FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE REVIEW: Way back when it was actually Friday, I saw Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho,” which stars Anthony Perkins (The Trial, The Black Hole), Vera Miles (The Searchers, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance), John Gavin (Spartacus, Imitation of Life), Janet Leigh (Touch of Evil, The Manchurian Candidate), Martin Balsam (12 Angry Men, Breakfast at Tiffany’s), and John McIntire (Wagon Train [TV series], The Virginian [TV series]). It is directed by Alfred Hitchcock (Vertigo, Rear Window), with the screenplay being written by Joseph Stefano (Two Bits, Shadow). When tasked to bank $40,000 by her employer, Marion Crane (Leigh) decides to take it for herself, fleeing from her past life to live a new one. On her way to California, Crane becomes consumed with paranoia and is forced to make a pit stop at a motel, run by a young man named Norman Bates (Perkins) who is constantly bossed around by his deranged mother.
I’ve been dying to dive into the Alfred Hitchcock vault for a long time now, being as how he is a legend in the film industry, and a while back I got to sit down and experience one of his most famous pictures: “Psycho.” Granted, I wanted to hold a marathon of Hitchcock features instead of reviewing them separately, but I couldn’t help myself once I was sucked into this endeavor. I mean, when you are offered the chance to watch a cinema classic, why not take it? Though the crowd around me watching the film could’ve been a bit more serious in viewing this piece, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience in watching this picture. In fact, I loved this movie, primarily because of how gripping it is. The dialogue is interesting and, at times, intense, the direction is engaging and unique, and the acting wraps everything up in a nice bow. I have never seen a Hitchcock movie fully (I’ve only seen the ending to “The Birds”), and I am saddened that I haven’t, for if his work is as good as “Psycho,” which I’ve heard it is, then I have been missing out on some quality features. Breaking down this movie itself, there are a ton of aspects that make it work well. For one, the dialogue is mature and for the most part not hokey. I’m not cutting down early cinema (though this wasn’t that long ago), but much of what was written was pioneered towards the lifestyle of that age. “The Wizard of Oz” replaced the term “murder” with “destroy,” for example, and many others have followed suit in presenting film that clearly represents the G-rated style of writing. Although all movies weren’t rated G back then, you could tell how old the story is by just reading the dialogue and studying the plot. “Psycho” has a screenplay that stands the test of time, when taking its setting out of context. The dialogue didn’t feel fluffy, but rather engaging, and I was hooked from the moment the presentation began. Of course, not all talking was concrete and serious, but most of it was, and I applaud Stefano for his work. As for Hitchcock himself, he is what solidified my fascination in this picture. If it weren’t for his direction, the dialogue could’ve taken a turn for the worst. He loves to lead you on, and provide subtle clues for the audience to think for themselves rather than be spoon fed the information. Towards the end of the film information is relayed back, but it was more for the characters’ understanding than our own. Many of the shots used were truly great, and the set design was haunting. The way this movie looked and felt was fun in its own way, as it was if I was seeing a modern story being told in a different era. Black-and-white wasn’t noticeable, as everything that molded this piece was fantastic. The performances that breathed life into this film were also a driving force that brought the story home. Everyone did a fairly good job, with a few stellar performances from Perkins, Leigh, and Balsam that made for an entertaining feature. I’m not a fan of horror, nor does this release suggest that it is a horror, so I took immense amounts of fun in watching this. It really symbolized a quality thriller, as it put me on the edge of my seat without having to rely on gore and jump scares (most of the time) to push the plot along. This was an all-around treat to take part in, as I was dying to get a taste of Hitchcock’s style and was thoroughly pleased. There are a few cons, mainly involving some cases of overacting or over exaggerated sequences, but overall this was a movie that will surely stand the test of time for years to come. If you haven’t seen this, I’d recommend you to do so. FINAL SCORE: 96%= Juicy Popcorn
This movie has been inducted into The Juicy Hall of Fame.
Here is the trailer: