STRANGERS ON A TRAIN (1951): “You do my murder and I do yours.”

STRANGERS ON A TRAIN (1951) – Warner Bros. – ★★★★1/2

B&W – 101 minutes – 1.33:1 aspect ratio

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

Principal cast:  Farley Granger (Guy Haines), Ruth Roman (Anne Morton),  Robert Walker (Bruno Antony), Leo G. Carroll (Senator Morton), Patricia Hitchcock (Barbara Morton), Laura Elliott (Miriam Haines).

Screenplay by Raymond Chandler, Czenzi Ormonde and Whitfield Cook based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith

Cinematography by Robert Burks

Edited by William H. Ziegler

Music by Dimitri Tiomkin

Hitchcock at Warners:  Alfred Hitchcock completed Stage Fright, which was distributed by Warner Bros., just before he entered production on Strangers on a Train.  Hitchcock had found a new professional home, signing a multi-picture deal with Jack Warner.  Stage Fright, while it had not lost money, was certainly no blockbuster, and even Hitchcock himself seemed indifferent towards the movie.  Things would be different with his next film.  He was completely engaged, and definitely firing on all cylinders creatively.  As we take a look at the story of Strangers on a Train, we will see how Hitchcock used creative visuals throughout to advance and enhance the narrative.

A chance encounter?  The movie opens with scenes inter-cutting between two pairs of very different shoes.  Two men disembark from taxis, and enter a train station.  They are never seen above the knee, as one moves from left to right, and the other from right to left.  The way the scene is shot and edited, along with the music, seem to imply that they are moving inexorably towards one another.

We then see a train moving down the track, from a low camera angle.  The intersecting railroad tracks suggest divergent lives that are about to intersect.

Hitchcock said of this opening:  The shots of the rails in Strangers on a Train were the logical extension of the motif with the feet.  Practically, I couldn’t have done anything else.  The camera practically grazed the rails because it couldn’t be raised.

Then our two pairs of feet finally collide.  One could almost call this a “meet cute”, because there is at least a slight homoerotic undertone to the relationship.  One man, Guy Haines (played by Farley Granger), accidentally bumps his foot against the man sitting opposite him.  This man, Bruno Antony (Robert Walker) recognizes Guy as a tennis player, and engages him in conversation.  Bruno, talking almost non-stop, demonstrates that he knows quite a bit about Guy, including the fact that he wishes to be divorced from his wife, so he can be with Anne Morton, a senator’s daughter.   Bruno entices Guy back to his compartment for lunch.

Bruno is clearly an eccentric character, from his lobster-print tie to his many bizarre theories, and he has a delicate nature.  Guy finds him a little odd, and slightly amusing, but ultimately harmless.  Perhaps Guy feels a little sorry for him.  Bruno proposes one of his many “theories” to Guy:  the idea of a murder swap.  Two people have someone in their life that they would like to be rid of (such as Guy’s wife and Bruno’s father), but they can’t do it because of the motive.  But if they, complete strangers, swap murders, they will both be in the clear.  “You like my idea, don’t you Guy? You think it’s OK?”  asks Bruno.  “Sure” Guy assures him, “they’re all OK.”  Guy thinks he is just humoring this strange fellow, not endorsing his scheme.

Guy meets with his estranged wife Miriam, played to shrewish perfection by Laura Elliott.  She refuses to divorce him, saying she wants him back, even though she is pregnant with another man’s child.  When Bruno hears of this, he sets out to put his “theory” into practice.

Hitchcock has a marvelous sequence at a carnival, where Bruno follows Miriam and her two (!) male companions.  Bruno is not secretive about it;  rather, he makes sure that she sees him.  And she appears interested.  Even as she is with two other men, she is measuring the potential sexual prowess of a third.  She marvels at his strength when he rings the bell at the strongman game, and he wiggles his eyebrows at her, flexing his hands.  Miriam does not realize that this very strength which she is attracted to will be the instrument of her death.  Bruno follows the trio into the tunnel of love, and we get this interesting shot, as Bruno’s boat, and his figure, seem to overtake and engulf Miriam.

Finally they end up on an island, a lover’s lane of sorts, and Bruno strangles Miriam to death.  The scene begins quite violently.

The censors would never have allowed the entire strangulation to take place on screen, so Hitchcock found a very creative way to show her death.

Miriam’s glasses drop to the ground, and the act of strangulation is completed in the reflection of the glasses.  This was achieved by constructing a giant, oversized set of reflective glasses.  Actress Laura Elliott recalls that Hitchcock then instructed her to “float to the ground.”

Bruno then waits outside Guy’s house to tell him that his wife is dead and he is free.  Naturally, Bruno expects that Guy will fulfill his end of the bargain by killing Bruno’s father.   Notice how this scene is staged.  First Bruno is standing behind a gate, implying his guilt.

Then, when the police show up at Guy’s door, he too hides behind the gate.  Now he is complicit in the crime.  He tells Bruno “Now you have me acting like a guilty man.”  And of course he is guilty of wishing Miriam dead.  After all, he really did want his wife out of the way, and now it has happened.

The next section of the film has Bruno continually inserting himself into Guy’s life,  a constant reminder of the crime that has been committed, and the crime that Bruno wishes to still be committed.  Meanwhile, the police are suspicious of Guy in the death of his wife.

In one unforgettable shot,  Bruno observes Guy from a great distance, on the steps of the Jefferson memorial.

In a 1955 interview in Cahiers du Cinema Hitchcock describes this shot:  In Strangers on a Train I had to show a menacing crazy man.  I couldn’t use close-ups all the time;  that’s boring.  So I had the idea of using a small silhouette.  The grandiose Jefferson Memorial in Washington, all white, with a little silhouette, oh so black.  That was the equivalent of a close-up.

Then we have an ingenious shot at a tennis match.  Every head in the crowd is swivelling back and forth, left to right, following the path of the ball.  Every head except one:  that of Bruno, who stares directly at Guy.

Finally Guy goes to Bruno’s house.  Is he going to kill Bruno’s father?  Greater suspense is added to the scene with the inclusion of a large dog on the stairwell.   Bruno gets past the dog and into the father’s room.   He has not come to kill him, but rather to warn him about his crazy son.  Unfortunately, it is Bruno in his father’s bed.

Hitchcock describes this sequence as follows:  …in that scene we first have a suspense effect, through the threatening dog, and later on we have a surprise effect when the person in the room turns out to be Robert Walker instead of his father.  I remember we went to a lot of trouble getting that dog to lick Farley Granger’s hand.

Bruno tells Guy that he will set him up for the murder of his wife.  He has possession of Guy’s cigarette lighter, and Guy realizes that he will take it back to the location of the murder, in an attempt to frame him.

This sets up the film’s finale.  First there is a masterful sequence, showing Guy trying to win a tennis match as fast as possible, intercut with Bruno on his way to the amusement park.  Bruno drops the lighter in a storm drain and struggles to get it out.

Hitchcock described this sequence in a 1950 interview with New York Times Magazine:  In Strangers on a Train, the picture I am working on now, we are really exploiting the dramatic possibilities of movement.  The hero plays a championship tennis match, knowing all the while that the villain is moving deliberately toward the execution of a piece of dirty work which will leave the hero hopelessly incriminated.  He must play as hard and as fast as he can in order to win the match, get off the court, and overtake the villain…The camera, cutting alternately from the frenzied hurry of the tennis player to the slow operation of his enemy, creates a kind of counterpoint between two kinds of movement.

The finale of the movie is a showstopper of a sequence, which takes place on an out-of-control carousel, where Guy and Bruno face off, with the police watching.

The shooting of this sequence involved a real moving carousel, a static carousel with a moving screen behind, and a miniature.  All combine seamlessly;  the sequence holds up rather well.

Bruno refuses to confess to the murder, even as he is dying, but he is betrayed by the very object that he hoped to use to pin the murder on Guy.   This is a near-flawless film, that deserves to be mentioned among Hitchcock’s best works.

Performance:   Farley Granger is wonderful in the leading role of Guy Haines.  I find it interesting that Hitchcock wanted William Holden for the role.  Certainly Holden was a great actor, but his macho persona was not what this role needs.  Even as Guy is repulsed by Bruno, he still continues to show empathy, and I don’t think Holden could have pulled it off.  Ruth Roman, while a competent actress, plays the part with a cold detachment.  There is little chemistry between Granger and Roman.  As was frequently the case in a Hitchcock movie, the best role belongs to the villain, and Robert Walker is one of the best Hitchcock villains of all.  He is in some ways a precursor to Anthony Perkins’ Norman Bates;  a charming but fragile man, who has mental health issues exacerbated by his mother.   Hitchcock’s daughter Patricia, who plays Ruth Roman’s younger sister, steals every scene she is in.  This is the best part she ever had in a feature film, and she plays it perfectly.  Leo G. Carroll is solid, as always, in the role of Senator Morton.  And Marion Lorne, who will forever be remembered as Aunt Clara from TV’s Bewitched, plays Bruno’s mother with a brilliant comic touch.

Source material:  This movie is based on the debut novel of Patricia Highsmith.  Highsmith would go on to write many psychological thrillers, with a taut but textured literary style.  The novel Strangers on a Train differs in a few significant ways from the film.  The overall premise is the same;  the chance meeting on the train and Bruno’s idea for swapping murders.  In the novel, Guy is an architect rather than a tennis player.   The biggest difference is that in the book, Guy actually does murder Bruno’s father, completing the double murder compact.  But Bruno keeps coming around, wanting to befriend Guy.  Eventually Bruno accidentally drowns, which would seem to leave Guy in the clear.  But at some point he feels compelled to confess to his ex-wife’s lover, and this confession is overheard by a detective.  Guy turns willingly turns himself in at the end.  Never content to focus just on the plot and characters, Highsmith would often delve into psychological ruminations about the nature of people.   Here is one such excerpt of many to be found in this book:

But love and hate, he thought now, good and evil, lived side by side in the human heart, and not merely in differing proportions in one man and the next, but all good and all evil. One had merely to look for a little of either to find it all, one had merely to scratch the surface. All things had opposites close by, every decision a reason against it, every animal an animal that destroys it, the male the female, the positive the negative.

The thrilling carousel climax of the film is nowhere to be found in this book, but appears to be lifted directly from the 1946 novel The Moving Toyshop by Edmund Crispin. Could it be coincidental?  Possibly, although there are many similarities.   At any rate, Crispin was not credited on the film at all.

Recurring players:  Farley Granger had earlier starred in Rope.  Hitchcock favorite Leo G. Carroll was also in Rebecca, Suspicion, Spellbound, The Paradine Case and North by Northwest.  Hitchcock’s daughter Patricia also had small roles in Stage Fright and Psycho.  Murray Alper (carnival boat operator who recognizes Bruno) had appeared in Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Saboteur.  Al Bridge (tennis judge) had an earlier uncredited role in Saboteur.  Leonard Carey (the Antony’s butler) also had small parts in Rebecca, Suspicion and The Paradine Case.  Herbert Evans had appeared in Foreign Correspondent.  Tommy Farrell (one of Miriam’s escorts to the carnival) would later turn up as an elevator operator in North by Northwest.  Sam Flint (man who asks Bruno for a light on the train) would later turn up in Psycho as a county sheriff.  Charles Sherlock (cop) was Barry’s taxi driver in Saboteur.  And Robert Williams (bystander at drain) would later turn up in North by Northwest. 

Leo G. Carroll, Ruth Roman, and Patricia Hitchcock.

Academy Awards:  This film received one Oscar nod.  Robert Burks was nominated for best Black and White Cinematography.  He did not win.

Where’s Hitch?  Hitchcock’s cameo comes at about the 10:30 mark.  As Farley Granger is exiting the train in Metcalf, Hitchcock is boarding the train, while carrying a double bass.

What Farley said:  In his autobiography Include Me Out, Farley Granger had the following to say about his love interest in the film, Ruth Roman:

Warner Brothers was producing Strangers, and Ruth was under contract to them.  Hitch had wanted the then-little-known young actress Grace Kelly for the part, but Warners had refused.  Since they had to pay MGM to use Bob and Goldwyn to use me, they insisted that he use Ruth, who was really not right for the part.  Hitch did not like his artistic wishes thwarted.  As a result, he was cold and sometimes cruel to Ruth, which was unfair because as a contract player she was just doing what her studio told her to do.   But Hitch was right, she was wrong for the part.

Farley does not elaborate on why he thought she was wrong.  About working on the movie, he said:

All in all, working on Strangers on a Train was my happiest filmmaking experience… [Hitch] knew exactly what he wanted and how to get it…After he finished a setup, he would walk to the assistant, who would turn over a page.  Hitch would look at it and say:  The camera goes here, here and there; the lenses are this, this and that; the action takes place from here to there.  Then he would relax while the crew got things ready.  They respected and trusted him because he was able to be precise about what he wanted.  He never had to peer through a lens finder to see how a shot looked.

Patricia Hitchcock as Barbara Morton. Bruno becomes very disturbed when he sees her, because she reminds him of Miriam.

What Hitch said:  Hitchcock was proud of several moments in Strangers on a Train, but he still considered it a flawed film.  I think he is a little harsh in his assessment of this movie, which is a bona fide Hitchcock classic.  Among other things, he said:

As I see it, the flaws of Strangers on a Train were the ineffectiveness of the two main actors and the weakness of the final script.  If the writing of the dialogue had been better, we’d have had stronger characterizations.  The great problem with this type of picture, you see, is that your main characters sometimes tend to become mere figures…I was quite pleased with the over-all form of the film and with the secondary characters.  I particularly liked the woman who was murdered; you know, the bitchy wife who worked in a record shop.  Bruno’s mother was good too – she was just as crazy as her son.

I think the script is rather solid, with lots of well-penned dialogue.  Obviously it was not what Hitchcock was hoping for.  About his starring couple, he had the following harsh words:

She [Ruth Roman] was Warner Brother’s leading lady, and I had to take her on because I had no other actors from that company.  But I must say that I wasn’t too pleased with Farley Granger;  he’s a good actor, but I would have like to see William Holden in the part because he’s stronger.  In this kind of story the stronger the hero, the more effective the situation.

Definitive edition:  Warner Brothers 2012 blu-ray release is the best version of this film available for home viewing.  In addition to a sensational print of the film, the blu-ray also includes an alternate preview version, which has some slight, subtle differences from the final cut;  an excellent commentary track including archival audio from people like Hitchcock himself, Whitfield Cook, Patricia Hitchcock, Peter Bogdanovich, and many more contributors.  Also included are five featurettes:  a 36-minute making-of documentary; The Victim’s P.O.V, which is a 7-minute interview with the actress who played Miriam; a 12 minute appreciation by director M. Night Shyamalan;  a featurette with Hitchcock’s daughter and granddaughters; and a one-minute archival clip with no audio, likely from the promotional tour from the movie.  Also included is the original theatrical trailer.

 

 

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PSYCHO (1960): “Mother, uh, what is the phrase? She isn’t quite herself today.”

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PSYCHO (1960) – Paramount – Rating:  ★★★★½

 B&W – 109 minutes – 1.85:1 aspect ratio

Principal cast:  Anthony Perkins (Norman Bates), Janet Leigh (Marion Crane), John Gavin (Sam Loomis), Vera Miles (Lila Crane), Martin Balsam (Milton Arbogast), Patricia Hitchcock (Caroline).

Produced by Alfred Hitchcock

Screenplay by Joseph Stefano, based on the novel by Robert Bloch.

Director of Photography:  John L. Russell

Edited by George Tomasini

Music by Bernard Herrmann

Titles designed by Saul Bass

Note:  Because of the significance of this film in Hitchcock’s catalog, I will divide my analysis into two parts.  The first is a general overview;  the second will be a more detailed look at several key scenes in the movie, as well as overall techniques employed by Hitchcock.  Also, in past Hitchcock movie entries I  have tried to walk a fine line between review and analysis.  Going forward I will focus on analysis, and presume that my audience has already seen the movie.

Everybody knows Psycho.   It is part of a select group of films (e.g. CasablancaThe Wizard of Oz) that are part of the the movie-going collective consciousness, to the extent that even those who haven’t seen it almost feel as if they have.   Elements of the movie have been referenced, alluded to, copied, and parodied hundreds of times in popular culture.  But Alfred Hitchcock certainly did not set out to make a groundbreaking movie.  Psycho was intended to be an “experiment” of sorts, one that proved to be a massive success for all involved.

Source material:  The movie is based upon the 1959  novel of the same name by Robert Bloch.    Bloch’s novel is a well-paced, fast-moving thriller that most fans of the movie would likely enjoy.   The plot structure of the movie follows the book to such a degree that the book almost reads as a movie treatment.   The most significant change made by Hitchcock and screenwriter Joseph Stefano relates to character, not plot.  In the novel, Norman Bates is described as an overweight, middle-aged, pathetic looking man.  Bates’ physical description makes him a repulsive character from the first page.  For the movie, Hitchcock and Stefano made the wonderful decision that Norman Bates should be younger, more attractive, and likable.  Hitchcock loved to create a sympathetic antagonist, and perhaps there is no greater example  in his entire canon than that of Norman Bates.  He may be one of the most sympathetic “bad guys” in all of cinema.  Of course one could make the argument that Norman isn’t the villain at all;  rather his mother is the true antagonist, and Norman just another one of her victims.

The “experimental” film:  The word “experimental” could apply to a handful of Hitchcock’s films:  certainly The Wrong Man, Ropeand Lifeboat at the very least could be classified as such.  But Psycho was an experiment of a different nature, by Hitchcock’s own admission.

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He had just released North by Northwest in 1959.  That film was a breathtaking spectacle for the eyes, large in scope, shot in Technicolor and VistaVistion.  Why follow that up with a small scale, black and white film that has very little dialogue and takes place primarily in small cluttered rooms?  It is often said that Hitchcock had to make Psycho in black and white because the censors wouldn’t have allowed him to show blood in color, to the extent that he wanted to show it.   That certainly was a consideration, but Alfred Hitchcock also chose to shoot in black and white (and Psycho was his last non-color film) because he used his television crew to film it.  Alfred Hitchcock had the notion that he could use the technical crew from his very popular “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” TV show to shoot a feature film, and that they could do it in less time and with less money.  This was of some significance to Hitchcock because he was also the film’s producer.  Keeping costs down meant more money in his pocket.  And Psycho went on to become one of the most profitable film’s of Hitchcock’s entire career.  His “experiment” paid off in spades. 

Themes and motifs:  All of the major themes of Hitchcock’s career can be found in Psychomaking it a very representative work for that reason.  The concept of guilt is very significant.  Marion Crane is hounded by guilt almost from the moment she decides to flee with the money.  It is only after talking to Norman Bates at the motel that she has a change of heart, and makes her plan to return the money.  What a sad irony that Norman helps her come to this realization, only to kill her moments later.  Norman’s guilt is of a much more profound and complex nature.  He is portrayed as a victim, as much as anyone in this film, and yet he is most certainly a killer.  Another major theme is the relationship between men and women.  Hitchcock often portrays relationships with much more realism than was common at the time.  His films show that sacrifices have to be made for relationships to succeed.   Marion Crane is ready to make any sacrifice to be with Sam, but his pride gets in the way.  When he remarks sardonically that she can lick the stamps when he writes his alimony checks, the love and devotion in Marion’s voice when she replies “I’ll lick the stamps” is heartbreaking.  One could argue that Sam could have prevented the tragedy to come if he had merely put aside his pride and agreed to let Marion live with him.

psycho3To say that the “mother” motif shows up in this film is a major understatement.  Mothers in Hitchcock’s films are often domineering and belittling of their adult male children, nowhere more so than here.  Even from the grave, Mrs. Bates’ domination of her son is total.  Hitchcock’s fear of the police is on display here as well.  Hitchcock often portrayed law enforcement as inept, bumbling fools.  Here however, the highway patrolman is played with a sense of menace, and it works very well.   Some Hitchcock scholars have pointed out the many staircases that figure in his movies, and there is one that features very prominently here.

It is interesting that Hitchcock’s follow-up to this movie would be The Birds, because birds are all over in this movie.  Norman’s parlor is full of his stuffed birds.  He comments that Marion eats like a bird.  Marion’s room at the motel has pictures of birds on the wall.  Marion’s last name is Crane, a type of bird, and she is coming from Phoenix, named after the mythological bird.

Performance:  The two standout performances here belong to Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh.  Janet’s character undergoes a lot of different emotions in her shortened screen time, and she also has several scenes where she is alone on screen, and must convey her feelings with no dialogue.  She does a fantastic job of playing it low key.  And Perkins portrayal of Norman Bates is one of the best acting performances in any Hitchcock film.  Veteran character actor Martin Balsam is solid as always, in his portrayal of Arbogast.   The one performance that doesn’t quite work is that of John Gavin, playing Sam Loomis.  There is no real chemistry between Gavin and Janet Leigh in their opening scene, and he comes off as somewhat wooden.  Vera Miles, who plays Marion’s sister Lila, also gives a somewhat detached performance.  Miles is good, but somehow off-putting.

Promotion:  For Psycho  Alfred Hitchcock employed what may be the most ingenious marketing campaign in the history of motion pictures.  It all grew out of his concern that word of mouth would kill the movie’s surprises, and hurt its box office chances.  His first decision was not to have any advance screenings, either for critics or for a test audience.  He then made the decision that nobody should be allowed to enter the theater once the movie had started.  He actually made this a condition for theaters who wished to show the movie.  Movie theaters were sent a ton of promotional materials from Paramount explaining the policy of no late admissions, including signs, life-size cardboard figures of Alfred Hitchcock, and vinyl albums with repeating messages recorded by Hitchcock.  Here, you can listen to one of these promotional messages in its entirety.

Delivered with Hitchcock’s usual dry humor, the dialogue was written by James Allerdice, who also wrote most of Hitchcock’s dialogue for the Alfred Hitchcock Presents television show.  Another of the recorded messages  urged moviegoers not to give away the movie’s secrets to their friends.

Some theaters even hired security guards to man the lobbies, preventing late entries into the theater.  Hitchcock even went so far as to tell theater owners how to show the movie.  He suggested that the house lights should remain off for 30 seconds after the end credits finished.  Hitchcock suggested that this would imprint the movie’s images into the viewers minds.  He then suggested a very low light, ideally green, while moviegoers exited the theaters.   The campaign was a huge, unparalleled success, with massive lines queued up outside theaters all over the country.  Alfred Hitchcock also created one of the most unique and impressive theatrical trailers for this movie.  Rather than showing clips from the movie, the trailer features Alfred Hitchcock giving a “tour” of the Psycho movie set.  This highly entertaining trailer runs over 6 minutes in length, and can be seen in its entirety on the Universal blu-ray or DVD.

Recurring players:  Vera Miles appeared in the film The Wrong Man.

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   Mort Mills, who plays the highway patrolman so well, would later appear in Torn Curtain.  Frank Albertson also had an uncredited part in the remake of The Man Who Knew Too Much.  Sam Flint had a small role in Strangers on a Train.  Virginia Gregg had an uncredited role in Notorious.  And Hitchcock’s daughter Patricia can also be seen in Stage Fright and Strangers on a Train.

Where’s Hitch:  Alfred Hitchcock’s cameo comes very early in the film.  At about the 7:00 mark, he can be seen standing outside the office where Marion works, wearing a cowboy hat.

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Academy Awards:  Psycho received four nominations:  Alfred Hitchcock for best director, Janet Leigh for best supporting actress, John L. Russell for best black-and-white cinematography, and Joesph Hurley, Robert Clatworthy and George Milo for best art decoration/set decoration black-and-white.  Psycho did not win in any of these categories.

What Hitch said:  He told Truffaut that his main satisfaction with Psycho was that “the film had an effect on the audiences, and I consider that very important.  I don’t care about the subject matter; I don’t care about the acting…I feel it’s tremendously satisfying for us to be able to use the cinematic art to achieve something of a mass emotion.  And with Psycho we most definitely achieved this…the audiences…were aroused by pure film.”

Definitive edition:  Universal’s excellent 2010 blu ray release has a treasure trove of extra features:  a commentary track by Stephen Rebello, author of “Alfred Hitchcock and The Making of Psycho“; a feature-length documentary; a 10 minute segment on the new 5.1 sound mix; a 26 minute documentary featuring Martin Scorsese, Willliam Freidkin, Guillermo del Toro, John Carpenter, and many other filmmakers lavishing praise on Hitchcock; a 15 minute Hitchcock/Truffaut audio interview clip;  an 8 minute vintage newsreel; the shower scene with and without music; Saul Bass’ storyboards for the shower sequence; posters, ads and lobby cards; production and behind-the-scene photos; original theatrical trailer and 5 short re-release trailers.

Below you can watch one of the best scenes from the movie:  Arbogast questioning Norman Bates about Marion.  Here are two character actors at the absolute peak of their craft, and they are a joy to watch. When the two actors completed the first take on this sequence, the crew erupted into applause!  It was Anthony Perkins idea to chew on the candy corns, as was the stutter that creeps into his speech as Arbogast presses him.  Notice the shot, early in the sequence, when Perkins leans in to look at the signature.  The camera is underneath him, looking up at his chin.  Perkins leans in, keeping his face in frame, then stands up, and the camera follows him, all in one smooth take.   (Note:  Universal Pictures owns all rights to this movie.  If you haven’t seen it, please purchase or rent it!)