Friday, June 15, 2012

Classic Film Reviews: Psycho

Pyscho kicks off the 2012 HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival Now with Pepsi and presented with Ralph Lauren this Monday, June 18 at sunset. You're definitely in for a creepy evening as you watch this scary movie under the stars in the park.

Pyscho may seem gentle, when compared to the gore and horror of today's entertainment, but nothing beats Director Alfred Hitchcock's films when you talk about suspense. Go ahead and read an original 1960 review of the film by Paine Knickerbocker from The San Francisco Chronicle. He doesn't give away any of the mystery.

'Psycho' the First Time Around
The San Francisco Chronicle Critics' Pick

By Paine Knickerbocker
Originally Published: August 11, 1960

"Psycho", which opened yesterday at the RKO-Golden Gate, obviously represents a challenge that Alfred Hitchcock gleefully accepted.

After his suspense pictures and romantic adventure stories could he come up with a shocker, acceptable to regular American audiences, which still carried the spine-tingling voltage of foreign presentations such as ``Diabolique''?

The answer is an enthusiastic yes. He has very shrewdly interwoven crime, sex and suspense, blended the real and the unreal in fascinating proportions and punctuated his film with several quick, grisly and unnerving surprises.

"Psycho'' opens with Janet Leigh and John Gavin in a cheap hotel room. That afternoon, on returning to her office, Miss Leigh succumbs to temptation and steals $40,000.

But as she flees Phoenix, Hitchcock's finger is always on the wheel. A highway patrolman represents menace behind his disturbing dark glasses. She is back in the world of uneasy reality as she purchases a used car from a convincing dealer.

And then suddenly she is in a strange motel, talking to its eager, sensitive manager, Anthony Perkins, who smiles disarmingly, tightens and freezes at certain suggestions, and betrays a speech defect during moments of nervous excitement. Perkins is excellent as young Norman Crane (sic).

No more of the action may be disclosed here. But violence follows, and then a skillfully paced interrogation by Martin Balsam as an affable but determined private eye.

And just when affairs become bizarre again Hitchcock brings in John McIntire as the most easygoing and acceptable of sheriffs.

Miss Leigh is effective as the troubled fugitive. Gavin and Vera Miles, who plays Miss Leigh's sister, have less to contribute, but the overall effect is expert, and again Hitchcock has used the camera skillfully.

Such a picture, in addition to all this, needs a gimmick. Here it is that no one will be admitted to the theater after the film has begun. This device is the final fillip to Hitchcock's artful and theatrical trickery.

This article appeared on page E - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle

No comments:

Post a Comment