'Psycho' (1960)—A Movie Review

'Psycho' is one of my all-time favorite Alfred Hitchcock movies.

'Psycho' (1960)—A Movie Review

Oh, look, pull up right here! Hmm, The Bates Motel. Sounds like a cozy place to rest for the night.

Running away with stolen money, Marion Crane is in a struggle between right and wrong. Driving along the roads on a rainy evening, it isn’t until stopping at The Bates Motel when everything takes a dark turn of events.

Psycho is one of the best films that Alfred Hitchcock masterfully directed. I wish I could travel back to 1960 so I could witness the terror and fun of what it was like to see this movie on the big screen. Psycho is an astonishingly well-written story permeated with suspenseful signature scenes and a spell-bounding climax of twists and turns.

Janet Leigh is outstanding as Marion Crane, a woman struggling with her conscious. Leigh’s strong facial reactions whether thinking, scared or conversing with someone are well-acted. I liked Leigh’s scenes where she is pondering, imagining voices, as she drives along the dark road.

Anthony Perkins single-handedly stole the film the instant he steps on-screen. Little does the audience know how he is going to change the story. Perkins captured his role as a quiet, passive man who is tied down by his overbearing mother. It’s not until we discover what is truly going on inside his head that the whole story changes.

One of my favorite scenes is the parlor sequences where Marion and Norman sit down to eat a grilled cheese sandwich and talk. That scene in itself is filled with an unsettling mood about how these characters view each other. The entire scene is very well-directed, ending with one of my favorite monologues from Perkins.

Vera Miles and John Gavin create a new story once the first act of the film has ended in a surprising twist. One of my favorite supporting roles is Martin Balsam as Detective Arbogast.

Every single performance in Psycho is a sensation creating a riveting atmosphere. Psycho is all about the action of the characters. We don’t know what they are going to do next. Notable appearance includes John McIntire, Simon Oakland, Frank Albertson, Lurrene Tuttle, and Mort Mills. Expect a brief appearance from Patricia Hitchcock, the daughter of Alfred Hitchcock.

I have always had mixed reactions about the second half of the film. Sometimes it is slow and then picks up again. I also question whether the scene where Marion trades in her car for a new one is necessary or not.

Hitchcock’s direction and excellent cinematography are unlike no other film. The shower sequence is one of the most startling and infamous scenes. Originally, the striking violin music heard was never going to be a part of the scene. Thank you to music composer, Bernard Herrmann for incorporating this famous music.

Norman Bates’s house is a well-constructed detailed set-piece. I always enjoyed when we had the chance to venture into the home, especially the cellar. Each and every object is an important symbol of the past.

Many may not know that Psycho is actually based on a novel written by Robert Bloch. To prevent anyone from finding out about the twists, Hitchcock bought every single copy in existence. I read the novel after watching the film. It is a great read and I recommend it. Hitchcock took the liberty to make some changes.

Psycho is one of my all-time favorite Alfred Hitchcock movies. No matter how many times I watch it, I always have the same suspenseful reactions. The characters, plot, and well-directed twist created a big impact on horror film history. If you have not seen this incredible film, I highly recommend that you avoid looking up any details.

movie review
Marielle Sabbag
Marielle Sabbag
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Marielle Sabbag

Writing has been my passion. I love creating stories from fiction, poetry, fanfiction, and I even enjoy writing reviews about movies and plays. I would love to become a freelance writer and leave the world inspiring minds.

See all posts by Marielle Sabbag