The making of the “Psycho” shower scene

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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

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