Film: ‘Hitchcock’: The Big ‘Psycho’ Reveal

Fox Searchlight

The most grin-inducing segment in“Hitchcock” is the one that features Hitch’s (Anthony Hopkins) brilliant public-relations scheme for the theatrical premiere of his latest movie “Psycho.” “Hitchcock” has already clarified for us that, because the director couldn’t get Paramount to fund the project, he ponied up his own money. That studio agreed to distribute “Psycho,” and Hitch would get 40 percent of the profits. The challenge for the director was “Psycho” would debut in only two movie houses.

Hitch knew he’d need strong word of mouth to push the “unrelenting shock” the movie would provide audiences. He created brochures for the theater owners, having them hire guards and noting publicly that no one would be admitted after the movie started.

A Leo born on August 13, Hitch loved drama, and watching him at one of the opening-day movie theaters to check his audience’s terrified response levels during the shower scene is a hoot. We, along with Hitch, hear the signature shrieking strings – created by Bernard Herrmann – that signal Marion Crane’s murder. Then we watch him delightedly prance about – no easy feat for so large a man – stabbing the air with an imaginary knife like maestro, as waves of screams from terrified filmgoers flood the lobby.

The movie doesn’t address audience reaction to learning the identity of the murderer. But astrology is no stranger to the big reveal. Pluto uncovers. Jupiter expands. As for victim Marion (played by Scarlett Johansson in the Janet Leigh role), Pluto/Jupiter also describes a big, excessive death.

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