Hitchcock is the undisputed “Master of Suspense,”
The biggest man in Hollywood (in almost every sense).
Fresh off another grand success, he wants something unique,
Not just another rehash of his former winning streak.
Then he finds a book called Psycho, quite a horrifying tale,
All about Ed Gein, who murdered on a most disturbing scale.
Deciding that this nut will be his next film’s inspiration,
He pours into the project his macabre imagination.
But the bigwigs up at Paramount think Hitch has lost his touch
And, despite his past successes, don’t support him very much.
They agree to distribution of his next film, if, that is,
He can find the needed funds for this bizarre project of his.
With the help of Alma Reville, his dear wife and confidante,
Hitchcock mortgages his home so he can finance this new jaunt.
He chooses Joe Stephano, whom he trusts to write the script,
And then Alma does the rewrites, though her credit’s often skipped.
With Janet Leigh to play the lead (who meets a grisly fate),
The famed director has the parts to make his movie great.
But Alma seems to always be with Whit, a writer friend,
And Hitchcock’s clearly bothered by this ever-distant trend.
But he himself has problems: He’s a shameless peeping tom,
And he ogles female’s photos; Alma knows it but stays calm.
With the censor being stubborn and his wife perhaps unchaste,
Hitchcock’s anger makes his body and his movie start to waste.
When he’s sick in bed, however, Alma steps up to the front
And directs in place of Hitch and films as he would want.
The final cut is less than great and stays that way until
Both Hitch and Alma reconcile and fix it with their skill.
The score in place, the censor soothed, at last his Psycho plays,
And, thanks to genius marketing, the crowds line up for days.
The shower scene is shocking but admired nonetheless,
And both Hitch and Alma celebrate their stunning shared success.

The fact that a movie about the making of Psycho is higher placed than the film itself probably says more about me than about the merit of the two films. Psycho is a masterpiece of filmmaking and was totally unique when it was released in 1960, terrifying audiences across the nation simply because they didn’t know what to expect. Now, 54 years later, though, I must admit that it has lost some of its power. Probably because we have been jaded by ever-worsening violence, Psycho is still fascinatingly disturbing, but it’s not the most grandly horrifying thing ever filmed, as it was decades ago. Thus, with its most compelling parts diminished in that sense, much of the film is slow and dated, to be honest; therefore, Hitchcock manages to be more entertaining as a whole than the original.

Also, while Anthony Perkins was perfect as the deranged momma’s boy Norman Bates, the rest of the cast were just okay for the most part. In Hitchcock, just about every actor is at the top of their game, making it a definite Triple A movie, since it’s All About the Acting. Anthony Hopkins may not exactly look and sound like the great director, but he vanishes into the Oscar-worthy role just as much as he did in Silence of the Lambs. Helen Mirren is also wonderful as she brings Hitch’s long-suffering wife to life, and her impassioned rebuff during the couple’s big argument is one of the great soliloquies in recent films, leaving her husband and the audience utterly speechless. While the film is a rather kind treatment of Alfred Hitchcock, who would probably have just been a dirty old man without his great contributions to cinema, it is a compelling and ultimately sympathetic biopic of the man behind the silhouette.

Best line: (Hitchcock) “I’m under extraordinary pressures on this picture, and the least you can do is give me your full support.”  (Alma) “Full support! We’ve mortgaged our house! I’m your wife! I celebrate with you when the reviews are good. I cry for you when they are bad! I put up with all those people who look through me as if I were invisible because all they see is the great and glorious ALFRED HITCHCOCK!”

Artistry: 6
Characters/Actors: 9
Entertainment: 6
Visual Effects: N/A
Originality: 5
Watchability: 4
TOTAL: 30 out of 60

Tomorrow: #320: The Killing Fields

© 2014 S. G. Liput