The making of the “Psycho” shower scene


THERE have been plenty of feature-length documentaries about the making of classic films, but “78/52” may be the first to focus on one classic scene. It could be the last, too—not because it isn’t bubbling with insights and information, but because there are so few scenes which merit such a high level of attention. The subject of Alexandre O. Philippe’s fascinating treatise is the appallingly ferocious murder scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic nerve-jangler, “Psycho” (1960). Marion Crane (played by Janet Leigh) is washing in a motel shower when someone—seemingly a woman—stabs her to death with a kitchen knife. To cite just one sign of this sequence’s pop-cultural importance, an Australian indie band in the 1980s named itself The Shower Scene From Psycho. How many other film scenes have burned themselves so deeply into the collective consciousness that they have bands named after them?

According to “78/52”, what attracted Hitchcock to “Psycho” in the first place was the audacity of killing off the…Continue reading

Powered by WPeMatico

Redeeming Mary Magdalene

EVERY generation of artists has brought its own sensibilities and experiences to the depiction of canonical Christian stories. Giotto, an Italian painter, set Bible scenes in medieval Tuscany. Rembrandt gave his a hint of mercantile 17th-century Amsterdam. “Mary Magdalene” is similarly a retelling of some of the faith’s main events …

The mysterious reggaeton bangers of Mexico’s election

FOR evidence that modern democracy has lost its pep, look back to the age of cheery campaign jingles. The art form dominated elections from America to the Philippines after the second world war. Australian political parties used them well into the 1980s. It is tempting to believe that melodious campaigns …

The maddest March: at last, a 16-seed upsets a number one

THE line separating the improbable from the impossible is hard to pin down. The annual single-elimination tournament to crown the champion of North America’s National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in men’s basketball is known as “March Madness”, thanks to the steady diet of upsets it produces. Every year, a few …