Hitchcock: The Psychology of Psycho–Movie

hitchcock-posterAlma may have walked several steps behind her husband, “the great Alfred Hitchcock,” in real life, but thanks to Helen Mirren’s fabulous portrayal in “Hitchcock,” she finally gets her due and pretty much walks away with the film.

“Hitchcock,” written by John J. McLaughlin (screenplay) and Stephen Rebello (book) and directed by Sacha Gervasi, takes place during the filming of “Psycho” in 1959. Very cleverly the film is constructed in the style of the “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” television series (1959-1962). And while it is the story of how “Psycho” came to be, it’s also very much the story of Alma and Alfred Hitchcock and their relationship.

That’s not to say that as Hitchcock, Anthony Hopkins doesn’t do a great job. He does. In spite of opting for prosthetics instead of weight gain, Hopkins manages to present the real person under all that make-up. He masterfully shows us the passion he had for his work and projects. And in an understated way, Hopkins demonstrates the love, respect and appreciation Hitchcock had for Alma. And somehow he makes us understand that Hitchcock was more than just a sadistic letch when it came to his leading ladies.

 “Hitchcock” doesn’t gloss over the unseemly side of Hitchcock. He definitely had an eye for his blonde leading ladies and had a rather nasty way of getting the most out of his actresses. After watching the filming of the shower scene with Janet Leigh (Scarlett Johansson), I now understand why the real Ms. Leigh had a hard time taking a shower for many years to come. And woe to those actresses who dared to cross him, as evidenced by his treatment of Leigh’s co-star, Vera Miles (Jessica Biel).  But unlike the recent HBO movie, “The Girl,” this part of his personality is not the focal point of the story.

The focal point is the Hitchcock marriage…enter Helen Mirren. Much like her character, Alma, Mirren uses her talent to its fullest. My favorite line of the entire movie is when Hitchcock describes the story of “Psycho” to his wife and she replies, “Lovely, Doris Day should do the musical.” It’s a throw-away line but you remember it because of the way Mirren delivers it. She matches Hopkins scene for scene and then some.  Mirren makes you understand why Hitchcock truly loved her in his fashion, despite his eye for the ladies.

Like Hitchcock’s own movies, “Hitchcock” tells its story with a twinkle. That’s not an easy trick, but “Hitchcock” accomplishes this masterfully.

3 1/2 nuggets out of 4

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2 Responses to “Hitchcock: The Psychology of Psycho–Movie”

  1. filmcamera999 Says:

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