Psycho (1960)

 ●  English ● 1 hr 18 mins

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Phoenix office-worker Marion Crane is fed up with the way life has treated her. She has to meet her lover Sam in lunch breaks and they cannot get married because Sam has to give most of his money away in alimony. One Friday Marion is trusted to bank $40,000 by her employer. Seeing the opportunity to take the money and start a new life, Marion leaves town and heads towards Sam's California store. Tired after the long drive and caught in a storm, she gets off the main highway and pulls into The Bates Motel. The motel is managed by a quiet young man called Norman who seems to be dominated by his mother. Will Marion succeed in skipping town with the money? How will her stay at The Bates Motel turn out for her? How will Norman deal with years of his mother's domination and oppression?
See Storyline (May Contain Spoilers)

Cast: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles

Crew: Alfred Hitchcock (Director), John L Russell (Director of Photography), Bernard Herrmann (Music Director)

Rating: U (India)

Genres: Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Release Dates: 08 Sep 1960 (India)

Tagline: The Essential Alfred Hitchcock

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Did you know? The movie in large part was made because 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. Indeed, he ultimately used a crew consisting mostly of TV veterans and hired actors less well known than those he usually used. Read More
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as Norman Bates
as Marion Crane
as Lila Crane
as Tom Cassidy
as California Charlie
as Sam Loomis
as Sheriff Al Chambers
as Mrs. Chambers
as Det. Milton Arbogast
as Highway Patrol Officer
as Caroline
as Dr. Fred Richman
as George Lowery




Production Company




Screenplay Writer

Camera and Electrical

Director of Photography


Music Director


Set Decorator


Film Type:
Feature Film
Colour Info:
Black & White
Sound Mix:
Mitchell NC/BNC
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1, 1.37 : 1
The Essential Alfred Hitchcock
Revealing Mistakes
When Norman has pushed Marion's car into the swamp you can hear that the sound of the bubbles creates echoes. The scene was probably shot in a studio.

Revealing Mistakes
When Norman is walking through the ground floor of the house shortly before the shower scene, he grabs hold of the giant, wooden stair banisters, which wobble unnaturally.

Revealing Mistakes
When Marion is lying dead in the shower, an extreme close-up of her eyes is shown, which shows her pupils to be narrowly constricted. A dead person's eyes are fixed and dilated. (There is probably nothing Janet Leigh could have done about this, especially since the bright lights used in filming would cause her pupils to naturally constrict. However, the extreme close-up makes this point particularly noticeable, and Gus Van Sant made it a point to digitally alter Anne Heche's eyes in Psycho so that they are dilated.)

During the shower scene, when Norman is stabbing Marion, his right arm gets completely wet but when he walks away, it's dry.

In the shower, Marion's hand changes from thumb down to thumb up when she grabs the shower curtain and then pulls it down.

When Norman comes to clean the evidence of Marion Crane's death, there is blood on the floor. In the immediate capture, there is seen less blood in the same spot. Norman couldn't have mopped the blood away that quickly.

Revealing Mistakes
During the shower scene, when Marion is seen in front of the shower curtain, there are two different water jets, visible by different angles towards each other, revealing that besides the shower head, an additional source of water was used.

Revealing Mistakes
When Lila approaches Mother in the fruit cellar, we see Mrs. Bates seated in a four-legged chair. After Ms. Miles touches the corpse, it slowly spins around as if it's sitting on a swiveling chair. The effect was achieved by a prop man lying on his back rotating a camera head with wheels underneath Mother.

Revealing Mistakes
When Janet Leigh is in the car dealer bathroom getting the cash, as the envelope is being returned to her purse the top couple bills fold back revealing a $1 bill, not another $100 as the stack is expected to contain.

When the cop awakens Marion in her car, the driver's side windshield frame has dozens of grimy handprints and fingerprints from everyone whose touched it while setting up the shot. As she pulls into the car lot the grimy hand prints / smears are shown to be all over the door panels also.

As Marion approaches the restroom at California Charlie's used car lot, the door hinges on the left with the doorknob on the right and has dark (painted?) glass in the upper half. In the interior shot, the hinges and knob are just the opposite and the door is a solid slab. In the exterior shot as Marion exits the restroom, the door is not seen, and hinges are back on the left and latches on the right, consistent with the original view.

When Norman is making his way from the house to the hotel office to greet Marion, it is pouring rain outside. However, in the next shot when he's in the hotel office his suit is completely dry.

Det. Arbogast phones in about the Bates Motel and Norman. Later, he returns to the motel to investigate. There is a reaction shot of him looking at the Bates house. The sky in the background is clear and uniform. Arbogast glances behind him to make sure he isn't shadowed and then starts out for the house. Now, the sky in the background is obviously cloudy.

When the police officer backs in behind Marion's car on shoulder of the highway, no tire tracks from his vehicle are visible in the soft dirt.

While driving in Bakersfield, no car dealership can be seen through the windshield as Marion turns off a major road onto a wide, unlined street. The next exterior shot shows her car turning off a four-lane, lined street into California Charlie's used car lot.

As Marion falls out of the shower, her hair is soaking wet. But in the famous still shot of her lying on the floor, her hair is relatively dry.

The captions at the start of the film place the date as December 11th. Later in the film, Lila tells the sheriff that Marion disappeared "a week ago yesterday." This makes the date December 19th. But the calendar in the police station as the psychiatrist gives his report says it is the 17th.

At the car dealership, the same extras (people on the sidewalks) are seen repeatedly, walking in different directions.

Audio/Video Mismatch
When Marion drives away from the police officer, the unmistakable sound of a 1957 Ford starter can be heard, but she doesn't reach for the key (which is left of the steering wheel on the dashboard), or make any visible movement to use the shift lever.

Audio/Video Mismatch
When Norman first meets Marion his first words to her were an apology for not hearing her on account of the rain. He then asks her to accompany him into the office. His lips don't even move during this scene and he gestures with a hand signal for her to go inside instead; the audio must have been added later in post-production.
In 1992, Psycho (1960) was selected for preservation by The Library of Congress at The National Film Registry.

Hitchcock always preferred to film indoors on a soundstage and only the distant shots of the Bates Mansion were shot outside on the back-lot. 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 sound stage and the cut from exterior, back-lot, set to interior sound stage can clearly be seen as Lila approaches if you watch closely for the difference in the lighting when the camera cuts from her back to the porch and front door once she gets close.

In 2006, Scottish artist Douglas Gordon created a 24-hour slow-motion version of the film titled "24-Hour Psycho" that played at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

In the murder scene in the shower, there are two split second frames of the knife touching the body.

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.)

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.

On the Interstate 99 that eventually turns into Pacific Ave. near the Fife/Tacoma boarder in Washington State, there are several older hotels up 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 the horror movies, he renamed the motel, Bates Motel. In April of 2012, the hotel was torn down, but the hotel sign is still intact.

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) TV show the car lot's usual inventory was displaced in favor of shiny Edsels, Fairlanes and Mercury models from Ford.

In order to implicate viewers as fellow voyeurs 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.

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.

Paramount gave Hitchcock a very small budget to work with, because of their distaste with the source material. They also deferred most of the net profits to Hitchcock, thinking the film would fail. When it became a sleeper hit, Hitchcock made a fortune.

When Norman discovers the body of Marion Crane, he shouts "Mother! Oh God! God! Blood! Blood!". Alfred Hitchcock had the bass frequencies removed from Anthony Perkins' voice to make him sound more like a frightened teenager.

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.

To ensure the people were in the theaters at the start of the film (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.

This was Alfred Hitchcock's last film for Paramount. By the time principal photography started, Hitchcock had moved his offices to Universal and the film was actually shot on Universal's back lot. Universal owns the film today as well, even though the Paramount Pictures logo is still on the film.

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.

Joseph Stefano was adamant about seeing a toilet on-screen to display realism. He also wanted to see it flush. 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 film (and possibly first fictional film) ever to show a toilet flushing on screen.

The score, composed by Bernard Herrmann, is played entirely by stringed instruments.

For a shot right at the water stream, Alfred Hitchcock had a six-foot-diameter shower head made up so that the water sprayed past the camera lens.

The movie in large part was made because 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. Indeed, he ultimately used a crew consisting mostly of TV veterans and hired actors less well known than those he usually used.

Alfred Hitchcock deferred his standard $250,000 salary in lieu of 60% of the film's net profits. His personal earnings from the film exceeded $15 million. Adjusted for inflation, that amount would now top $150 million in 2006 dollars.

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, Hitch'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. Hitch's voice said simply "Brand X is a western." "Now for my picture", followed by a loud scream. End of commercial!

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. Alfred Hitchcock also withheld the ending part of the script from his cast until he needed to shoot it.

Janet Leigh received threatening letters after the film's release, detailing what they would like to do to Marion Crane. One was so grotesque she passed it on to the FBI. The culprits were discovered, and the FBI said she should notify them again if she ever received anymore letters.

Alfred Hitchcock bought the rights to the novel anonymously from Robert Bloch for only US$9,000. He then bought up as many copies of the novel as he could to keep the ending a secret.

Hitchcock's first horror movie.

On set, Alfred Hitchcock would always refer to Anthony Perkins as "Master Bates".

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, "33% of the effect of Psycho was due to the music."

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.

Every theater that showed the film had a cardboard cut-out installed in the lobby of Alfred Hitchcock pointing to his wristwatch with a note from the director 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".

Walt Disney refused to allow Alfred Hitchcock to film at Disneyland in the early 1960s because Hitchcock had made "that disgusting movie, 'Psycho'."

Although Janet Leigh was not bothered by the filming of the famous shower scene, 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.

In the opening scene, Marion Crane is wearing a white bra because 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.

Filmed in 30 days.

First American film ever to show a toilet flushing on screen.