Genre: Horror Thriller
Starring: Anthony Perkins (Catch-22; Psycho II), Janet Leigh (The Naked Spur; Touch Of Evil)
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock (Strangers On A Train; Shadow Of A Doubt)
Overview: Oh my God it's Norman Bates and a dead girl in a shower.
Acting: When comparing the actors to the Gus Van Sant fiasco version, I'll tell you that the original is far better. I was impressed most of all by the role of Anthony Perkin (of course) with his gitchy little disarming smile. Janet Leigh was fine and great and sexy, but I was surprisingly impressed with Martin Balsam's (12 Angry Men; Breakfast At Tiffany's) role of the touch-of-noir donning private dick.
Cinematography: The best way to describe the feel of this category as 'creepy cool' There's these neat little pan-ins, the mirrored aviator shades of the curious cop, the dramaticaly freakish shots during the murder scenes, like that fantastic focus on Janet Leigh's eye, and my God that house. This film is a pleasure to look at. The lens dances as it warps perception and takes you on an exciting little trip indeed.
Script: "A boy's best friend is his mother..." - Norman Bates
The dialogue is natural, appropriately expository, lets us know what's going on in an exciting and believable way... until our little lady shows up at the Bates Motel. At that point it twists itself up into this creepy little knot of suspicion and oddity, Norman's perfectly written. From then on you realize how unique everyone is, from the private dick to the town's sheriff and the missing woman's family. This is a fantastic script.
Plot: Different, trend-setting, completely unexpected. Imagine being in a theater in 1960. You're watching a woman steal from her boss and run away, until she holes herself up in a hotel. The last thing you would expect is that that plot getting turned on it's ear when the woman gets famously murdered. It makes you wonder where the movie's going from that point on. Audiences were stunned. Yes we're far more jaded today, but though this ending is relatively predictable, it's that way because so many others have copied all the twists and turns that were fist taken here..
Mood: Firmly rooted in the contemporary modern day, Hitchcock managed to stylize this film not with the use of colour (in fact this is shot in glorious Black and White), but rather with the expressionistic angles and lenses that I know him for best. Besides that, you can guess yourself how much of an impact this has just by looking at the ominous house and how it has been fused into the minds of film fans everywhere, into the minds of people everywhere, even.
Perkins' role in Psycho actually hurt his career, as his reputation of an attractive boy-next-door was shattered by this perfromance.
Overall Rating: 84% (Crazy!)
Aftertaste: I had no idea that there were three sequels to this movie, not including the Gus Van Sant carbon copy. I had no idea that Anthony Perkins directed one of them, and I had no idea that he was bisexual, or that he died of AIDS in '92. One thing I DO know about Anthony Perkins, is that he has no relation with the ice cream chain...