Psycho (1960) » Trivia

List of facts about Psycho.

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Considered for the role of Marion were: Eva Marie Saint, Piper Laurie, Martha Hyer, Hope Lange, Shirley Jones, and Lana Turner.

# # Alfred Hitchc*ck bought the rights to the novel anonymously from Robert Bloch for only US$9,000. He then bought up as many copies of the novel as he could to keep the ending a secret.

# # One of the reasons Alfred Hitchc*ck 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 film as inexpensively as possible (under $1 million). He also wondered if so many bad, inexpensively made, b/w "B" movies did so well at the box office, what would happen if a really good, inexpensively made, b/w movie was made.

This was Alfred Hitchc*ck`s last feature film in black and white.

During filming, this movie was referred to as "Production 9401" or "Wimpy". The latter name came from the second-unit cameraman on the picture Rex Wimpy who appeared on clapboards and production sheets, and some on-the-set stills for Psycho.

Janet Leigh has said that when he cast her, Alfred Hitchc*ck 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."

The license plate on Marion`s first car is ANL-709. The license plate on Marion`s second car is NFB-418. The latter could be a Québec reference. NFB stands for National Film Board of Canada, the famous office in which Norman McLaren, Claude Jutra, Michel Brault and many others worked, and 418 is the regional phone code for the region of Québec city. Although the real regional code of the NFB is 514 and not 418, this could have been mistaken by Hitchc*ck, as he shot I Confess (1953) in Québec years earlier in the effective 418 area.

Norman`s hobby is taxidermy, stuffing birds.

# # The film only cost US$800,000 to make and has earned more than US$40 million. Alfred Hitchc*ck used the crew from his TV series "Alfred Hitchc*ck Presents" (1955) to save time and money. In 1962 he exchanged the rights to the film and his TV series for a huge block of MCA`s stock, becoming its third-largest stockholder).

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, but was subsequently cut.)

Norman removes a small picture hiding a hole in the wall to peep at Marion in the shower. The picture is a print of a painting by Titian, "The r*pe of Lucretia".

Alfred Hitchc*ck produced this film when plans to make a film starring Audrey Hepburn, called "No Bail for the Judge," fell through.

Director Cameo: [Alfred Hitchc*ck] about four minutes in wearing a cowboy hat outside Marion`s office.

Director Trademark: [Alfred Hitchc*ck] [hair] Lila, and Mother.

Walt Disney refused to allow Alfred Hitchc*ck to film at Disneyland in the early 1960s because Hitchc*ck had made "that disgusting movie "Psycho".

This was Alfred Hitchc*ck`s last film for Paramount. By the time principal photography started, Hitchc*ck had moved his offices to Universal and the film was actually shot on Universal`s back lot. Universal owns the film today as well, even though the Paramount Pictures logo is still on the film.

Director Trademark: [Alfred Hitchc*ck] [bathroom] Marion hides in the bathroom to count the required number of bills.

# According to Stephen Rebello, author of "Alfred Hitchc*ck and the Making of Psycho", Alfred Hitchc*ck was displeased with the performance of John Gavin who played Sam Loomis in the film and referred to the actor as `the stiff`.

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 Hitchc*ck Presents" (1955), including two directed by Hitchc*ck.

In the opening scene, Marion Crane is wearing a white bra because Alfred Hitchc*ck 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 right at the water stream, Alfred Hitchc*ck had a six-foot-diameter shower head made up so that the water sprayed past the camera lens.

Marion`s white 1957 Ford sedan is the same car (owned by Universal) that the Cleaver family drove on "Leave It to Beaver" (1957).

Vera Miles wore a wig for her role as she had to shave her head for a role in the film 5 Branded Women (1960).

First American film ever to show a toilet flushing on screen.

# Joseph Stefano was adamant about seeing a toilet on-screen to display realism. He also wanted to see it flush. Alfred Hitchc*ck 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.

The movie in large part was made because Alfred Hitchc*ck 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. Indeed, he ultimately used a crew consisting mostly of TV veterans and hired actors less well known than those he usually used.

This was voted the seventh scariest film of all time by Entertainment Weekly.

The novel "Psycho", written by Robert Bloch, was actually part of a series of pulp novels marketed in conjunction with the popular spooky radio show "Inner Sanctum".

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 picture but came to a mere US$15,000.

In the novel, the character of "Marion" was "Mary" Crane.

According to Janet Leigh, wardrobe worn by her character Marion Crane was not custom made for her, but rather purchased "off the rack" from ordinary clothing stores. Alfred Hitchc*ck 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.

The first scene to be shot was of Marion getting pulled over by the cop. This was filmed on Golden State Freeway (number 99).

# # 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. Hitchc*ck also withheld the ending part of the script from his cast until he needed to shoot it.

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 Hitchc*ck Presents" (1955) TV show the car lot`s usual inventory was displaced in favor of shiny Edsels, Fairlanes and Mercury models from Ford.

In order to implicate viewers as fellow voyeurs Alfred Hitchc*ck 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.

To ensure the people were in the theaters at the start of the film (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.

Anthony Perkins was paid US$40,000 dollars for his role, which is exactly the same amount of money that Marion Crane embezzles.

Visa d`exploitation en France : #23645.

Beethoven`s 3rd Symphony ("Eroica") is in Norman`s record player

In 2006, Scottish artist Douglas Gordon created a 24-hour slow-motion version of the film titled "24-Hour Psycho" that played at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The Bates house was largely modeled 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 American iconic artist Edward Hopper. The architectural details, viewpoint and austere sky is almost identical as seen in the film.

# # 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 Alfred Hitchc*ck decided to make a film of "Psycho" and exactly one year before the June 16, 1960 date when the film had its world premiere in New York. Work on the script began in October, 1959, four months after Reeves`s death. Filming began in November, 1959, five months after Reeves`s death. At the time of Reeves`s death, Hitchc*ck was on a world tour promoting North by Northwest (1959). (Source: "The Dark Side of Genius: The Life of Alfred Hitchc*ck," by Donald Spoto.) George Reeves did not live long enough to even know a film of "Psycho" was planned, much less actually appear in it.

Alfred Hitchc*ck deferred his standard $250,000 salary in lieu of 60% of the film`s net profits. His personal earnings from the film exceeded $15 million. Adjusted for inflation, that amount would now top $150 million in 2006 dollars.

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 2007, the American Film Institute ranked this as the #14 Greatest Movie of All Time.

If you look attentively you can notice that nearly every time a driver gets out of his car he does so through the passenger side, a seemingly odd behavior. This is due to the bench seating in older cars, and Alfred Hitchc*ck`s desire to continue the shot without either moving the camera to follow the actor or having the actor walk between the car and the camera.

# On February 8, 1960, exactly one week after he finished "Psycho," Alfred Hitchc*ck directed an episode of TV`s "Startime" (1959) ("Incident at a Corner", #1.27), that also featured Vera Miles and much of the same crew that worked on "Psycho".

Ranked #1 on the AFI 100 Years... 100 Thrills film series.

Ranked #14 on the AFI 100 Years... 100 Movies 10th Anniversary Edition, up 4 places from #18 in 1997.

# # "Psycho" was first scheduled to air on U.S. network TV in the fall of 1966. Just before it would have aired, however, Valerie Percy, the daughter of U.S. Senator Charles H. Percy (R-Illinois: 1967 - 85), was stabbed to death, apparently by an intruder, in a murder that, as of 2007, remains unsolved. It was deemed prudent, under the circumstances, to postpone the scheduled airing. Ultimately, the film was never shown on U.S. TV until 1970, following a highly successful theatrical re-release the previous year. At that time, Universal released in on the syndication market, where it quickly became a popular staple on local late night horror film showings.

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