Friday, 22 January 2016

Script to Screen - Psycho Review


Again we return to the work of the famed and spectacular Alfred Hitchcock, this time on one of his most famous and highest grossing pictures. Known for pushing the boundaries of what was deemed acceptable at the time, and essentially inventing the over the top murder scene we are used to today in one of the most celebrated deaths in cinema history.

Even though the film achieved its high financial success and cinematic praise, the actual budget of the film was very restricted, this led to the fact that the film is in black and white, even though colour was widely used and available at the time in cinema. This was also an intentional decision for the films atmosphere too though, making it more eerie.
The film opens with a women who wants to run away with her lover but is unable to due to financial reasons, so she steals money from her boss which she told was going to be banked for him, before escaping the city with the money. We are lead to believe that this woman is actually the main protagonist of the film, due to the plot thus far entirely focusing on her activities, which escalate in illegalness up until the point she is swiftly murdered on screen, yes, just like that she is murdered in front of us by a mysterious figure. After being the focus of the movie for an entire 30 odd minutes she is removed from the rest of the film.
This is the beginning of a series of miss directions the film points us towards, who we thought was our protagonist is taken away suddenly, and we are left confused, but suddenly the perspectives change, oddly we are shown the entire clean up scene of the murder, which starts to fill you with hope, hope that the man leaves no trace of the crime, you suddenly are on the other team because you think this man wasn't involved in her murder. “Hitchcock’s masterful filming of this scene cannot be overstated. Using two cameras, multiple close-ups, over 50 cuts and a good deal of chocolate syrup, he crafted in just three minutes one of the most terrifyingly realistic murder scenes ever shot on film” (Dwyer, 2007)
The music piece that features during the murder, was composed by Bernard Hermann. The score was also created on a budget, but this piece of music, the shrill notes we hear as we witness the stabbing, has become one of the most iconic music cues of all time. “Hermann, like Hitchcock, could be a bristly perfectionist, contentious, and pedant. Although Hermann was clearly not the sort who easily took direction” (Wiess, 2000).
There's a constant battle of sympathy though, this was intentional as Hitchcock didn't want you to know who you were rooting for until the final crescendo Fitting in with Hitchcock’s want for shifting sympathy, to achieve this he uses a wide variety of shots. Through this he allows us to experience the film from many different angles, putting us in the shoes of different people in the film and experience what they would be feeling
And finally, the misleading reaches its climax during the last arc of the film, where we find out the true identity of the killer in another early example of a iconic movie plot twist. And the final scene of this film reaches deep into you, leaving more questions that answers with a truly clever climax, with a dumbed down but intelligent explanation for the mental state of our killer.
Dwyer S (2007):
Wiess, E, (2000):
Illustration List

1 comment:

  1. Interesting review Brad :)

    Make sure that you have all of the required elements in your bibliography...see here for full info on what you need -

    Good to see you getting these out nice and sharpish :)