scene. The DVD notes include a quote from Sir Alfred Hitchcock, in an interview with François Truffaut, in which he says the same thing.
44 of 46 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Sir Alfred Hitchcock paid title sequence designer Saul Bass (also credited as "Pictorial Consultant") $2,000 to draw storyboards for the scene where Arbogast is killed at the stairs. Bass was excited about the movie, and asked Hitchcock for the opportunity. Hitchcock discarded his work because the shots showed Arbogast's feet slowly going up the stairs and this prepared the audience for a shock. Hitch wanted it to be a surprise, and that's why he filmed Arbogast in a completely natural way.
62 of 66 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
In the book, Norman is about forty. In the movie, he is about twenty-six. Sir Alfred Hitchcock deliberately aged him down to make him seem less predator and creep-like, and more like a put upon victimized man-boy, to elicit audience sympathy for him, and to make the ending reveal when he turns out to be the killer more shocking.
42 of 44 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The shot of the knife appearing to enter Marion's abdomen was achieved by pressing it against her body so as to dent the skin slightly, withdrawing it rapidly, and then playing that shot backwards.
49 of 52 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Bernard Herrmann had written a cue for the climax where Mrs. Bates is revealed to be a skeleton and Norman the true killer. However, on the advice of Sir Alfred Hitchcock, Herrmann reused the theme from the shower scene. The alternate cue can be heard on the 1997 album conducted by Joel McNeely and performed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
39 of 41 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
During post-production, Sir Alfred Hitchcock had several wrangles with the censors over scenes they considered objectionable, including the opening scene (with Marion in bed in her bra after obviously having had an afternoon tryst with Sam), the suggested nudity and brutality of the shower sequence, and both the visual and aural depiction of a toilet. He managed to mostly get his own way, however, although he later said the opening scene should have featured Janet Leigh's bare breasts.
53 of 57 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Bernard Herrmann composed the cue "The Swamp" for the scene where Marion's car is sinking in the swamp. But Sir Alfred Hitchcock told Herrmann not to use the swamp cue in order to increase the suspense and the tension through silence. So the swamp cue wasn't used in the movie.
37 of 40 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
At 00:48 when Marion tells Norman she was worried that "Mother" could harm him, Norman replies "but she is harmless, as harmless as these stuffed birds" This hints at Mother's true condition.
23 of 24 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Immediately prior to the closing sequence of Norman Bates in his jail cell, as the camera moves down the hallway to where police have confined him, the uniformed guard at the cell door is Ted Knight, best remembered as pompous, dim-witted news anchor Ted Baxter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970), and also the uptight judge who was Rodney Dangerfield's adversary in Caddyshack (1980).
50 of 56 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
According to Stephen Rebello, the Hays Office censors requested changes to the shower scene. Some believed they had caught a brief glimpse of one of Janet Leigh's breasts. (Rebello confirms that "there are definitely a couple of frames showing a bare breast and nipple.") Sir Alfred Hitchcock waited several days and sent the movie back unedited. This time, it passed the censors' inspection. For the "couple of frames" in question, Marion's head is turned from the camera, so it's not clear whether the breast belongs to Leigh. Leigh maintained: "It was me the whole time in that shower, except for the time when he's wrapping the body in the shower curtain." But Robert Graysmith claims that Leigh's body double, Marli Renfro, was used for some of the shower scene shots as well.
48 of 54 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The shower scene was originally written to see only the knife-wielding hand of the murderer. Sir Alfred Hitchcock suggested to Saul Bass, who was storyboarding the sequence, several angles that would capture screenwriter Joseph Stefano's description of "an impression of a knife slashing, as if tearing at the very screen, ripping the film."
37 of 42 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Hitchcock's stated reason for not allowing anyone in after the start of the movie, was that he didn't want a viewer arriving after the shower murder expecting to see the star Janet Leigh. But it's much more likely, he didn't want the surprise of the shower murder to be any less for a viewer because they missed the plot decoy of the embezzling crime that preceded it. In Hitchcock's own words: "All that my writer and I do in scheming surprises can be destroyed by letting the viewer walk in during the middle of the picture."
9 of 9 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
According to Psycho II (1983), Lila Crane (Vera Miles) and Sam Loomis (John Gavin) married after the events of the film and had a daughter named Mary (Meg Tilly). Sam had died by 1982.
31 of 38 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Sandwiches and milk, snacking from a bag of Candy Corn, and having peanut butter and crackers in the kitchen are the only times in the film series when Norman is seen preparing food of any kind at home. Since he murdered his mother as a teenager it will be assumed that he never learned to cook, and Norman (along with Tony Perkins) remained rail thin for 30 years.
7 of 7 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Norma's lover, Joe Consodine, is the one who convinced her to start the Bates Motel and gave her the money to start it. Norman winds up killing both Consodine and his mother (by poisoning their tea with strychnine). Then, ironically, after killing Consodine, Norman winds up taking over his business and running it for several years.
10 of 11 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
In the book, Norman Bates is having a whiskey induced "blackout" during the shower murder scene.
13 of 15 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The segment of detective Arbogast's murder, where he struggles to stay upright as the camera follows his backward fall down the stairs, while Norman's mother slashes at his face with a knife, uses a process shot. The actor was filmed from his front flailing his arms wildly about, while footage of a rapid descent of the staircase was projected behind him.
6 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Vera Miles' Lila Crane character is heroic in this movie and villainous in Psycho II (1983). In this movie, her stubbornness and refusal to give up investigating her sister's disappearance is what winds up solving the mystery and stopping the killer in his tracks. In the sequel, she is hellbent on avenging her sister's death, and her actions wind up causing the killing spree in the first place.
23 of 30 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
DIRECTOR TRADEMARK (Alfred Hitchcock): (Identifying with guilt): Marion's fears of being caught by her boss and the police officer, and Norman's clean-up of the murder scene.
29 of 40 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The American Film Institute ranked Norman Bates as #2 on the Top 50 Greatest Movie Villains.
13 of 16 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
During the last seconds of the slow zoom out from Marion's head laying lifeless on the bathroom floor, her throat moves as she gulps involuntarily. This disproves the common claim that a freeze frame or photo was used for this shot. In the next moment Janet Leigh blinked, so a clip of the shower head was inserted to cover the mistake. This breaks up the continuous shot that was intended: the zoom out from Marion's face, the pan away to the paper with the money hidden inside, then the pan to the Bates house with Norman coming back down the steps. With the difficulty of combining the three different sets seamlessly, the scene was never successfully re-shot.
5 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
According to Psycho IV: The Beginning (1990), the two previously unidentified women whom Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) killed were Holly (Sharen Camille) and Gloria (Bobbi Evors). Holly, whom he killed on July 4, 1951, was a teenage girl who tried to have sex with him, thereby earning the wrath of "Mother". Norman killed Gloria, an older woman, for the same reason.
18 of 24 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
During the shower scene, when Janet Leigh turns her back on her assailant, slow motion viewing reveals not a knife, but a stagehand, using a large stake-shaped piece of wood or leather plunging toward her back.
The scene where Marion smiles as she imagines Mr. Cassidy's remarks about her while she flees from justice, foreshadows Norman Bates's later imagining his mother's remarks about him, then smiling as he sits in jail. Suggesting that the their strong imaginations may help them to commit crimes. Only that in Norman's case, the ones he commits when he imagines that he is his mother, are much worse.
After Norman returns with a tray after being chewed out by his mother for feeding Marion, his reflection is seen dimly in the glass of a motel window as he tells her, "Mother... ...what is the phrase... 'she isn't herself today'". As Norman is the only one of the five major characters never seen reflected in a mirror, the scene hints subtly his own personality is fading, and he is becoming his mother.
The continuous shot moving from Marion's lifeless body in the shower, to the newspaper in her cabin hiding the rolled up money inside, to the Bates house through the window when Norman cries out after his mother shows up covered with blood, required optically compositing three different film segments. That was because the shower and motel rooms were separate sets, and the Bates house was actually on the backlot.
Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles, uses a publicity still which Hitchcock made for Psycho. Behind Hitchcock's wax replica holding a clapperboard for the film, there is a bathtub with a shower curtain draped inside it. A shadow shows Norman Bates's mother with knife raised, ready to stab its occupant.
When Janet Leigh signs the motel registry, the entry above seems to be that of another female guest, thus corroborating the questions asked at the end of the film, about other missing persons.
The two scenes of Norman's mother when she leaves her bedroom to go downstairs, are both shown from overhead outside her bedroom door. The first is when Norman, dressed as his mother, runs downstairs to kill Arbogast coming up them. The second is when Norman, fearing she'll be arrested for the murders, carries her protesting corpse downstairs to hide her in the cellar. The director has stated that his intention was to hide Mrs. Bates's appearance in a way not to arouse audience suspicion. But the two sightings of his mother from the same vantage point, once with Norman voicing her words, again misleads the audience into thinking she is both alive and dangerous. Thus setting up the suspense in the last scene when Lila, Marion's sister, visits the house alone to question the mother. Then hides in the cellar with the presumably dangerous mother after Norman shows up unexpectedly.
6 of 7 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The motel being cut off from the main highway when they moved it, thus reducing the number of visitors to the motel, is crucial to the plot. The Sheriff says Mrs. Bates was killed in her house ten years ago, which is only fifteen miles away from town according to Norman. Had the motel many more guests since that time, the people in town would have certainly found out from them that Mrs. Bates was still alive.
6 of 7 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Marion's bra changes from white (angelic) to black (bad) after she steals the $40,000 to show that she has done something wrong and evil. Similarly her purse changes from white to black after she steals the money.
10 of 14 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The highway patrolman who finds Marion Crane asleep in her car tells her that she should have slept in one of the motels in the area just to be safe. This might be what leads to her death.
28 of 48 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Marion and Norman have voiced over interior monologues in their heads: Marion imagines various people commenting about her theft at the beginning, and Norman talks to himself in his mother persona at the ending.
18 of 29 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Saul Bass's iconic movie titles, with gray bars that shred the names of the film's director and major cast players, hint strongly at the film's violent knife murders. They also hint that the killer has a split personality.
Martin Balsam plays the heroic and tragic private investigator Milton Arbogast in this movie, Norman Bates' second victim in the movie. Martin Balsam also played a serial killer on The Twilight Zone: The New Exhibit (1963). He played a museum employee who takes home and is made to take care of wax figures of a variety of serial killers throughout history (Jack the Ripper). The character turns out to be a serial killer by the episode's end, and he talks to the other wax figures in the episode; much like Norman Bates does in this movie.
12 of 18 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Body count: four (if you count Mother, though two earlier victims are mentioned in this movie, and subsequently named in the sequel). Mother, her lover, Marion, and the Detective
14 of 22 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
This film contains many "echoes" of Sir Alfred Hitchcock's earlier movie Vertigo (1958): prolonged sequences of sedately driving a car through the countryside; a receptionist gestures at some keys on a key rack, which indicates the empty rooms; the leading lady writes a note, only to rip the paper to pieces; a special sequence designed by Saul Bass features a huge close-up of a woman's eye, then zooms out again; the leading lady is killed about halfway through the movie; a detective and his female associate visit a local retail store to make inquiries; watched from above, the detective climbs a carpeted staircase up to a landing, to seek a lady who isn't there; a dead woman is dramatically revealed; and a doctor gives his expert opinion on the psychosis which ails the leading man.
9 of 13 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Norman uses three different knives on Marion, Arbogast, and Lila.
6 of 10 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Based on the social conventions of the time, and the facts of the story, Mrs. Bates would've been born in approximately 1915. Norman would've been born in about 1935, and would have murdered his mother and her lover when he was approximately 15 years old, while she would have been around 35.
5 of 9 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Diabolique (1955) is a French psychological horror film, made several years before Psycho (1960), and, like Psycho (1960), made on a small budget in black-and-white, and becoming hugely popular. Both Robert Bloch, whose novel on which Psycho (1960) is based, and Alfred Hitchcock, proclaimed their great admiration for it. Both films provide an unexpected shocker at the end by inverting their audience's expectations. In Psycho (1960), viewers believe that Norman's mother is alive, but in fact is really dead, so is not the killer. In Diabolique (1955), a character is shown murdered, and so is believed dead, but later revealed as a villain, and alive all along.
2 of 4 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
The scene where Vera Miles explores the bedroom of the deceased Mrs. Bates might have had some inspiration from the Faulkner short story, "A Rose for Emily."
2 of 7 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this