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Psycho



By Bret McCabe | Posted 5/21/2008

In 1960, as various films from young European auteurs (see: L'Avventura, Breathless, Black Sunday, Shoot the Piano Player, La Dolce Vita) gained critical traction and other foreign directors were making respectable adult fare (Billy Wilder's The Apartment, Fred Zinnemann's The Sundowners, Jack Cardiff's Sons and Lovers), a fussy 60-year-old expatriate Brit turned bankable Hollywood name took his television show's crew and quickly, quietly, and inexpensively reinvented the horror movie. The formula is easy: Take a movie star (Janet Leigh) and cast her as a hard-working woman who steals money so that she and her lover can move on together. Send her from Arizona to California to meet up with her man, making an one-evening stop at a roadside motel where the innkeeper (Anthony Perkins) is an awkward but nice young fellow who takes a shine to the lovely traveler. And, as would anybody who has been driving for two days, she decides to take a shower . . . That Psycho continues to deliver today is a testament to Hitchcock's bluntly sophisticated filmmaking across the board and Perkins' career-defining performance. A boy's best friend is his mother.

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