- Summaries (4)
In 1959, Sir Alfred Hitchcock (Sir Anthony Hopkins) and his wife, Alma Reville (Dame Helen Mirren), are at the top of their creative game as filmmakers amidst disquieting insinuations about it being time to retire. To recapture his youth's artistic daring, Sir Alfred decides his next movie will adapt the lurid horror novel, "Psycho", over everyone's misgivings. Unfortunately, as Sir Alfred self-finances and labors on this movie, Alma finally loses patience with his roving eye and controlling habits with his actresses. When an ambitious friend lures her to collaborate on a work of their own, the resulting marital tension colors Sir Alfred's work, even as the novel's inspiration haunts his dreams.
In 1959, Sir Alfred Hitchcock (Sir Anthony Hopkins) and his more often than not unheralded collaborator Alma Reville (Dame Helen Mirren), his wife, are revelling in their latest critical and box-office success: North by Northwest (1959). Some in the business believe Sir Alfred, now at age sixty, should hang up his hat while he is still on top, while the brass at Paramount Pictures, to whom he is under contract for one more movie, just wants him to follow North by Northwest (1959) with something in a similar vein to make them money. Sir Alfred, however, wants to stir his creative juices, unlike he has felt he has done with any movie of late. Against the desires of others, including Alma, he is determined that that next project will be a horror movie, specifically an adaptation of a book, that project which will eventually become Psycho (1960). For maximum impact, he wants to buy up whatever existing copies of the book are on the market, so that the public will have no idea what to expect with the movie when it's released, and to have the set closed. While Alma does faithfully support him in this endeavor, Barney Balaban (Richard Portnow), the President at Paramount Pictures, and Geoffrey Shurlock (Kurtwood Smith) with the Censor Board, do not, the former who refuses to finance the movie, leading to Sir Alfred needing to find alternate financing or self-finance, which would result in financial ruin if the movie does not make money, and the latter threatening not to provide certification over the proposed shower scene. These are only two of the external obstacles beyond some on-set problems, including Sir Alfred's mutual dislike of co-star Vera Miles (Jessica Beil), due to their previous working situations. Through it all, there may be issues at home as Sir Alfred suspects Alma of having an affair with writer Whitfield Cook (Danny Huston), who wanted Sir Alfred to use his latest manuscript as the basis for that follow-up to North by Northwest (1959), while Alma, long having despaired over Sir Alfred's obsessions with his leading ladies, most specifically Grace Kelly, just wants something in her life separate from him.
Sir Alfred Hitchcock opens his latest movie, North by Northwest (1959), to considerable success, but is troubled by a reporter's insinuation that he should retire. Seeking to reclaim the artistic daring of his youth, Sir Alfred turns down movie proposals, including Casino Royale and The Diary of Anne Frank, in favor of a horror novel called "Psycho" by Robert Bloch, based on the real-life crimes of murderer Ed Gein. Gein (Michael Wincott) appears in sequences throughout this movie, in which he seems to prompt Sir Alfred's imagination regarding the "Psycho" story, or act as some function of Sir Alfred's subconscious mind (for instance, drawing Sir Alfred's attention to sand on his bathroom floor, the quantity of which reveals how much time his wife Alma (Dame Helen Mirren) has been spending at the beach house with Whitfield Cook (Danny Huston)). Sir Alfred's wife and artistic collaborator, Alma, is no more enthusiastic about the idea than his colleagues, especially since she is being lobbied by their writer friend, Whitfield Cook, to look at his own screenplay. However, she warms to Sir Alfred's proposal, suggesting the innovative plot turn of killing the female lead early in the movie. The studio heads at Paramount Pictures prove to be more difficult to persuade, forcing Sir Alfred to finance the movie personally, and use his Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955) television crew (over at competitor Revue/Universal Pictures) to shoot the movie, his last with Paramount Pictures.
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