Director Sir 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, "Thirty-three percent of the effect of Psycho was due to the music."
Director Sir 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.
On-set, Sir Alfred Hitchcock would always refer to Anthony Perkins as "Master Bates".
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. Sir Alfred Hitchcock also withheld the ending part of the script from his cast until he needed to shoot it.
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.
Walt Disney refused to allow Sir Alfred Hitchcock to film at Disneyland in the early 1960s because Hitchcock had made "that disgusting movie, 'Psycho.'"
Director Sir Alfred Hitchcock bought the rights to the novel anonymously from Robert Bloch for only $9,000. He then bought up as many copies of the novel as he could, to keep the ending a secret.
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.
Paramount Pictures gave Hitchcock a very small budget with which to work, because of their distaste with the source material. They also deferred most of the box-office take to Hitchcock, thinking the movie would fail. When it became a sleeper hit, Hitchcock made a fortune.
In the opening scene, Marion Crane is wearing a white bra because Sir 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.
For a shot looking up into the water stream of the shower head, Sir Alfred Hitchcock had a six-foot-diameter shower head made up and blocked the central jets so that the water sprayed in a cone past the camera lens, without any water spraying directly at it.
The score, composed by Bernard Herrmann, is played entirely by stringed instruments.
Sir Alfred Hitchcock wanted to make this movie so much that he deferred his standard $250,000 salary in lieu of 60% of the movie's gross. Paramount Pictures, believing that this movie would do poorly at the box-office, agreed. His personal earnings from this movie exceeded $15 million. Adjusted for inflation, that amount would be just over $120 million in 2016 dollars.
When Norman discovers the body of Marion Crane, he shouts, "Mother! Oh God! God! Blood! Blood!" Sir Alfred Hitchcock had the bass frequencies removed from Anthony Perkins' voice to make him sound more like a frightened teenager.
After this movie's release, Sir Alfred Hitchcock received an angry letter from the father of a girl who refused to have a bath after seeing Diabolique (1955), and now refused to shower after seeing this movie. Hitchcock sent a note back simply saying, "Send her to the dry cleaners."
The reason Sir Alfred Hitchcock cameos so early in the movie was because he knew people would be looking out for him, and he didn't want to divert their attention away from the plot.
Janet Leigh received threatening letters after this movie's release, detailing what they would like to do to Marion Crane. One was so grotesque, she passed it on to the F.B.I. The culprits were discovered, and the F.B.I. said she should notify them again if she ever received any more letters.
Every theater that showed this movie had a cardboard cut-out installed in the lobby of Sir Alfred Hitchcock pointing to his wristwatch with a note 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"
The novel upon which this movie was based was inspired by the true story of Ed Gein, a serial killer who was also the inspiration for Deranged: Confessions of a Necrophile (1974), The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), and The Silence of the Lambs (1991).
The movie in large part was made because Sir 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. He ultimately used a crew consisting mostly of television veterans and hired actors and actresses less well-known than those he usually used.
One of the reasons Sir Alfred Hitchcock shot the movie in black-and-white was he thought it would be too gory in color. But the main reason was that he wanted to make the movie as inexpensively as possible (under one million dollars). He also wondered if so many bad, inexpensively made, black-and-white "B" movies did so well at the box-office, what would happen if a really good, inexpensively made, black-and-white movie was made.
To ensure the people were in the theaters at the start of this movie (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.
The amount of cash Marion stole, $40,000 in 1960, would be equivalent to approximately $315,000 by today's standards. The $700 difference she paid when trading in her car, and getting another one, would be equivalent to about $5,500 in today's money.
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.
The strings-only music by Bernard Herrmann is ranked #4 on AFI's 100 Years of Film Scores.
The official trailer back in 1960 ran on for over six minutes and thirty seconds, a feat unheard of in today's trailers.
Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh were allowed to improvise their roles. For example, Norman's habit of munching on candy corn.
The movie's line "A boy's best friend is his mother." was voted as the #56 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100).
In order to implicate viewers as fellow voyeurs, Sir 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.
Janet Leigh invented a complete backstory for Marion Crane, figuring out what she was like in high school, her favorite colors, et cetera.
After this movie was released, for years Anthony Perkins refused to talk about the part of Norman Bates, because everyone associated Perkins with the character.
Sir Alfred Hitchcock used Hershey's chocolate syrup instead of blood, because it showed up better on camera.
According to Janet Leigh, the wardrobe worn by her character Marion Crane was not custom made for her, but rather purchased "off the rack" from ordinary clothing stores. Sir Alfred Hitchcock wanted women viewers to identify with the character by having her wear clothes that an ordinary secretary could afford, and thus add to the mystique of realism.
A shot of Marion removing her black bra before her shower was removed by the U.S. censors, while the scene remained intact in the U.K.
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.
This was Sir Alfred Hitchcock's last film for Paramount Pictures. By the time principal photography started, Hitchcock had moved his offices to Universal Pictures, and this movie was shot on Universal's backlot. Universal owns the movie today as well, even though the Paramount Pictures logo is still on the movie.
Janet Leigh wore moleskin adhesive patches covering her private parts when she acted out the shower scene, so she would not really be nude and the camera would not pick up anything supposedly obscene. However, after the warm water of the shower washed off the moleskin, Sir Alfred Hitchcock still did one more take. The take was used in the finished movie.
In Robert Bloch's novel, Norman Bates is short, fat, older, and very dislikable. It was Sir Alfred Hitchcock who decided to have him be young, handsome, and sympathetic. Norman is also more of a main character in the novel. The story opens with him and Mother fighting, rather than following Marion from the start.
There are several references to birds in this movie: Marion's surname is Crane, Norman's hobby is stuffing birds, and Norman states that Marion eats like a bird. Sir Alfred Hitchcock's next movie was The Birds (1963).
Joseph Stefano was adamant about seeing a toilet on-screen to display realism. He also wanted to see it flush. Sir 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 movie (and possibly first fictional movie) ever to show a toilet flushing on-screen.
The Bates house was largely modelled on an oil painting at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. The canvas is called "House by the Railroad" and was painted in 1925 by the iconic American artist Edward Hopper. That painting was the first one that was acquired by New York's Museum of Modern Art (in 1930). The architectural details, viewpoint, and austere sky is almost identical as seen in this movie.
As part of publicity campaign prior to release of this movie, Sir Alfred Hitchcock said: "It has been rumored that 'Psycho' is so terrifying that it will scare some people speechless. Some of my men hopefully sent their wives to a screening. The women emerged badly shaken, but still vigorously vocal."
While writing the screenplay, Joseph Stefano was in therapy dealing with his relationship with his own mother.
Janet Leigh only had three weeks to work on the movie and spent the whole of one of those weeks filming the shower sequence.
Sir 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, Hitchcock'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. Hitchcock's voice said simply "Brand X is a western." "Now for my picture", followed by a loud scream. End of commercial.
The sound that the knife makes penetrating the flesh is actually the sound of a knife stabbing a casaba melon.
In 1992, this movie was selected for preservation by The Library of Congress at The National Film Registry.
According to biographers, Sir Alfred Hitchcock had a troubled relationship with his own domineering mother, who, like Mrs. Bates, forced him to stand at the foot of her bed and tell her everything that had happened to him, although the real relationship was not as disturbed as that seen in the movie.
Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh said that they do not mind being stereotyped forever because of their participation in this movie. They have said in interviews they would rather be stereotyped and be remembered forever for this classic movie than not be remembered at all.
This movie only cost $800,000 to make, and earned more than $40 million. Sir Alfred Hitchcock used the crew from his television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955) to save time and money. In 1962, he exchanged the rights to the movie and his television series for a huge block of MCA's stock, becoming its third-largest stockholder).
Janet Leigh has said that when he cast her, Sir Alfred Hitchcock gave her the following charter: "I hired you because you are an actress. I will only direct you if A: you attempt to take more than your share of the pie, B: you don't take enough, or C: if you are having trouble motivating the necessary timed movement."
According to Stephen Rebello, author of "Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho", Sir Alfred Hitchcock was displeased with the performance of John Gavin (Sam Loomis) and referred to Gavin as "the stiff".
Sir Alfred Hitchcock even had a canvas chair with "Mrs. Bates" written on the back prominently placed and displayed on the set throughout shooting. This further added to the enigma surrounding who was the actress playing Mrs. Bates.
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), the car lot's usual inventory was displaced in favor of shiny Ford's, Edsels, and Mercurys.
In the novel, it is explained that Marion and Sam met on a cruise and fell in love, which is how their relationship became a long distance one, with Marion in Phoenix, Arizona, and Sam in Fairvale, California.
Shooting wrapped February 1, 1960, nine days over schedule. A rough cut was finished by April, at which point, Sir Alfred Hitchcock was convinced his "experiment" had failed. He was ready to cut the movie down to a television episode, but handed it to Bernard Herrmann to score. After he saw the completed movie with the music, he was very pleased.
Vera Miles wore a wig for her role, as she had to shave her head for her role in 5 Branded Women (1960).
Anthony Perkins was paid $40,000 for his role, which is the same amount of money that Marion Crane embezzled.
In an interview on The Dick Cavett Show (1968), Sir Alfred Hitchcock said of the shower scene, "everything was so rapid that there were seventy-eight separate pieces of film in forty-five seconds."
Sir Alfred Hitchcock was initially disappointed with the movie. He even disliked the shower scene and believed the movie would end up on a low budget drive-in double-bill. According to Bernard Herrmann, Hitchcock thought of editing it down for broadcast on his television show. Hitchcock did not conceive of music for the shower scene, but Herrmann did it anyway. After seeing the movie with its score, including the shower sequence, that he realized that the movie would work.
The trailer was shot after completing the movie, and because Janet Leigh wasn't available anymore, Sir Alfred Hitchcock used Vera Miles in the shower sequence in the trailer.
When Sir Alfred Hitchcock was off due to illness, the crew shot the sequence of Arbogast inside the house going up the stairs. When Hitchcock saw the footage, he complimented those responsible but said the sequence had to be re-shot. Their version made it appear as if Arbogast was going up the stairs to commit a murder. Hitchcock re-shot the sequence.
Sir Alfred Hitchcock teased the press that Dame Judith Anderson, who had famously essayed the part of Mrs. Danvers in Rebecca (1940), would play the part of Mrs. Bates.
This was Sir Alfred Hitchcock's last theatrical movie in black-and-white. It was filmed from November 30, 1959 to February 1, 1960.
Screenwriter Joseph Stefano and director Sir Alfred Hitchcock deliberately layered-in certain risqué elements as a ruse to divert the censors from more crucial concerns, like the action that takes place in the bedroom in the beginning and the shower murder. The censors reviewed the script and censored the "unimportant" extra material and Hitchcock managed to sneak in his "important" material.
The novel "Psycho", written by Robert Bloch, was part of a series of pulp novels marketed in conjunction with the popular spooky radio show "Inner Sanctum".
Norman Bates is ranked the second greatest villain on AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes & Villains.
The first scene to be shot was of Marion getting pulled over by the cop. This was filmed on Golden State Highway (CA 99).
Among the major promotional items for this movie was a lengthy coming attractions trailer (filmed in several languages) of Sir Alfred Hitchcock taking the audience on a seemingly lighthearted tour of the house and motel. At the end, Hitchcock pulls open a shower curtain to reveal a close-up of a woman screaming. The actress is not Janet Leigh, but Vera Miles wearing a wig similar to Miss Leigh's hairstyle. The logo "Psycho" simultaneously comes onto the screen and cleverly covers Miss Miles' eyes so that the switch is not easily discernible.
Sir Alfred Hitchcock strictly mandated, and even wrote into theater managers' contracts, that no one arriving after the start of each showing of this movie would be admitted into the theater until the beginning of the next showing. Advertising artwork deceived audiences into thinking that Janet Leigh was its star, and patrons arriving after her murder would wonder where she was. Newspaper advertisements cleverly piqued audience curiosity with such statements as "You MUST see 'Psycho' from the very beginning. No one, not even the President of the United States, not the theater manager's brother, not even the Queen of England (God bless her), will be allowed into the theater after the beginning of each showing of "Psycho". This is to allow you to enjoy "Psycho" more. By the way, after you see the film, please do not give away the ending. It's the only one we have." News cameras photographed audience members waiting in lines outside theaters to see this movie, creating tremendous curiosity about the movie, and adding extra publicity.
When Marion is having a conversation with Norman in his parlor, Norman says in reference to his mother: "She had to raise me all by herself after my father died. I was only five and it must have been quite a strain for her." Anthony Perkins (Norman) was his parents' only child, and he, like Norman, suffered the loss of his father when he was five-years-old. From then on, he was raised by his mother.
On CA 99, that eventually turns into Pacific Avenue near the Fife and Tacoma boarder in Washington, 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 horror movies, he renamed the motel, Bates Motel. In April of 2012, the hotel was torn down, but the hotel sign is still intact.
Kim Stanley, noted Actors Studio legend, was offered the role of Lila, but turned it down due to personal reservations about working with Anthony Perkins.
Sir Alfred Hitchcock hated the infamous psychiatrist explanation scene done by Dr. Fred Richman (Simon Oakland) at the end of the movie. He felt the scene was boring, and the movie came to a grinding halt at that point. The scene has also been ripped to shreds by critics over the years as the worst scene in the movie, and one of Hitchcock's worst scenes ever. Hitchcock and viewers felt the scene was unnecessary, overly obvious, and too talky, slowing down the action and suspense of the rest of the movie. But there was strong pressure from the studios and powers-that-be that funded and distributed the movie to relieve the pressure from earlier scenes, and also to explain the action to less insightful audience members who might be confused by the big reveal at the ending, so the scene was kept in.
In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked this as the #14 Greatest Movie of All Time.
Sir Alfred Hitchcock produced this movie when plans to make a movie starring Audrey Hepburn, called "No Bail for the Judge", fell through.
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.)
In Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998), Janet Leigh drove a 1950s car similar to Marion Crane's, which, when revealed, part of the Psycho theme is played. Director John Carpenter was inspired by Psycho when making Halloween (1978) and was quite excited when Leigh's daughter Jamie Lee Curtis auditioned and was cast. Leigh played Curtis' secretary.
In total, three actresses recorded Norma Bates' dialogue. Their recordings were then mixed together until Hitchcock found the right tone of voice for each particular scene.
Bernard Herrmann related how the shots of Marion driving away after taking the money looked very ordinary. Sir Alfred Hitchcock thought of having the soundtrack convey anxious voices in her head to add to the action and tension. Herrmann noted, however, that it still didn't work until he suggested bringing back the main title music. All in all, Hitchcock was delighted with Herrmann's very significant contribution to this movie, giving the composer an unusual amount of credit (for Hitchcock) and stating openly that "Thirty-three percent of the effect of Psycho was due to the music."
First billed Anthony Perkins does not appear until twenty-seven minutes into the movie. Second billed Vera Miles does not appear until fifty-seven minutes into the movie.
DIRECTOR CAMEO (Sir Alfred Hitchcock): (At around four minutes) Wearing a cowboy hat outside Marion's office.
Parts of the house were built by cannibalizing several stock-unit sections including a tower from the house in Harvey (1950). The house was the most expensive set of the movie, but came to a mere fifteen thousand dollars.
This movie was first scheduled to air on U.S. network television in the fall of 1966. Just before it would have aired, however, Valerie Percy, the daughter of then U.S. Senate candidate Charles H. Percy (U.S. Senator, R-Illinois: 1967 to 1985), was stabbed to death, apparently by an intruder, in a murder that, as of 2011, remains unsolved. It was deemed prudent, under the circumstances, to postpone the scheduled airing. Ultimately, this movie was not shown on U.S. network television until 1970, following a highly successful theatrical re-release in 1969. At that time, Universal Pictures released it on the syndication market, where it quickly became a popular staple on local late night horror movie showings.
The theatrical trailer shows Sir Alfred Hitchcock giving a partial tour of the set located on the Universal Studios backlot. It ends with a tour of the famous bathroom and Sir Alfred Hitchcock pulling the shower curtain revealing the screaming Vera Miles. (Vera Miles was the stand-in for Janet Leigh because Leigh was not available.
During pre-production, Sir Alfred Hitchcock said to the press that he was considering Helen Hayes for the part of Mother. This was obviously a ruse, but several actresses wrote to Hitchcock requesting auditions.
One of the reasons why Sir Alfred Hitchcock wanted to make this movie in black-and-white is because Hitchcock loved the French horror movie Diabolique (1955), which was made in black-and-white. Diabolique (1955) was based on Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac's novel "Celle qui n'était plus" (She Who Was No More). Hitchcock attempted to buy the rights to this novel in 1950s. But Director Henri-Georges Clouzot bought the movie rights to the original novel. Clouzot reportedly beat Hitchcock by only a matter of a few hours.
Marion Crane's white 1957 Ford sedan is the same car (owned by Universal Studios) that the Cleaver family drove on the television series Leave It to Beaver (1957).
This movie features in both the American and British Film Institutes' Top 100 lists.
Although disputed, it is claimed that graphic gesigner and title director Saul Bass directed the shower sequence. Bass certainly storyboarded the scene, but there is disagreement about the level of direction by Sir Alfred Hitchcock, and how much credit can be afforded by Bass for the construction of this iconic scene. Janet Leigh flat out denies this claim, saying that Hitchcock directed the sequence one hundred percent.
According to Alfred Hitchcock, "Psycho" was originally intended to be a comedy. Speaking with the TV program Monitor in July 1964: "I once made a movie, rather tongue-in-cheek, called "Psycho." The content was, I felt, rather amusing and it was a big joke. I was horrified to find some people took it seriously. It was intended to make people scream and yell and so forth - but no more than screaming and yelling on a switchback railway. So you mustn't go too far because you want them to get off the railway giggling with pleasure."
The shower scene was shot from December 17 through December 23, 1959. It features seventy-seven different camera angles, and includes fifty cuts.
The look of the tall vertical mansion on the hill contrasted with the low, long motel was a deliberate composition choice. Yet Sir Alfred Hitchcock said it wasn't his intention to create a mysterious atmosphere with the big Gothic house, but to re-create the kind of older architecture that existed in the Northern California setting of the story.
Sir Alfred Hitchcock always preferred to film indoors on a soundstage, and only the distant shots of the Bates Mansion were shot outside on the backlot. 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 soundstage and the cut from exterior, backlot, set to interior soundstage can clearly be seen as Lila approaches, visible in the difference in the lighting when the camera cuts from her back to the porch and front door once she gets close.
During filming, this movie was referred to as "Production 9401" or "Wimpy". The latter name came from Second Unit Cameraman Rex Wimpy, who appeared on clapboards and production sheets, and some on-the-set stills for this movie.
As well as changing the character of Norman Bates, another variation on the novel is that the movie expands the opening chapters of the book, going into greater detail about Marion absconding with $40,000.
This movie marked the fifth and final time that Sir Alfred Hitchcock earned an Oscar nomination for Best Director, though he never won.
Director Sir Alfred Hitchcock and Director of Photography John L. Russell regularly used two cameras to get most of the shots in this movie, rather than resetting to get different angles, a common practice in television, but rare for theatrical movies.
Anthony Perkins was always Sir Alfred Hitchcock's first choice for the part of Norman Bates.
Except for some shots filmed on backroads in Southern California (the scenes of Marion fleeing Phoenix), this movie was filmed on the backlot at Universal Studios. According to various sources, Paramount Pictures either had no space available, or refused to give Sir Alfred Hitchcock any. At any rate, he was happy to work at Universal Pictures, where his crew regularly worked on his television series.
Bernard Herrmann wrote the main title theme before Saul Bass created the opening credit sequence. Bass animated it to the music, creating the stabbing, wrenching look in which the credits are ripped in half.
Considered for the role of Marion were Eva Marie Saint, Lee Remick, Angie Dickinson, Piper Laurie, Martha Hyer, Hope Lange, Shirley Jones, and Lana Turner. Coincidentally, Dickinson played a Marion Crane-type character in Brian De Palma's Dressed to Kill (1980), a movie heavily influenced by this movie.
Sir Alfred Hitchcock had previously cast Vera Miles in The Wrong Man (1956). He wanted to cast her in Vertigo (1958), but she had to turn it down due to pregnancy. Miles was not happy making this movie, and felt that Hitchcock was punishing her by giving her an unflattering wardrobe that made her look matronly, never mind that it was designed by the famous Hollywood designer Edith Head. For her work, Miles received $100,700 per week.
Reflections are often used to imply schizophrenia, but in this movie, everyone except Norman Bates is seen in a mirror.
The claim that Sir Alfred Hitchcock and Joseph Stefano originally conceived the film with a jazz score instead of Bernard Herrmann's miniature string orchestra is disputed by Bernard Herrmann's daughter Dorothy. In Susan King's interview with Dorothy Herrmann (2011), Dorothy revealed that Hitchcock cut down expenses for this movie. Hitchcock used very inexpensive actors and actresses, and he used a string orchestra in order to save money.
The camera used to shoot Norman's point of view as he watched Marion undress through the peephole required a circular mask on the lens.
In 2006, Scottish artist Douglas Gordon created an art installation consisting of a twenty-four-hour slow-motion version of this movie. It was titled "24-Hour Psycho", and played at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
In the novel, Norman is described as being in his forties, short, overweight, and homely. However, Sir Alfred Hitchcock wanted audiences to be able to like and sympathize with the character, so he decided to make him more of a "boy next door" and cast Anthony Perkins, an actor in his twenties who was tall, thin, and handsome.
Bernard Herrmann decided to use only strings in his score to have a black and-white sound to go along with the black-and-white images.
The first scene to be shot was the one in which Marion, asleep in her car, is awakened by a highway patrolman.
The map on the wall behind the psychiatrist while he's talking in the Chief of Police's office is of Shasta County, California.
Lila Crane is standing in front of a display of lawn rakes in the hardware store scene that are arranged to give the appearance of hands reaching out to grab her.
On February 8, 1960, exactly one week after he finished this movie, Sir Alfred Hitchcock directed Startime (1959) season one, episode twenty-seven, "Incident at a Corner", that also featured Vera Miles, and much of the same crew that worked on this movie.
Director Alexander Payne said he couldn't imagine this movie being made in color, because it's far more chilling in black-and-white, but it was remade in color as Psycho (1998), to universal disapproval.
A false story has circulated that George Reeves was hired to play detective Milton Arbogast and filmed a few of his scenes with the rest of the cast just a week before his death. There is no truth to this rumor whatsoever. Reeves died on June 16, 1959, almost two months before Sir Alfred Hitchcock decided to make this movie, and exactly one year before the June 16, 1960 date when this movie had its world premiere in New York City. Work on the script began in October, 1959, four months after Reeves' death. Filming began in November, 1959, five months after Reeves' death. At the time of Reeves' death, Hitchcock was on a world tour promoting North by Northwest (1959). (Source: "The Dark Side of Genius: The Life of Alfred Hitchcock," by Donald Spoto.) George Reeves did not live long enough to even know a movie of "Psycho" was planned, much less appear in it.
James P. Cavanagh was the first writer to adapt Robert Bloch's novel for the production. However, his script was jettisoned in favor of the Joseph Stefano adaptation. Cavanagh also wrote at least five episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955), including two directed by Sir Alfred Hitchcock.
The first U.S. television station to show this movie was WABC-TV (Channel 7) in New York City, on their late night movie series "The Best of Broadway" on June 24, 1967.
Mary Tyler Moore (1970)'s Ted Knight (Ted Baxter) makes an appearance in this movie as one of the guards at the ending who open's the door to Norman's cell; so they can bring him a blanket.
Controversy arose years later when Saul Bass made claims that he had done the complete planning, and even directed the famous shower scene. Those who worked on the movie have refuted this claim.
Anthony Perkins (Norman Bates), Vera Miles (Lila Crane), and Virginia Gregg (Norma Bates) are the only actor and actresses to reprise their roles in Psycho II (1983).
Sir Alfred Hitchcock wanted either Stuart Whitman, Tom Tryon, Brian Keith, Cliff Robertson, or Rod Taylor for the role of Sam Loomis, but Universal Pictures insisted on John Gavin.
To achieve the effect of the water coming out of the shower head and streaming down past the camera on all sides, Sir Alfred Hitchcock had a huge shower head made to order and shot with his camera very close to it.
This movie is said to be heavily influenced by Henri-George Clouzot's Diabolique (1955). Diabolique (1955) was also a lurid, black-and-white crime story/film noir, with sharply drawn characters, a misogynistic overtone, and loads of suspense, focusing on a grisly murder scene in its middle, and a shock twist at the end. But whereas this movie had a shocking shower murder scene, Diabolique (1955) had a shocking bathtub murder scene. This movie's shower scene is said to be a ripoff of Diabolique (1955)'s bathtub scene, or certainly influenced by it.
Ranked #14 on the AFI 100 Years... 100 Movies 10th Anniversary Edition, up 4 places from #18 in 1997.
"Mother", or Norma Bates, is played by several actors and actresses in the movie, including Anthony Perkins. Several people contributed to her shrieking harpy hag voice, and there was a deliberate attempt to age her up, make her older, since Sir Alfred Hitchcock wanted this to be an apocryphal voice of Norman's own conscience and inner demons. Realistically, Norma Bates would be about fifty, since Norman in the movie is only about twenty-six, but you can hear from the voice of the actors and actresses playing her that she is supposed to be a sexagenarian, which is possible if she gave birth to Norman when she was in her mid to late thirties.
This movie was given an R rating by the MPAA in 1984 even though the movie was released in 1960. The MPAA ratings system wasn't created until 1968, and, from time to time, they re-rate older movies.
In the television series Bates Motel (2013), based on characters from this movie, during season five, episode four, "Hidden", Norman Bates is standing in the office eating candy corn while the Sheriff looks at the registry book. A tribute to the scene in this movie where Norman eats candy corn, while Arbogast is looking at the same book.
In his youth, Anthony Perkins had a boyish, earnest quality, reminiscent of the young James Stewart, which Sir Alfred Hitchcock exploited and subverted.
The head of Mrs. Bates, seen at the end of this movie, was donated by Sir Alfred Hitchcock to Henri Langlois of the Cinematheque Francaise.
According to the opening title cards, the action of this movie begins on Friday, December 11. Extrapolating from the production and release dates, one can determine that the year was 1959, as December 11 fell on a Friday that year.
This was the last movie Sir Alfred Hitchcock made for Paramount Pictures. To avoid interference by studio executives, he shot it on the Universal Pictures lot, where he had already moved his offices in order to produce Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955). Universal Pictures would later get the distribution rights to the movie as well.
Michael Powell directed the infamous movie Peeping Tom (1960), which has been called the "British version of Psycho" by critics. This is ironic, because this movie was directed by an Englishman. But Peeping Tom (1960) concerns itself with English characters and takes place in Britain, whereas this movie takes place in the U.S. and concerns itself with Americans. The only British character in this movie is Caroline. She plays Marion's co-worker at the beginning of the movie, and was played by Patricia Hitchcock, Sir Alfred's daughter.
Although various characters both the book and movie describe an incestuous relationship between Norma and Norman Bates; when we see the characters interacting; (when Norman play acts them interacting), they don't seem sexual at all. And Norman, when he play acts his mother; doesn't seem to be attracted to his mother at all; in both book and movie the mother comes across as a vicious shrew. So we have to take it for granted, when Sam describes this incestuous relationship at the end of the book, and when the psychiatrist describes it at the end of the movie; we have to take for granted that there was something incestuous going on because we see no trace of that in either book or movie. It's almost just a random detail thrown in at the ending just to make Norman more monstrous, but it doesn't really ring true with the rest of the story.
The highway patrolman who finds Marion Crane asleep in her car, tells her that she should have slept in one of the motels in the area just to be safe.
To paraphrase from the play "The Importance of Being Earnest", Oscar Wilde opined how man's tragedy was that he does not become like his mother.
In 2008, Marion Cotillard re-enacted the shower scene in a photoshoot for Vanity Fair. Cotillard shares the same first name of Janet Leigh's character in this movie: both are called Marion.
Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.
Vera Miles and Anthony Perkins are the only actress and actor to appear in this movie and Psycho II (1983). (Although Janet Leigh does appear in a flashback at the beginning of Pyscho II (1983)).
Norman's parlor features many stuffed birds, several of whom are associated with wisdom or intelligence, including an owl and a crow. Less noticed is a hoopoe, a striking striped bird native to Eurasia and Africa, that Norman rests his hand upon during the calm portion of his conversation with Marion. Hoopoes are common in Middle Eastern and African folklore, and are characterized as being wise, much like owls. On the other hand, pheasants like the one behind him in the same scene are thought to be fairly stupid, suggesting the split nature of Norman's personality. This seems intentional, given the recurring bird motifs throughout the movie.
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
Sam Loomis' last name is an obvious tongue-in-cheek reference to the Loomis armored truck company. This grimly humorous allusion is due to Marion Crane's stealing a large sum of money that she had been entrusted with as a courier, just as the operators of a Loomis truck are tasked with honorably transporting large sums of currency to various destinations.
Martin Balsam, playing a detective who shares his name, later spoofed his role as Milton Arbogast in The Silence of the Hams (1994).
Marion's lover's name is Sam Loomis. Marion was played by Janet Leigh. Her daughter (Jamie Lee Curtis) starred in Halloween (1978), in which the doctor's name was Samuel Loomis.
In his famous interviews with Hitchcock, Truffaut, who was a fan of the movie, commented that the scenes with the sheriff were a letdown. Hitchcock replied: "The sheriff's intervention comes under the heading of what we have discussed many times before: "Why don't they go to the police?". I've always replied: "They don't go to the police because it's dull." Here is a perfect example of what happens when they go to the police".
If Norman is only about 26 as the movie suggests, then the voice effects for the mother, clearly a woman in her 60s or 70s, are way too old. The mother should have sounded like a 45 year old, not a 75 year old.
When someone churns their arm up and down, miming a killer holding a knife and stabbing, and makes the "Dweet! Dweet! Dweet!" sound, mimicking Bernard Hermann's Psycho score; that has become the universal gesture that someone they have walked by or encountered is crazy. (Or Psycho as the movie suggests. )
While Psycho is seen as one of the best movies ever made; and it's 1982 sequel Psycho 2 also got good reviews; the 1998 shot by shot remake by Gus Van Sant is almost universally seen as one of the worst movies ever made.
Although Psycho is credited in some circles as being the original slasher movie; there are several movies that proceeded Psycho that were also prototypes and markers for the development of this genre. The first was a 1932 thriller called "Thirteen Women"; about a disgruntled sorority pledge who kills off all the girls in a fraternity that rejected her.
People talk about Halloween being the daddy of all slashers, and Psycho being the Grandaddy. There's actually a much longer history of slashers in film, going almost all the way back to the the slient era! There's three eras of old school film slashers; the golden age, movies like Fritz Lang's M, and Myrna Loy's 13 Women; and And Then There Were None, which were the original slasher type movies. Then there would be Classic Age Slashers, films from the 1950s and 1960s, like Psycho (1960) and Diabolqiue (1955). which would help create the protype for slashers as well. And then there would be modern slashers, which would start in the late 1960s in Italy with Dario Argento, Mario Bava and the Gallo movies; which would push the envelope for gore in the modern era with movies like Bay of Blood and Last Twitch of the Death Nerve. THe next group of slashers, after Gallo in the 1960s; would Be the American Moden Slashers; starting with Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Black Christmas in 1974; both followed by the seminal classic slasher JOhn Carpenter's Halloween in 1970; and finally Sean Cunningham's Friday the 13th in 1980. The period after that would be the post modern slashers, starting with Scream in 1996.
Felicia Farr, Carolyn Jones, Caroline Korney, and Eleanor Parker were considered for the role of Lila Crane.
The movie features seven actors and actresses who starred on The Twilight Zone (1959). Vera Miles (Lila Crane) starred in The Twilight Zone: Mirror Image (1960). Martin Balsam (Milton Arbogast) starred in The Twilight Zone: The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine (1959) and The Twilight Zone: The New Exhibit (1963). John McIntire (Sheriff Al Chambers) appeared in The Twilight Zone: The Chaser (1960). Simon Oakland (Dr. Fred Richmond) appeared in The Twilight Zone: The Rip Van Winkle Caper (1961) and The Twilight Zone: The Thirty-Fathom Grave (1963). Vaughn Taylor (George Lowery) appeared in The Twilight Zone: Time Enough at Last (1959), The Twilight Zone: Still Valley (1961), The Twilight Zone: I Sing the Body Electric (1962), The Twilight Zone: The Incredible World of Horace Ford (1963), and The Twilight Zone: The Self-Improvement of Salvadore Ross (1964). Lurene Tuttle (Mrs. Chambers) appeared uncredited in The Twilight Zone: Sounds and Silences (1964). John Anderson (California Charlie) appeared in The Twilight Zone: A Passage for Trumpet (1960), The Twilight Zone: The Odyssey of Flight 33 (1961), The Twilight Zone: Of Late I Think of Cliffordville (1963), and The Twilight Zone: The Old Man in the Cave (1963).
Not only was Sir Alfred Hitchcock intent on keeping this movie under wraps until the last possible minute, he also instructed theaters to not allow anyone in once the movie had started.
This movie made its American television debut on WABC in New York City on June 24, 1967.
Anthony Perkins had not one, but two, shower scenes in 1960. He also starred with Jane Fonda (in her film debut) in Tall Story (1960). They were kissing in a tiny shower in a camper.
This movie stars Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, and John Gavin all starred on episodes of Fantasy Island (1977). They all also starred on episodes of The Love Boat (1977) as well, along with Ted Knight, who makes an appearance at the end of this movie as the guard who brings Norman a blanket, and who also starred in an episode of The Love Boat (1977) as Gunner Norquist, a rival of Captain Stubbing (Gavin MacLeod) (much like he was a rival of Gavin MacLeod on Mary Tyler Moore (1970)).
The Partridge Family (1970) mother Shirley Jones auditioned for, and almost got, the part of Marion Crane.
Although it was rumored that Sir Alfred Hitchcock was having problems with his marriage during production, some have disputed that as just a rumor.
Jeanette Nolan's husband John McIntire played Sheriff Chambers in this film. Jeannette Nolan (who did some voice-work for Norma Bates and for screams in this film) also played some roles in Alfred Hitchcock's show "Alfred Hitchcock Presents." One of the episodes was "The Right Kind of House."
Forty thousand dollars, the amount stolen by Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), is the same amount deposited in the bank by Uncle Charlie (Joseph Cotten) in Shadow of a Doubt (1943).
At the time of the movie's release, the population of Phoenix was 439,170, up three hundred eleven percent from the 1950 census of 106,818. In 1960, Phoenix was the twenty-ninth largest city in the United States (up from the ninety-ninth largest city in 1950). In 2017, the population of Phoenix was 1,615,017, making it the fifth most populous city in the United States.
Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Lee's daughter, was born in 1958; right before Psycho started pre-production. Curtis would grow up to be cinema's top Screem Queen; in part because her mom was in this movie. Irwin Yablans, John Carpenter and Debra Hill, who all did the casting for Halloween; admitted they chose Jamie Lee in part because of the stunt casting aspect of her being Janet Lee's daughter; and this would then tie Halloween together with Psycho in the public's mind. Jamie Lee Curtis would go on to star in The Fog, Prom NIght, Halloween 2, and Terror Train; more horror movies (of different franchises) than any other actress in Hollywood. And again; alot of this was because her mother starred in Psycho.