Director Alexandre O Philippe's gripping documentary takes an unprecedented look at Alfred Hitchcock's infamous and iconic shower scene and its enduring legacy.
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WATER RUNS DOWN A DRAIN
SOMBRE ORCHESTRAL MUSIC
This film contains some strong language and scenes which some viewers may find disturbing
SOMBRE ORCHESTRAL MUSIC
MARLI RENFRO: I was 21 years old, I was a pin-up model.
I was working with a photographer and he said that Universal - or UI,
as it was called then - are looking for somebody to pose in a film.
So I called and made an appointment.
I went and spoke with Mr Hitchcock and basically had to strip down,
got dressed again and then was interviewed by Janet Leigh,
and I had to strip down for her, too.
Oh, just in my underpants.
But anyway... My body was very similar to hers, so I got hired.
I had to report for make-up, I don't know, one or two days later.
And there's the red light flashing and "no admittance" and all of this,
and I thought, "Oh, God, here they're expecting a stripper."
I was not quite completely nude.
I had what we called a crotch patch.
During filming with the shower going and everything, it would come loose.
I told Hitchcock, I said "Why don't we take this thing off?"
He said, "No. No."
The whole time he wore a suit, black tie, white shirt.
I was hired for two or three days, and wound up working for seven.
It's extraordinary that it took
so long to do that one particular scene,
because that was about a third
of what Janet Leigh had to work for the movie.
There were 78 pieces of film and about 45 seconds.
Spending seven days on one small set,
shooting such a short scene,
was pretty much unheard of.
Generally these days you're lucky if you get one day to kill someone.
Oh, it has to be an obsession.
You're shooting that over the course of seven days,
that is absolutely an obsession.
Hitchcock fought to film this murder separately from the rest
of the movie, which meant in a way
that murder was now going to be
an acceptable part of entertainment.
There was violence in American films, but nothing like Psycho.
Nothing that intimate, nothing that designed,
nothing that kind of remorseless.
I think he knew what he had on his hands,
and he probably felt like
the whole film hinged on that moment.
This crucible moment.
You should have seen the blood.
The whole... The whole place was...
Well, it's too horrible to describe.
It's... I think the first modern...
..expression of the female body under assault.
And in some ways it's its most pure expression,
because it IS devastating.
Women had top billing in the '30s and '20s,
and that sort of evaporated during the '40s.
And by the time we got to the end of the '50s,
women were secondary in movies and Hitch sort of...
That's what the movie does, in a way, say that.
It's killing off the woman.
And it was really the first A movie to deal with
this kind of horror, trashy, tabloid stuff.
Nobody wanted to make it, and they went, "Are you nuts?
"You just did North by Northwest, this incredible hit,
"and now you want to do this black and white... "What is this thing?"
I have just made a motion picture,
North by Northwest.
North by Northwest was, like, the ultimate achievement on every level.
It was grand entertainment, it was classy, it had movie stars.
It was beautiful, colourful.
So how are you going to follow that up?
With a prank.
I once made a movie, rather tongue-in-cheek, called Psycho.
-And it was... It was a big joke, you know?
And I was horrified to find that some people took it seriously.
It was intended to cause people to scream and yell and so forth,
but no more than the screaming and yelling on a switchback railway.
Those of us who work in the horror genre rarely wear tuxedos.
This is not a movie that wears a tuxedo, either.
This is a movie that's very much jeans and a T-shirt.
But it's told by a guy who wears a tuxedo.
He wanted to stray beyond his comfort zone.
One of the things he was up to is,
"You don't know me at all."
And that's what Psycho is really about.
What attracted you to this one, then?
I think the murder in the bathtub coming out of the blue, you know?
That was about all.
Hitchcock was very, very aware of his competition.
He realised that Clouzot had done the kind of movie
that he felt that he should
and could be making and, of course,
when critics started calling Clouzot the French Hitchcock, well,
you were invading his territory then, and, believe me, he took notice.
Psycho is really the moment where the gloves come off.
It does feel like Hitch's revenge on Hollywood, to some extent.
On so many levels, it's his masterpiece.
I continue to feel like the movie is an act of aggression.
-Against his fans, his critics, actors.
-It just feels angry, like he was hurt and he had to hurt back.
The sudden violence of the shower scene in Psycho
was meaningful to him
for reasons that dated back, you know, 20 years
to the origins of World War II.
Hitchcock thought that the UK and the United States were insufficiently
prepared for the dangers and horrors of World War II.
There were several moments in his movies that spoke to that.
You can hear the bombs falling on the streets and the homes.
Don't tune me out, hang on a while,
this is a big story and you're part of it.
It's too late to do anything here now except stand in the dark
-and let them come.
-What's the matter with us?
We not only let the Nazi do our rowing for us but our thinking.
Ye Gods and little fishes!
One of them was Shadow of a Doubt.
Only about a year and a half after Pearl Harbor,
set in Santa Rosa in California.
You can see how in that movie he's kind of chastising this town
for being naive.
You live in a dream, you're a sleepwalker, blind.
How do you know what the world is like?
Do you know the world is a foul sty?
Do you know if you rip the fronts of houses, you'd find swine?
He was basically saying, "America, you were way too naive.
"You think you're safe in your shower at home with your family and loved ones nearby?
"No. You're not.
Hitchcock had many obsessions,
but one of them that he talked about with The Birds
was the randomness of life.
There is no explanation for the birds attacking.
To him, that was life.
There you are, everything's fine
and then someone gets cancer and they're dead two weeks later.
Or your life is good and you get hit by a bus.
Hitchcock was someone who, for several years now,
was showing up on people's TV sets on Sunday nights.
The victim tumbled and fell with a horrible crash.
I think their back broke immediately it hit the floor.
It was... It's difficult to describe the way that the...
He was an icon.
He was the sort of avuncular yet creepy guy who was presenting
sex and violence to Americans
leavened with black humour, every Sunday night.
And Americans are comfortable with him by 1960.
If someone else had made Psycho,
it's quite possible that the reaction would not
have been the same.
Psycho came at a very unique time in American pop culture.
It almost predates the turmoil and the shock and the trauma
that were to come in the 1960s
with racial violence, with political assassinations.
I'm not saying that Hitchcock anticipated it
and knew what he was up to,
but what he did know is that he was trapped by his past,
that it was not a time any more for Grace Kelly.
It was not a time any more for, what you do you call it,
beautiful Technicolor baubles.
When you look at Psycho
and you look at those magnificent, elegant, big,
rich, Technicolor films of the '50s,
you know that something changed.
I think that Psycho was his response to movies changing
and to upping the ante and not wanting to be forgotten.
1959, that was the year of Some Like it Hot,
Suddenly, Last Summer...
..and Anatomy of a Murder.
All three of those movies pushed boundaries.
So there was something in the air, culturally speaking,
that Hollywood was already tapping into.
Psycho comes out at this period
where we are post-atomic age but pre-civil rights.
You know, if you think about the horror movie violence,
they were science gone wrong,
but you didn't really feel like it was going to happen to you.
Psycho you felt could happen to you.
This was the first movie that showed,
yeah, you could be vulnerable,
naked, alone in a shower and someone who is wearing the clothes of their
dead mother is going to come in and just stab you,
because that's what they're going to do.
Americans were kind of obsessed with domesticity.
They wanted to tell themselves that in their private,
personal domestic spaces,
at least there they were safe.
The Soviets and whomever else,
they couldn't possibly get to you in your bathroom!
A few days after Psycho began shooting in November of 1959,
the Clutter family in Kansas is murdered.
Those are the In Cold Blood murders.
You're not living next door to the Norman Rockwell family any more,
you're living next door to the Manson family.
This is the new modern American family, which very much inspired
Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
HE HOWLS IN RESPONSE
The first Playboy club opens in Chicago.
The most famous sitcom stars of the 1950s,
Lucille Ball and Ricky Ricardo, are divorced.
The birth control pill is approved by the FDA.
You could look at the shower scene as this build-up of tension,
all of these things, all of these American fears of the quiet '50s.
It's all going to explode, and it comes out in this scene.
Well, I was on the critics list in New York for review.
The press was all invited to the theatre
the day it opened at ten or 10:30 in the morning,
with the first performance.
As you went in,
Hitchcock's voice was blaring on loudspeakers saying...
MIMICS HITCHCOCK: "Nobody would be allowed in after the picture starts,
"and please don't reveal the ending."
Before Psycho, movies, as a form of entertainment,
were relatively disposable.
There was a tremendous...
Compared to today, a tremendous coming and going in movie theatres.
And Hitchcock brilliantly said
"We don't want anyone coming in
"after the beginning of this film."
It changed the way films are exhibited.
The reason was because the leading lady, Janet Leigh,
was killed off a third of the way through.
And I didn't want people whispering to each other,
"When is Janet Leigh coming on?"
He wanted to build anticipation.
Something terrible happens in a bathroom.
We know this from the trailer.
We don't know it is Janet Leigh,
because it's Vera Miles in the trailer and not Janet Leigh.
The minute the curtain opens and started stabbing,
there was... There was a sustained shriek...
..from the audience.
Like that. Constant.
You couldn't hear anything off the soundtrack.
Through the entire shower scene.
So you had the screams from Janet Leigh,
the screams from all the women surrounding you in the theatre,
and the high shrieking strings from Herrmann.
That must have been total mayhem.
It was actually the first time in the history of movies
where it wasn't safe to be in a movie theatre.
And when I walked out into Times Square at noon...
..I felt I had been raped.
when the Lumiere brothers really first showed film to an audience,
one of the fragments they showed was of a train pulling into a station.
And the legend has it that they thought the train
was going to hit them, and they were screaming
and it caused a stampede of people trying to
evacuate this room that it was screened in.
They didn't understand the concept.
You know, Psycho comes along and it has a similar kind of impact.
It's the only movie in my childhood
that my mom wouldn't let me go and see,
which was kind of ridiculous because I was seeing nothing
but horror films every single weekend, two of them, in fact.
But Psycho - no, I couldn't go!
As a kid, I thought the name was Cycle,
like it was about some killer on a motorcycle.
But I actually got this Super 8 version and just, like,
constantly ran the movie over and over again.
When audiences saw this really likeable character,
someone who was quite relatable in terms of
"I need more money, I'm growing older,
"the man that I love won't marry me,"
they were really hooked.
Oh, Sam, let's get married.
And live with me in a store room behind a hardware store in Fairvale?
We'll have lots of laughs(!)
Of course she's going to survive the movie, it's Janet Leigh!
Instead, she takes a shower, out of nowhere she is murdered by...
..an old lady, who I can't even see?
What the fuck is going on here?!
He has broken the covenant of film-maker and audience,
and the audience cannot wait to see more.
He was a respected director...
..and, you know, she was a bona fide movie star,
and I think you kind of get into the thrill of that possible shock wave,
which obviously happened.
I think that moment signalled new American cinema,
maybe world cinema in certain ways.
I don't know that that had ever been done.
Maybe there's some obscure Czechoslovakian film that did it,
there's a guy going, like, "Grr!"
-"I did it first!"
I can think of things that, culturally, have got us thinking about that structure.
For instance, the first season of Game of Thrones,
in which our most appealing character of Ned Stark,
is just sort of cruelly killed in front of us.
Culturally, we had to be reminded of the power of that narrative trope.
The reality is he used the whole first half of the movie
as a ruse to get you to this house,
and the only way you're going to get to this house is
if you believe that she's someone who's stolen 40,000 and that she's
gotten off on the wrong freeway exit
and is on this little tiny road where nobody goes by.
There's a lot of things he is saying here about our society
that was changing at that point.
We were trying to get as fast as we could from Los Angeles to Chicago or
New York, and going in these little towns was not necessary any more.
And Norman doesn't even seem to mind.
He's ready to change the bed sheets every day with nobody there.
One by one, you drop the formalities.
I shouldn't even bother changing the sheets, but old habits die hard.
When she's driving off with the 40,000,
she's on the road and she's in the West.
There's something fundamentally American about that,
dating back all the way to manifest destiny.
"Go West, find your fate, find your freedom."
Marion tries to do just that, and that's where she meets her fate.
PSYCHO VIOLIN STRINGS PLAYED IN SLOWER TEMPO
It's interesting to compare the novel Psycho with the movie Psycho.
The shower scene is a lot different, it's really brief in the book.
So on page 28...
..um, here's the shower scene.
"The roar was deafening, the room was beginning to steam up.
"That's why she didn't hear the door open,
"or note the sound of footsteps.
"And at first when the shower curtains parted, the steam obscured the face.
"Then she did see it there,
"just a face, peering through the curtains, hanging in mid air like a mask.
"A half scarf concealed the hair and the glassy eyes stared inhumanly.
"But it wasn't a mask, it couldn't be.
"The skin had been powdered dead white and two hectic spots of rouge
"centred on the cheekbones.
"It wasn't a mask, it was the face of a crazy woman.
"Mary started to scream and then the curtain parted further
"and hand appeared, holding a butcher knife.
"It was the knife that, a moment later, cut off her scream.
"And her head."
The fact the Hitchcock brought Saul Bass in to work on the shower scene
as its own kind of independent thing
says to me that he knew that he had to do something special with the shower scene.
"Interior, Mary in shower.
"We see the bathroom door being pushed slowly open.
"The noise of the shower drowns any sound.
"The door is then slowly and carefully closed
"and we see the shadow of a woman fall across the shower curtain.
"Mary's back is turned to the curtain.
"The white brightness of the bathroom is almost blinding.
"Suddenly we see the hand reach up,
"grasp the shower curtain, rip it aside.
"Cut to Mary, extreme close-up.
"As she turns in response to the feel and sound of the shower curtain being torn aside,
"a look of pure horror erupts in her face.
"A low, terrible groan begins to rise up out of her throat.
"A hand comes into shot.
"The hand holds an enormous bread knife.
"The flint of the blade shatters the screen
"to an almost total silver blankness.
"An impression of a knife slashing as if tearing at the very scream,
"ripping the film. Over it, the brief gulps of screaming.
"And then silence.
"And then the dreadful thump as Mary's body falls in the tub.
"Reverse angle, the blank whiteness, the blur of the shower water.
"The hand pulling the shower curtain back.
"We catch one flicker of a glimpse of the murderer.
"A woman, her face contorted with madness, her head wild with hair,
"as if she were wearing a fright wig.
"And then we see only the curtain, closed across the tub,
"and hear the rush of the shower water.
"Above the shower bar we see the bathroom door open again,
"and after a moment, we hear the sound of the front door slamming.
"Cut to the dead body.
"Lying half-in, half-out of the tub, the head tumbled over,
"touching the floor. The hair wet, one eye wide open as if popped.
"One arm lying limp and wet along the tile floor.
"Coming down the side of the tub,
"running thick and dark along the porcelain,
"we see many small threads of blood.
"Camera moves away from the body, travels slowly across the bathroom,
"past the toilet...
"..out into the bedroom."
I think that the shower scene elevated film.
Not the horror genre specifically, but film-making in general.
Over and over again, it keeps showing you new things.
I think it's one of those spectacular pieces of work.
The film is moving inexorably to that scene.
You don't know it, as a viewer.
Sam, this is the last time.
I pay, too.
They also pay, who meet in hotel rooms.
There are plenty of motels in this area, you should have...
I mean, just to be safe.
Mother... My mother...
What is the phrase?
She isn't quite herself today.
Hitchcock was amazing at setting everything up.
When she's packing to go to see her boyfriend,
you see the shower head in the background.
It's very specific, the shower is right over her shoulder.
When it comes to Norman, when he talks about the bathroom,
he, like stutters and he can't really say toilet or bathroom.
And the, er...
That's what's great about Hitchcock.
He always really tunes into those character moments.
That desperate drive at the beginning.
It's crazy good.
The notion of getting clean, that's her arc.
She can't see because of the density of the water,
which is really beautiful
because she's drowning in her worry and fear.
The slashing of the wipers presages the slashing of the knife.
It's sort of... It's a very violent and wet and sloshy,
sharp stabbing motion.
And it's a long build-up,
but we have no idea that the rain
that's going to come down upon her later
is going to include her own blood.
I certainly get the sensation that the shower scene was something that
Hitchcock had probably been working towards all of his life.
Is he cleaning house?
He's washing down the bathroom walls.
It must've splattered a lot.
Well, why not? That's what we're all thinking.
He killed her in there, and he has to clean up
those stains before he leaves.
You really can't talk about the shower scene without talking
about the rest of the film.
Without the parlour scene, obviously, the shower scene doesn't really work nearly as well,
because the parlour scene is a sort of really sad,
beautiful connection that comes before this savagery.
Is your time so empty?
No. Well, I run the office.
And, tend the cabins, and grounds, and do little errands for my mother.
The one she allows I might be capable of doing.
Do you go out with friends?
Well, a boy's best friend is his mother.
He has a very loaded preamble to the shower scene.
Wouldn't it be better if you put her...
You mean an institution?
Look how still he is.
Whereas before, he was fidgety and moving around.
Suddenly, he became very still.
-Maybe that's the moment he decided to kill her.
Yeah, he's super confident now.
-Look at him.
-He's barely moving his head.
-Just his eyes.
He's so angry.
-And she just got terrified.
Oh, you're not, you're not going back to your room already?
Perhaps I'll go back to my room, now...
..Norman, it's been lovely to chat.
Terribly sorry about your loneliness.
This is the first moment that you're with him and not her.
Yeah, she literally walks away from camera.
-And then, well with him now.
-My job here is done.
I'm no longer the protagonist of this story.
There was a private supper here...
Oh, by the way, this picture...
..has great significance.
Let's go along to cabin number one.
The painting that Mr Bates removed
to become the Peeping Tom was actually
a 16th or early 17th century painting.
Susanna and the Elders is actually a morality story
about a virtuous woman who bathed in her garden,
and was spied on by two elder man.
And the theme burgeoned,
possibly as a result of counter reformatory motives.
It was either that, or it was simply an excuse for painting female nudity.
Now, the interesting thing about it, is it's about adultery.
And it's fascinating because Mary, who's in the shower,
is kind of cleansing herself
of committing adultery with a married man.
In art history, there were about three or four different phases
of how artists depicted Susanna and the Elders.
Lucas van Leyden shows the two elders in prominence,
whereas the small Susanna is bathing in the far distance.
But by the time you get to Tintoretto, she's full frontal.
Rubens begins to take and probe the psychological intensity of the moment.
Rembrandt, using the power of lightness and darkness,
of highlights, to enhance the drama.
The interesting thing about the painting is that you've got full frontal nudity of Susanna,
and yet the two elders are not simply looking at her,
they're actually groping and violating her.
It's almost a rape scene...
..that's taking place before our eyes.
It's an amazing painting that he picked.
It's not any old Baroque painting.
He removes the voyeuristic painting
to become the voyeur looking in on the shower.
He could've picked from 50 different examples,
but he chose this one because it had the most amount of information that
he could use for his film.
I love that there's a hole in the wall the size of his face.
Which tells you that he's been doing this more than once
and that he's made it comfortable for himself.
The notion that he is looking just as you are, it binds you with him,
and when you eliminate those walls and you're now watching him,
and you're watching, and you're watching together,
then you are in a new place where things can get a lot scarier.
Psycho is delineated from the other works of his oeuvre by those gazes.
The birds are looking at us, each individual bird,
dead bird, is looking at us.
Mother is looking at us from eyeless sockets.
Dead Marion, with her eye open.
The stare includes and indicts us at the same time.
It's a mirror image.
You know, it goes both ways.
We're looking into the eyes of death,
and the eyes of death are looking at us.
And it's inclusive and horrifying.
The laughing and the tears,
and the cruel eyes studying you.
My mother there?
God is studying you,
because there are a number of God point-of-view shots in Psycho,
just as there are in The Birds.
Hitchcock's God is cruel and arbitrary,
and like some kind of bird of prey or raptor which is gazing down
rather coldly and disinterestedly on its human subjects.
In the shower sequence,
the violence is directed and that knife is coming towards us.
So we're being punished for being the voyeurs.
There are consequences to watching and being watched.
In the character of James Stewart,
if we identify with him in Rear Window
has a very literal, great fall
at the end of it where he breaks the other leg.
Meaning another six, eight months of pain and itchiness
and not being able to screw Grace Kelly.
All those things are pertinent to Hitchcock.
I'll bet you nine people out of ten...
WOMAN TRANSLATES INTO FRENCH
..if they see something across, like a woman undressing and going
to bed, or even sometimes a man pottering around his room
Nine people out of ten will stay and look.
They won't turn away and say,
it's none of my business and pull down their own curtain.
They won't do it.
In the beginning of the movie you're flying into a window with the blinds
closed, so you're starting out as a voyeur.
And if you think about it, if the movie's opening
from the point of view of a fly, it changes the whole context of what meaning of the movie is.
-I'm not even going to swat that fly.
I hope they are watching.
They'll see, they'll see and they'll know, and they'll say...
..why, she wouldn't even harm a fly.
I think the voyeurism actually has a payoff in the shower scene.
It's Hitchcock's way of setting the bomb under the table,
which is something he liked to do to create dramatic irony.
Four people are sitting around the table, talking about baseball,
whatever you like.
Five minutes of it,
Suddenly, a bomb goes off.
Blows the people to smithereens.
What do the audience have?
Ten seconds of shock.
Now take the same scene
and tell the audience there is a bomb under that table
and will go off in five minutes.
Well, the whole emotion of the audience is totally different,
because you've given them that information.
You've got the audience working.
-I think at this point
we start to wonder what's going on in his head
and what's going to happen because of this look on his face.
That's so interesting as an actor, what is he playing?
He's playing, "Oh, God, don't let my mother kill this girl."
Norman Bates is presented in all these little, you know,
encapsulated moments throughout the film
and in much the same way that the murder is presented
in encapsulated moments of images and compositions, cut together.
So, I think that the movie is, it's about fragmentation,
it is fragmentation.
Norman goes up to the house.
It's very important that the audience sees him leave
because he is reacting to a third character that we think
is in the house, Mother.
But that is really in his mind.
He goes to the stairs and he looks up, and he looks like he's sad
because he realises that Mom's not at home upstairs.
Then he goes and flops into the kitchen,
like a dejected little schoolboy.
So he sits there, like, "Oh, rats, I can't have dinner with the lady I want to have dinner with."
I imagine he must've done that a lot when Mother was alive.
That she must've yelled at him and he would just go into kitchen when he couldn't get what he wanted,
when she was berating him for whatever he wasn't living up to her standards.
There's a lot one could say about Hitchcock mothers.
Are you quite sure she didn't come down here to see you,
to capture the rich Alex Sebastian for a husband?
Go get shaved before your father gets home.
You gentlemen aren't really trying to kill my son, are you?
When you talk about what is sacred in America,
people talk about mom and apple pie.
Mom is good, we love Mom, we are Mom, we are good.
On the other hand, there's something else going on in 1950s America
in culture and society, where Mom is also suspect.
There was a serious social panic in America about juvenile delinquency.
One thing that this social panic resulted in was this fear that moms
were going to shelter and spoil children,
possibly America itself, to death.
All of the sitcoms - Father Knows Best, Ozzie and Harriet,
where Mother never did anything.
All she did was take care of the house and the kids.
I'm just practically ready and David has to get dressed.
Get dressed? You mean dressed up?
Well, yes, you want to look nice when Nancy gets here.
The director who exposes the horror of the American family in the '50s
without making a horror movie, is Douglas Sirk.
You see Kay, I love Ron.
You love him so much you're willing to ruin all our lives?
You can't really think that.
What else can I think?
In Sirk, it's the whole construction of the family.
It's not until Psycho, though,
where the mother is literally a monster when you see her at the end.
I think my mother scared me when I was three months old.
AUDIENCE LAUGHS You remember that?
You see, she said boo.
I don't know how many times in Psycho, do people talk about Mother.
Oh, we can see each other.
We can even have dinner.
But respectably. In my house, with my mother's picture on the mantel,
and my sister helping me broil a big steak for three.
And after the steak, will we send Sister to the movies,
turn Mama's picture to the wall?
Patricia Hitchcock talks about, she offers her a tranquiliser.
Have you got some aspirin?
I've got something, not aspirin,
my mother's doctor gave them to me the day of my wedding.
Teddy was furious when he found out I had taken tranquilizers.
-Teddy called me,
my mother called to see if Teddy called...
Even in that office, the influence,
the negative influence of mothers, and here it's on women, not on men.
So, the fact that Norman Bates' mother,
we realise eventually it's Norman Bates himself,
might have on an unconscious level audiences saying, "Aha!
"I knew it! Mom IS gonna to kill us!
"Mom IS going to be the death of us all!"
OK. Once more into the bridge.
Back to the primal moment.
Marion is doing her accounting here,
figuring out how much she spent on the car.
She's making the decision to...
..return the money.
Nice little bit of handy exposition.
I always write down my math.
It's charming, you know.
It's still an old movie, let's face it.
She throws the paper in the toilet bowl
and then to cap it off she flushes it.
Right from the beginning, you know you're in new territory.
In 1960, nobody had shown a toilet before.
The flushing toilet is a clear indication that the scene to come
is going to break one or two taboos.
Details are important, you know.
In the building of suspense,
you know that those details are all going to add up to something
much more monumental than the simplicity of these shots.
Hitchcock was a Victorian.
Victorians thought that a bright, white tiled bathroom was sanitary.
That's the term they used.
His bathroom, in his home, was bright, white tiles.
He thought that invading the sanctity of the bathroom
was a cool and subversive thing to do.
He did it in silent films, he did in Spellbound.
By showing that brightness it was a way of saying,
look at how I am defiling the sanctity of the bathroom
and I am doing it almost bloodlessly.
Coincidentally, this scene was extremely influential on a scene
in The Conversation, which I edited back in 1973.
A murder has been committed and Gene Hackman comes into the bathroom
of a hotel room but the room is completely clean.
And he pulls the curtain apart, just as in Psycho
the mother pulls the curtain apart, but it's empty.
He goes to the drain of the tub and runs his fingers
around the drain to see if there was any telltale signs of blood
and there's nothing.
He goes over to the toilet to jiggle the handle
and the toilet suddenly backs up.
So it's a kind of an inverse version of the Psycho scene.
The toilet and the flushing of the toilet,
the shower curtain, the drain,
all of these things were definitely imprinted upon us by Psycho.
Now, one of the most beautiful, famous leading ladies in 1960
just stripped in front of us and stepped into a shower.
It's like, holy shit, where are we going now?
Man, that must've been crazy racy for 1960.
I don't even understand.
Hitchcock knew that American men were curious
about Janet Leigh.
And so, the idea of having her in a shower
in a stance that seems very suggestive, was a huge deal.
Seeing her full body behind that curtain,
it's brilliant because it's translucent.
It's not transparent, it's not opaque but it's translucent.
Enough to see her and titillate us.
But not enough to really be graphic yet.
The whole theory is that you have to discover the sex in a woman
and not have it...
..stuck all over her like labels, you know.
And there's nothing else to look for, nothing to discover.
Do we know anybody who turns the shower on before getting in, I mean,
I don't act that way.
I don't turn a shower on like that.
I run it, and then get in when I know that it's safe.
And look at that almost sexual expression on her face.
She is being rained upon and it's cleansing,
it's warm and she's happy,
and she's, like, made up her mind.
The natural sounds kind of put you in the perspective of,
we all become Janet Leigh but not as attractive.
Through other movies like Rear Window and Birds,
he knows when the lack of music can be as effective as music.
FLUTTER OF WINGS
I think there's almost no moment
when we see Marion with a genuine smile.
There's almost no moment where...
Where she's allowed to feel good
about what her life is like.
She's happy for the first time.
We're going into a scene which, on the one hand,
is, um, quite liberatory for the character,
but at the same time it's clearly really what we're watching
is the liberation of Hitchcock.
Of his own repressed desires finally being writ large on the screen.
Hitchcock viewed the world as a very imperfect moral machine.
And he always had this...
..biblical almost sense of doom and punishment.
WOMAN SCREAMS You know, that befalls those
that tangle with sin in a casual way.
Even his most unHitchcockian movie, which is Mr & Mrs Smith,
which I love, punishes banality.
She makes a moral decision to take back that money and, you know,
and suffer what ever punishment will come her way.
I stepped into a private trap back there.
And I'd like to back and try to pull myself out of it.
Before it's too late for me, too.
This is very important.
It's very important narratively
because it doesn't come in the middle of a heist.
Or in the middle of the robbery.
Or as she is escaping with the money on the road.
And it turns out, bang!
It doesn't make a damn bit of difference because the universe
doesn't give a shit.
And I think, uh,
that is a true sign of his Catholicism
and his sense of doom about a sin that cannot be washed away.
Literally, with water.
You know, it cannot be purged.
Except by blood, and violence.
And paying the price.
She's punished for the worst crime,
which is sexually arousing Norman Bates.
You know, you get this strain again and again.
I mean, think of Strangers on a Train, where Robert Walker, you know,
strangles this poor girl.
Again, what does he strangle her for?
Because she's a loose woman who is in Farley Granger's way.
I mean, that's a foreshadowing of Psycho.
That's her point of view of the shower that puts us, the audience,
as if we're in the shower with her.
It makes us feel just a vulnerable as she is.
It's spraying at us and it's creating a sonic curtain.
She can't hear him coming.
Gee, I'm sorry, I didn't hear you in all this rain.
And that's why that shot is bad news.
You know, the shots change in their level of symmetry
during the course of the sequence.
That's order at the beginning, and then, oddly,
it'll be echoed by the eye, in the drain,
and Norman Bates' people through his office
and those things start to rhyme after a while in a great way.
How do you point a camera at a shower head without the lens getting sprayed?
Move the camera back enough,
plug some of the holes so that the spray shoots outward.
Very simple and elegant solution.
There's nothing unusual about the pacing here.
It's at a rather leisurely 4.5 seconds per cut, on average.
So, it's a calm before the storm, let's say.
Now here's what I would call a strange cut.
What I call the wet hair cut.
Which is her washing herself with her head tilted back,
and then it suddenly cuts to the same kind of an angle.
Really a jump cut.
Except now her hair is completely wet.
This would give the lie to somebody who said
"this scene was shot exactly as the storyboards were done,"
because you never would storyboard a moment like that.
You think you're going to be watching her go through
the whole process in real time but that cut jumps you ahead.
It feels very...
..bold and confident.
Now we cut to the shower head,
but it's a side angle on the shower head.
Not this, sort of, subjective point of view.
When we were looking at her, she was facing left to right,
away from the shower.
And when we cut back to her,
we come around to the other side of the stageline.
What's behind her now is the shower curtain, not the wall.
And now there's another cut.
Again, it's a kind of awkward jump cut.
Objectively, there would be no reason to do that.
But it's unsettling because there's a big empty space,
which is itself unsettling.
What is going to fill that empty space?
The audience starts to look over to that negative space.
And feeling like, "Why am I looking over here?"
The door opens. You see the shadow.
And then Norman's figure.
And that's the mounting terror.
Where you say to yourself, "Oh, my God! Oh, my God!"
And THAT is the difference between suspense and surprise.
The idea of menace in a shadowy figure,
I think, that Hitchcock's fear.
Who is the menacing figure in Alfred Hitchcock's own life?
By the time he gets to Pyscho, that person is unleashed.
Here you see Margo Epper, the stunt woman, coming toward.
How do you NOT reveal who that is?
I've been taking the wrap for that sequence for 20 years now
but that's not me behind the curtain.
I was in New York that day rehearsing a Broadway show.
Every time they kept shooting it, you kept seeing the stunt woman's face.
And one of the make-up men decided, "What if we blackened her face?"
And so they tried that a couple of times.
And went darker and darker, and darker.
Until they achieved that effect.
I've I talked with Janet Leigh about what she thought she saw
coming at her, and she clearly saw Norman coming at her.
And that's what she played.
So, the reality for her was,
"I'm going to die this way by this person who tried to befriend me,
"and I tried to be polite to."
You're very kind.
It's all for you. I'm not hungry, go ahead.
It really does lend an extra air of horror and pathos to that moment.
And that wallpaper in the background.
The Shining - so many horror movies try to have that, like,
perfect Hitchcock Bates' Motel wallpaper.
This floral pattern, that juxtapose with this black silhouette of the knife
and the hair of Mother, it's really, really terrifying.
The shape always kind of tortured me,
it was like a weird mushroom shaped head.
I don't know, kind of lame to me for some reason.
I'd always wished that the shot looked a little scarier.
When my grandfather first saw the first rough cut of Psycho
he didn't like it at all.
He was just going to cut it down to an hour
and make it part of the TV show.
Bernard Herrmann convinced him to create the most,
like, famous scared chord music in horror cinema history.
It's so ingrained in pop culture to where...
-HE MIMICS PSYCHO SHOWER SCENE MUSIC Yeah, yeah.
-It is transcendent.
Yeah, yeah. My seven-year-old daughter knows that,
-but she doesn't know where comes from. But...
You know, she's made that joke. MIMICS PSYCHO SHOWER SCENE MUSIC
-Like, I don't know where she got it.
She has no idea it's from Psycho. It's evolutionary.
Like, we're just born knowing the shower scene!
I wanted a tattoo,
and I thought it must be that one cue by Bernard Herrmann.
The most amazing cue ever made in cinematic history.
It has so little to do with harmony.
It is just sheer terror.
The way that music was used in movies to scare people
really changed after Psycho.
If you want to make something scary, you put in those strings.
And you're like "DE-DE-DE-DE!"
If you slow it down you get, "Da-ran, da-ran."
What I really adore about Herrmann
is the way that he realised that in the limitation
there is actually a much more powerful statement to be made.
He did the Day The Earth Stood Still,
and he wrote it for seven theremins and only a couple of horns.
EERIE TITLE MUSIC PLAYS
Herrmann wrote Living Doll,
which I think is one of the best scores that they had on Twilight Zone.
It's like a bass clarinet or it might have been a contrabassoon,
a glockenspiel, and a harp.
He was definitely an experimenter.
He's the one who taught me that you can kind of do anything,
anywhere, if it works.
What I think is also absolutely genius about the shower scene
is the way Herrmann spotted it.
The spotting is deciding,
when do start a cue, when do you end a cue.
It starts with the toilet flushing.
She steps into the shower.
There is no music at all, whatsoever.
This composer does not prepare us for the onslaught
that is about to happen.
When Janet Leigh walks into the shower
and she pulls the curtain closed
you can actually hear the sound of the rings on the bar
and it goes "qu-ii-ii-th".
You see the villain coming through.
No music. No music at all.
The curtain gets swept aside -
we get the first sting.
This is... This is the rush of Janet Leigh's heartbeat.
From the moment that we as an audience completely realise,
"OK, this girl is being brutally butchered here."
And we see this and the music goes
"Ba-bom, ba-bo-oom ba-bo-oom!"
She falls to the floor.
The heartbeat slows because she's dying.
And then in her last gasp
that music basically leaves her
and all we have is the sound of the falling curtain
and her head smacking to the ground.
How genius is that?
That's Herrmann. That's not Hitch.
We used the original score, um...
Bernard Herrmann's original score
for our temp music, of course...
while we were editing the film.
And then Danny came and re-recorded it.
And it was so beautiful.
It's a perfect score.
When I was given the job, I mean, it really was a holy scripture for me.
And there was one beat in a meeting with some of the producers of like,
"Maybe because it's in colour we should do it with brass,
"and woodwinds, and percussion and do it for the full orchestra."
And I was like, "No, no, no, no!
"I beg you. Don't make me do that."
I had visions of a very grumpy Bernard Herrmann.
His ghost coming into my room.
I'd wake up in the middle of the night and he'd be there going
"You little asshole. What've you done?"
A knife is raised up, and now the murder scene begins.
And the pace of the cutting, it's going to shrink dramatically.
And there it is.
Beautiful, cathartic, unbelievably savage.
And just wrong on so many levels.
That... That looks awful.
SHE SIGHS SLOWLY
Man, oh, man!
He has a way of reaching out and grabbing you by the throat
and saying, "Look! Look! You WILL look at this!"
It was a perfect stainless steel trap.
You could not run away from it.
It was inflicting damage,
but at the same time, you knew you were in the hands of a master.
There was nothing to do but submit.
The Psycho shower scene is cut very much like an action scene.
George Tomasini was a master.
What he did with the shower scene changed the language of cinema.
The editor suddenly became a much more important piece of the puzzle.
You had to think about a cut.
Because a cut was going to take you four minutes to make, and splice, and check it.
And now you can make a cut every 12 seconds or something.
The planning, the consideration, the thinking,
that went into designing some of these films is astonishing.
Motion pictures were 14 years old
before somebody got the idea that you could make a cut.
Because it's violent what's happening.
You're looking at a image of a visual field
that is very detailed and full of motion
and then instantly it is removed and replaced with another image.
In a sense, the audience should, kind of,
crash through the windshield of this experience.
Hitchcock and Tomasini knew exactly where the audience was looking.
They ended up working the disorientation,
drawing you into Marion's sense of confusion and terror.
Every single cut that Tomasini does is you...
By the time you've caught up to what you're looking at in the new shot
he's already cut to another shot.
It's a kaleidoscope of these images crashing into your cranium.
But it's very planned.
And it feels that way -
it's order and chaos come crashing up against each other.
It's a magic act.
Because people walked out of the cinema feeling like they had seen...
Like, shocked, you know, beyond belief.
Because there was nothing like that in cinema prior to that.
And yet they hadn't actually seen the things that they thought they saw.
That's an incredible thing.
The use of the sound effects, um, are, I think,
a huge contributor to the violence of the scene.
The stabbing sounds in particular.
How do you come up with the sound of what happens
when a butcher knife strikes flesh?
The sound man came up with the idea of,
"What about a knife stabbing melons?"
So, knowing Hitchcock,
you would have to bring lots of melons and arrange them on a big table.
There would be Crenshaw melons, and, you know,
any kind of melon that you can imagine
of very, very different sizes.
So, I think they had about two dozen.
And some backups.
So, there's the prop man stabbing melon.
Melon, melon, melon.
Next. Melon, melon, melon.
And so by the end of it Hitchcock knew the one that sounded most like sinew
and sounded the way he thought it should sound.
So, when they were through demonstrating all of these different melons
all he said was...
That's all they needed to know.
I think the whole key to the sound of the Casaba melon
is that the inner gooey part is very small
and there's a very thick layer of fruit that you have to stab through.
It's very dense.
Like a lot of the other melons sounded a little bit hollow.
And I'm sure with his eyes closed, Hitchcock was probably hearing that.
To my ear, Casaba melon sounds more like dry,
bony stabbing as opposed to wet, gooey stabbing.
The starchiness and the thickness
probably gives you more of that viscera.
-The crunchiness, or...
Hitchcock also had them bring a sirloin.
A really big...
..thing of sirloin.
I don't eat me and so I nearly nauseous telling you this
but, in any case, Hitchcock thought that would be a really great idea.
And they did in fact stab a big, big, big slab of steak.
And so that sound is interspersed with melon.
RECORDINGS OF MELON AND STEAK BEING STABBED
And the sound man took it home and had it for dinner that night.
The stabbing sound in Psycho is not a Hollywood sound effect.
It is a natural sound effect.
Which makes it all the more horrible.
Like, you could take the combination of, like, an arrow...
A literal arrow or an axe hitting
and you add to that something like, pipe-in-the-mud kind of "goosh".
And you add to that some sort of a, like, a leather rip
and you could make the sound designed stab that would feel horrible.
We have three close ups getting increasingly tighter
to the point that now we're looking at nothing but her open mouth.
The three quick cuts which makes me happy to be an editor.
I've seen some of Saul Bass's boards.
And you'll see cut one, and cut three.
But the idea of drawing the three together really feels like something
that's kind of a joyful discovery
in feeling your way through things in the cutting room.
Hitchcock does the thing here that he does and The Birds too,
to show something that's shocking -
an on axis cut.
Boom, boom, boom.
It's a psychological cut.
People always think it's something that Hitchcock came up with,
but I actually always traced it back to the original Frankenstein
directed by James Whale, in 1931.
In a way it was the same effect
because they were showing you something so grotesque, something that you had never seen before,
people wanted to go to the movie just to see how shocking it was.
There is something called an American cut when you're editing
which is just like jump-cutting into a close-up from a wide shot.
And I know whenever I do it in a movie
when I'm working with Sam Raimi, he is always, like, tortured.
He's like, "Why do you do those stupid cuts!"
I explain, "It's an American cut."
And he says, "That's more like a Canadian cut."
There is something really visceral about cutting from a wide shot,
jumping into a close-up.
Now we have a lower angle that is not a subjective angle.
This is not what Marion sees.
But it's maximised for threat.
There's a lot of defensive shots that make it look like
she's trying to fight him off.
That makes you feel that you're there.
We've jumped the stageline here,
which is another disorienting thing - in violence.
And in love, interestingly.
It's actually good to cross the stageline...
..because it gives you that subjective sense
of a kind of a dizzy, delirium.
You see Norman's hand with the knife,
come laterally across and break the lines.
It's so great because it's violating the purity.
The water is going in the opposite direction of the knife,
so there's all these great angles that are, again,
like German expressionist cinema
that Hitchcock had been exposed to in the early '20s
when he first started his career.
This overhead shot - it's like the whole shot is out of focus.
And they used it anyway.
I can imagine sitting in with studio executives now
and I'm saying, "Oh, you've got this one shot that's so out of focus.
"We really didn't need to take that shot out of the edit."
But thank goodness they left it in because it's such a great shot.
The knife is already through the frame before we, the audience,
are really able to lock on to what we are looking at.
Our face gravitates to Marion,
and then to the negative space to see where did the knife go.
They force the audience to fill in the blank.
Her right to right-to-left movement
carries us right to the cut
and right where her face is, there's the knife.
That knife never makes connection with her
but in my mind I see him stabbing her. It's crazy!
Hitchcock is going in 360 degrees.
All of these things that you're not supposed to do in narrative
storytelling, he's doing to give you this feeling
of complete disorientation.
Every time we cut back to Norman's form, we're grounded again.
Back to Norman, but now we're slightly tighter.
Cut to Marion, we are tighter.
And then, ending -
intersecting water, over and over again - to the shot.
The one shot that convinces me, as a viewer,
that Marion has been stabbed.
The knife never connects with the skin?
But what about this shot here?
I'm telling you, folks, THAT is penetration.
Hitchcock got away with showing my belly button on film.
In all the beach towel movies, you know, with Annette Funicello
they had bikinis but they had to have them
up over their belly button.
He explained to me that...
He says, "the Paramount special-effects department made for me a torso of rubber.
"He plunged the knife and blood would spurt out.
"Oh, it was wonderful. I didn't use it at all."
"You didn't use it at all?"
"No, no. The knife never touches the body."
It goes back to Eisenstein
and the whole idea of editing, cutting, montage.
He didn't want a plastic knife or anything.
He used the knife.
He had marks on there like blood.
And he pressed it against my stomach and then pulled it out.
And then, in the film, they reversed it
showing it going in.
Hitchcock, I think,
it's safe to say spent an entire career
thumbing his nose at the censors.
The last shot of North by Northwest is a train entering a tunnel.
Like, a very unsubtle sexual metaphor.
And then we pick that up post coitus in Psycho.
Wow. That's interesting.
You know, the production code administration still mattered at that time.
And then in trying to get the movie approved by the Legion of Decency,
if either one of those had been a problem as far as
the production and distribution of Psycho,
it would not have been the phenomenon that it was.
There was a little negotiation going on.
He said, "I'll reshoot the beginning.
"You can come and watch me shoot it."
They never showed up.
All he did was tell the whole crew,
"We're just going to send the scene back.
"We're not going to cut one frame from it."
And he didn't. He just kept basically telling them
"You're prudes. And you're actually horn-dog prudes,
"because you're seeing something that isn't there."
So, everything stayed in the way he wanted it.
And he got away with it!
You contrast Hitchcock making a disturbing,
shocking movie that revolves around sex and violence and a deeply
disturbed protagonist, with a movie
that came out the very same year,
within a few months of it, like Michael Powell's Peeping Tom.
That movie a lot of people see as having
ruined Michael Powell's career.
You know, Val Lewton, who these guys know I'm obsessed with,
but, you know, he was the master of "You saw nothing! Ever!"
There's no cat in Cat People.
There's no cat people in Cat People.
There's shadows. There's some shadow.
Every one of his films was,
the title promised something that you never actually saw.
There's no leopard man in Leopard Man.
And the most chilling murder in all of Val Lewton's canon
takes place on the other side of a closed door
from the perspective of a mother who's hearing her daughter get slaughtered.
And you just see the blood seep in under the crack in the door.
You never see it. You never see it at all.
And that seems to me like the roots of the shower scene.
-I would like to throw one in there...
-One film into the mix which has one particular mind-blowing scene,
which I would call horror, and that's Irreversible.
-And here's the thing about that rape scene.
It's like, it's... What is it, like 15 minutes long?
I think, 10 minutes.
And they don't really show anything, there's no nudity,
there's no nothing. It's just one shot that lingers.
Don't make it...
The rape scene in Irreversible and the shower scene in Psycho
are exact inverses.
-The shower scene is incredibly close and frenetic.
And the rape scene in Irreversible is incredibly distant and still.
The shots of the mother are out of focus,
the focus is on the water, not the mother.
You could argue that this is Marion's subjective point of view,
that she doesn't see who it is clearly because she's so confused.
Very quick cutting here.
On the average one shot every 3/4 of a second, 18 frames.
And the audience in 1960 would be having,
they would be seeing something
in a way that they were not used to seeing it.
I was always surprised that they got away with this.
Just the amount of, like, naked breast that they were able to show.
It had to be done impressionistically.
So, it was done with little pieces of film.
The head, the feet, the hand, parts of the torso.
The shot of her feet is the very first cut of blood
that we've had in this entire piece.
The blood starts to spatter into the water rather than flow.
You know, you see spots hitting like a dark rain.
And then it just is absorbed by the water and it spreads out in a very
kind of haunting, a haunting way.
My mom loves to tell me that,
"Oh, you know that the blood going down the drain in Psycho
-Chocolate syrup, right?
So, is anyone in this room going to tell us that that's not actually chocolate syrup?
They had a can of Hershey's syrup,
which is watered-down and that's what they used for blood.
But they had to dribble it around me, and on me.
I deliberately made the film in black and white
because I knew that if it had been in colour,
the draining away of blood would've been too repulsive.
The knife comes through and even though it's just swinging through
frame, my brain is telling me
she's just gotten stabbed squarely in the back.
And then to the sneaky cut that Tomasini has put into the film,
starting here with her hand out of focus at the front,
it's going towards the wall, your eyes are super confused here
because you're looking at a negative space and just the wall tile.
Her hand starts to come in and instantly there's a jump cut.
If you watch that at full speed it just looks like...bam!
It ends up making it feel like she's slamming against the wall.
His exit is also tremendous, that quick move, without looking back.
He doesn't even stand there to make sure she's dead. He leaves.
It's almost like a time cut, where he's already out the door.
And I think part of it is they were really trying to hide,
you know, who it was and they were tired of showing that lame
shot where his head looked like a mushroom.
The shot of the hand, it looks like a starfish against the wall.
It's just a hand.
The least important part of her body right now after she's been
hacked to death.
And you see the life ebbing out of her body through her hand.
So the scene becomes all about her hands, if you watch it.
Hand. And then hand. And you watch it go.
Trying to grab onto something. Hand going down the wall.
She turns around, where is her hand? That's the big question.
And if you actually watch the opening scene of Jurassic Park
it's the same thing. It doesn't matter, that guy that got eaten
by the velociraptor, you barely see his face.
But what's important is he's grabbing on to his hand.
Hand reaches out.
Hand's touching the thing.
And I think that's part of the way that he kind of is able to
bring the audience into her death, rather than just watching her die.
Now she's begging for her life, trying to hold herself up.
The way that her hair leaves a trail behind her, it follows her down.
I mean, it's an incredibly haunting image. And it's a wall.
You know, you had depth before and she's just flat against nothingness.
Nobody did this before.
Deaths were quick in movies
and although actors loved to make the most of them...
This is so obviously directed in such a way.
You know, in Torn Curtain is this endless scene of trying to
kill someone. It's not bloody but it's graphic.
Even Frenzy is fairly graphic compared to Psycho.
But Psycho has the effect of being graphic,
much like Texas Chainsaw Massacre later was.
I love how slow it is, how much time it takes.
There's all this negative space on the left-hand side.
This is absolutely intentional.
Hitchcock is mirroring the shot at the beginning of the sequence
where Marion is showering in exactly the right-hand side of the frame.
It is the book end that makes the shower scene.
My favourite cut is the hand coming around onto the curtain
and it's all of a sudden from the staccato rhythms you end up
with this really fluid shot that has a sort of almost,
kind of poetic and sad quality to it.
She's dying and there's a softness to it
and it makes it just instantly emotional.
It's really, really a great cut.
It's one of the best cuts I've ever seen.
You can just barely see the outline of my breast in that shot.
That's my hand. And you can tell the difference on my knuckles, there.
The ring finger is disfigured a bit.
The nail is darker than a regular fingernail.
When I was three years old I reached down to
help my brother on a push lawnmower and - pssht! - cut it off.
This is the shot that Cecil B DeMille actually did first
in The Ten Commandments
where Sally Lung pulls down on the curtain.
This shot, the down shot, she just feels so vulnerable,
like a dying animal.
Again, such a bold shot because so much nudity is revealed.
There is a shot in the shower scene that was never used,
it was one of the most heartbreaking shots I've ever seen.
Anne Heche, she was definitely willing to do stuff.
That one shot at the end where she's slumped over,
that was the shot that Hitchcock could not use.
But it was storyboarded.
There was objections to using that
and perhaps Hitch felt it wasn't really necessary anyway.
Then we return to the motif of the shower head,
the impassive eye which has just watched this horrible thing happen.
This shot of the shower head at the beginning of the scene was
one of joy, she was going to get a new start and now that same
water is washing away the evidence of her existence and the murder.
The water keeps running and the blood flows
but the heart is stopping.
It's just such an amazing image to see her life flowing down the drain.
What a metaphor that is.
And it switches to the eye, right?
Oh, come on.
That's so good.
I wonder how long this shot is, how long she had to hold.
To get her eye to stay open?
Just to make sure her eye didn't twitch even a tiny bit.
Oh, my God, that's incredible.
The pointless spiralling of the universe
and the way that everything is ultimately
drawn down the plughole towards oblivion, towards meaningless death.
I think to some extent we are looking at Hitchcock's
fears as well as his obsessions.
You see it in Barton Fink, you see it in so many movies
and you're like, "Why is he going inside the drain?
"Are we going to go inside?"
That is the moment of Psycho where everything changes.
This was made by an auteur film-maker
and that is a very personal stamp.
It's a rupture in the movie
but the movie never achieves this kind of poetry again and you begin
to realise that, "Oh, this was what really mattered most to Hitchcock."
Tomasini has done a clockwise turn optically which then,
right about here, hooks back up to the 24-frame footage.
I'm just amazed they were able to get that clean.
Usually when you do an optical it's pretty grainy but it looks
so smooth and so beautiful.
It's surprising and seamless where they go from live action,
it's like one of the greatest opticals in the history of movies.
It's also kind of like what the title sequence is doing
in Vertigo, it's a theme that runs through this film
and then later on, of course. It's not style just for style's sake,
it's got content.
The cameras were huge and very difficult to manipulate.
You can actually see pictures of Hitchcock behind a Mitchell
and you get a sense of what it was like riding on that
carriage behind that huge locomotive of a camera.
Whereas today it's a snap, you just do it like Gus Van Sant.
In the remake he did it all live action.
The pull-back from her eye was a whole robotic camera move.
I seriously followed the original film shot by shot.
I was able to cut it exactly like the original, and we watched it
and it was weird and it didn't work.
I said, "Well, Gus, come over, watch the scene. I have a few reservations
"of how it's playing right now
"and it doesn't feel like the shower scene yet."
We went in and tried to make it a little more Gus Van Sant-y.
To duplicate something as iconic as the shower scene,
I really think it wasn't going to work.
And it just didn't.
I always loved the placement of those drops of water cos
they're like tears.
Right at the end it was a little flicker in her eye,
a little highlight in her eye.
And you can see her eye move.
There's a tight, slight flick of the eye, there.
Hitchcock almost fetishistically lingers in this postmortem moment.
This is what happens after you die and no-one turns off the water.
Hitch had a little snap of the finger to let Janet know
when the camera had past and was going to pan into the room.
It took a lot of takes.
I can feel the moleskin pulling away from my top part and so I could
-feel this, it was just of going...
..and I thought, "You know what?
"I don't want to do this damn thing again. I really don't want to."
And there are all the guys on the scaffolding and I said,
"I'm not going to be modest. Let 'em look."
Why would you cut to the shower there?
I don't think the reason has anything to do with artistic
decision. It's the solution to some problem that he had.
After my grandfather filmed Psycho
and it had been shown to all the executives,
the last person he showed it to was my grandmother
and they were sitting in the screening screen,
and he's panning out and she looks at my grandfather and says,
"Hitch, you can't release this."
And he said, "Why not?" She goes, "Janet Leigh took a breath."
They couldn't reshoot it.
Janet was gone, they didn't have the budget,
so they simply cut back to the shower head...spewing water.
And then that cynical camera move.
She made her moral decision and this is what it got her.
There's an image of the uncaring universe, if you want one.
You see the headline there - "OKAY" - it is not OK.
Nothing is OK.
He always comes back to his MacGuffin which is the 40,000.
He throws the newspaper into the quagmire, it goes down with the car.
And the audience says, "That's the money
"that we thought was important in this story,
"it's totally unimportant."
This is the thing in the movie that always tortured me.
The greatest scene in movie history ends on a sour note with
a bad ADR line. That has been the doom of so many movies.
Here comes Norman.
Just wondering what happened and oh, my, he can't believe it.
Another murder at the motel. How did that happen?
It's an extraordinary aftermath, it's a crucial piece
of the film-making to sort of let the consequence of it actually land.
It's not about getting the blood stains out of the tub
it's about this incredibly laborious process
that this unbearably damaged soul needs to work through.
It demands not just that we watch as we've watched the murder
of Marion Crane, we're also voyeurs to the horror of Norman's world.
For me, the clean up represents Alfred Hitchcock's sense
of orderliness, sense of "I wasn't sexually aroused by this woman,
"and I'm just going to pretend that this unhappy episode just
"didn't even occur."
I think that cleaning always represents sexual guilt.
You care about this guy. And I know it sounds crazy but you do.
You want to know what's going to happen to him, you want to know
is he going to be free of this or is it going to consume him?
The fact that he is able to get you to care is
one of the miracles of the movie.
Psycho obviously has influence on a whole host of movies.
Psycho is the mother of the slasher genre.
The shower scene is really the first fully sexualised on-screen
You have Mario Bava in Italy and he's taking
the visuals of the Psycho scene and in Italy in the '60s
they didn't have the same censorship laws that we had in America.
Bava takes the Hitchcock style and really creates
the Italian giallo film.
Dario Argento burst onto the scene with Bird Of The Crystal Plumage,
determined to present murder as a form of fine art,
and fetishises the killings and tries to present them
as something beautiful, cathartic and almost orgasmic,
which happens again and again in his work.
Then, of course,
the American films started imitating the Italian films
and you get the wave of slasher films in the '80s,
kicking off with John Carpenter's Halloween.
Psycho might have also really started the rather negative
trend of victims undressing before they're butchered, which is
something that haunted slasher cinema throughout the '70s.
Martin Scorsese talks about the construction of the fight
in Raging Bull with Sugar Ray Robinson.
I literally got a shot-by-shot breakdown of the shower
scene in Psycho and laid out my original storyboards for this one
sequence, shot-by-shot, and shot it in that order.
I don't believe film influences the culture in this way any more.
When a moment of violence is so suggestive, so new,
so unlike anything we've seen that it just becomes
part of the cultural conversation,
I think that's what happened with the shower scene.
I'm on this TV show called Scream Queens.
I've been asked to get in the shower and take pictures before,
I've been asked to recreate it and I've said no every time
because of course this is my mother's legacy
and it is not mine to play in, it's her sandbox.
But my mother's been gone now over ten years
and this is a great show and it was
a really respectful, funny homage.
And so the red devil comes along, he rips open the curtain -
but I'm not there.
And that second I come from behind the bathroom door, attack him,
and right before, I do I look at him and go,
"I saw that movie, like, 50 times."
I went back to Chicago, shot the September 1960 cover.
I worked at the Playboy Club until probably October that year.
I was one of the original Bunnies there. I never mentioned Psycho.
The shot I didn't like was when Tony Perkins pulls me
out of the tub and wraps me in the shower curtain.
He picks me up to carry me out to the trunk, he gets me,
I don't know, about six, nine inches off the floor and drops me
back down because he wasn't in a position to pick up a dead weight.
He picks me up, puts me on his knees and then...
And that's me.
And that's out to the car and that's the end of me.
Alfred Hitchcock's shocking murder scene in Psycho changed the course of world cinema. It took a week to film, one quarter of the film's entire production schedule, and the scene required 78 set-ups and 52 cuts to achieve. Director Alexandre O Philippe's gripping documentary takes an unprecedented look at Hitchcock's infamous and iconic shower scene and its enduring legacy.