Yes, yes, it’s me, banging on again about yet another film you’ve almost certainly seen at least 50 times already, and explaining why you really should fork out some hard-earned to watch it again at the picture house.
But ladies and gentlemen, this is Psycho (1960) we’re talking about here – do I have to try that hard to convince you?
OK, let’s look at the facts, shall we? When Alfred Hitchcock released what was probably his best film 50 years ago, audiences had never seen its like before. For the first time, in Joseph Stefano’s marvellous adaptation of Robert Bloch’s enjoyable but pulpy original novel, the thriller and horror genres were combined seamlessly in a story that, in Hitchcock’s own words, he wanted “audiences the world over to react to on an emotional level”.
And how could they fail to do so? The story is now the stuff of legend. Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), dutiful secretary turned fugitive from justice, heads cross-country with $40,000 of her employer’s money in her bag to meet her lover Sam Loomis (John Gavin) and stops off for a restful evening in Bates Motel, where she meets a young man, Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), a man too long under the influence of his ‘Mother’.
Yes, yes, we all know about *that* set-piece, but why not consider the other dark joys that await you once again? Like the change in Bates’ attitude when Marion suggests his mother could maybe be put “someplace”:
Norman Bates: You mean an institution? A madhouse?
Marion Crane: No, I didn’t mean it like…
Norman Bates: [suddenly angry] People always call a madhouse “someplace”, don’t they? “Put her in someplace.”
Marion Crane: I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to sound so uncaring.
Norman Bates: What do you know about caring? Have you ever seen the inside of one of those places? The laughing, and the tears, and those cruel eyes studying you? My mother there?
And of course, not forgetting:
Norman Bates: Uh-uh, Mother-m-mother, uh, what is the phrase? She isn’t quite herself today.
Nothing short of a miracle, and it’s a gleaming, remastered print as well. Seriously, what are you waiting for? Oh, right, you’re going to take a quick shower before you go…
Psycho is being re-released across Europe in the weeks and months ahead – please check local cinema details before travelling.