50 Facts About Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho
– Psycho was released on June 16, 1960 by Paramount Pictures.
– Runtime: 109 minutes.
– The film had a budget of $806,947 and made 50 million at the box office. Or $394,264,075 million if adjusted for inflation today.
– It is the highest grossing film of Hitchcock’s career.
– It stars Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates. Janet Leigh as Marion Crane. Vera Mills as Lila Crane and John Gavin as Sam Loomis.
– Psycho is Alfred Hitchcock’s 49th film. His first horror movie.
– The film is based on the 1959 novel of the same name by Robert Bloch, which itself was based on the life and crimes of Wisconsin serial killer Ed Gein.
– Ed Gein also inspired the characters of Leatherface in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Hannibal Lector in The Silence of the Lambs.
– Hitchcock bought the rights for the novel anonymously for $9,500 then personally bought up as many copies of the novel as he could to keep the ending a secret from the public.
– So afraid was Hitchcock of leaks about the film’s surprise twist ending that he had every member of the cast take an oath on the first day of filming that they wouldn’t divulge any secrets about the film to the public. He also kept the final pages of the script a secret from them until the last minute when shooting began.
– At the end of the movie Hitchcock would come over the loudspeakers and ask audiences “Don’t give away the ending – it’s the only one we have.”
– Psycho is the first American film to show a toilet flushing on screen.
– Ophthalmologists wrote into Hitchcock stating that Marion’s eyes were not dilated enough for being dead. In his future films Hitchcock would use belladonna eye drops per their suggestion to more accurately portray dilated pupils.
– As the camera zooms out from Marion’s death stare the last 3 seconds are a freeze frame as Hitchcock’s wife Alma noticed Leigh’s neck artery was still pulsating.
– The shower scene took seven days to film, included 70 takes, and lasts only 45 seconds.
– Chocolate syrup was used as a stand in for blood in grisly the shower scene.
– Hitchcock could do this because he chose to film in black and white as he thought Psycho would be too gory in color. Filming in black and white also allowed him to make the film inexpensively, for under a million dollars.
– Psycho was his last movie filmed in black and white.
– The shower scene was originally supposed to be silent, but Hitchcock immediately changed his mind when he heard Bernard Herrmann’s iconic score.
– Hitchcock also doubled Herrmann’s salary for the film claiming “33% of the effect of Psycho was due to the music.”
– The score was comprised entirely of stringed instruments.
– Janet Leigh was so traumatized by the shower scene upon her first viewing of the film that she never took a shower again. She was however, perfectly fine filming it.
– In the beginning of the film Marion Crane is seen wearing a white bra to symbolize her wholesomeness. After she steals the $40,000 she is shown wearing a black bra to symbolize her selfishness and greed.
– Antony Perkins was paid exactly $40,000 for his work on the film.
– When the film first came out audiences were shocked that the film’s star, Janet Leigh was killed in the first 30 minutes. according to all the promotional materials they thought the film was just about a girl who stole $40,000 dollars. This was deliberate on Hitchcock’s part to mislead and ultimately shock them.
– On set Hitchcock would constantly refer to Anthony Perkins as “Master Bates”.
– Norman Bates is ranked #2 on AFI’s 100 Greatest Villains List.
– Norman has a taxidermy hobby of stuffing birds. Marion’s last name of Crane is a type of bird. Norman also mentions that Marion happens to eat like a bird in the movie. Hitchcock’s next movie was The Birds.
-The design of the Bates household was modeled on Edward Hopper’s painting of The House by the Railroad, a Victorian home at 18 Conger Avenue in Haverstraw, NY.