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The Making of Psycho (1997) - transcript

 

Transcript for the documentary "The Making of Psycho", based on the subtitle track from a DVD.

The following people appear in the transcript:

Transcript

Alfred Hitchcock
Good evening. I have some news that will delight you. Murder is not dead. I do not refer to the ones splashed all over the front pages. Those are in such bad taste. I refer to those exquisite murders that have a touch of the bizarre and which take fiendish ingenuity to solve. Those are alive and well. One will be presented for your shivering delight immediately.

Peggy Robertson
We were on North By Northwest, and we weren't looking for the next one, particularly. And it wasn't until we finished shooting, and we were preparing for postproduction... Hitchy would read the New York Times book section over the weekend or bring it into the office on Monday. We saw this very good review by Boucher on this book, Psycho. So Hitch said, "Call Paramount and get coverage on it." Paramount hadn't covered it, and Hitch went over to England. As he was at the airport, he saw shelves of this book, Psycho. He called me and said, "Haven't you got coverage from Paramount yet?" I said, "Paramount didn't cover it." He said, "All right." He got the book and read it going over. He called back from London to say, "I've got our next subject: Psycho."

Clive Barker
It's a much more violent book than it is a movie. The girl gets beheaded in the shower, as opposed to simply stabbed to death. But the book is mild by comparison with the facts of Ed Gein. This is one of those series of murders that so shocked the nation that it became part of American mythology. And we weren't around in 1916, so it's hard to know how the facts impacted the fiction. But one's got to assume that one of the reasons why both the book and the movie are so successful, is because people knew that, albeit remotely, they were based on truth.

The contemporary can speak of the police, who I think were a tough bunch of people, still being totally appalled by what they found inside. Here's a guy out in Wisconsin, the wilds of Wisconsin, who does in a whole bunch of his neighbors and his mother. These were innocent women who had committed no crime against this man whatsoever. They just happened to be his neighbors. This was, obviously, a crazy, sad man who became a piece of American mythology. He is the underpinning of Bloch's book, but he obviously is there, dare we say this, in spirit in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre pictures and, arguably, in Silence of the Lambs.

What I think the movie does spectacularly well and perversely is bring a curious glamour to the character of Norman Bates. In the book, he's this pudgy, rather nondescript, short, balding man. Of course, in the movie, it's one of the great performances of cinema and the defining performance of Anthony Perkins' career: one of those performances everybody knows, even if you've never seen the movie. Everybody knows Norman Bates.

Peggy Robertson
We were looking for a writer and someone suggested James Cavanagh, who wrote some of the Alfred Hitchcock Presents television shows. I don't remember the meetings they had, but when we got the treatment, we read it, and it was very dull. If you can imagine a dull script written from the book Psycho. It just didn't have anything. So then it was decided, we need another writer. "Who are we going to get?" And then names were suggested. And Hitch thought a lot of Ned Brown, and Ned suggested Joseph Stefano.

Joseph Stefano
My involvement with Psycho began through my agent, Ned Brown, who was determined that I should work with Hitchcock. Hitchcock had seen the two things I had done prior to that... and wasn't terribly impressed with them... and also didn't care too much to work with young, new writers. So Ned persisted and Mr. Hitchcock gave in.

When I met Mr. Hitchcock at my first meeting, I had to convince him that I could write this movie. I felt the best way to do it would be to simultaneously interest him in how I saw it being done and solve the main problem of the material, which was a boy with a dead mother, and we weren't supposed to know she was dead.

So I conceived of the story being about Marion, a lovely young lady, who's having a disastrous affair with a man who can't marry her. She's a rather moral girl. She wants to get married. She says, "We can't meet in hotel rooms anymore. We're not gonna do this." He kind of laughs it off, doesn't really believe her. This only heightens her frustration. When she gets back to the office, she suddenly has a large sum of cash in her hand, and, in a moment of madness, decides to steal it.

So she steals it and is going to go to her boyfriend and give it to him, which in itself is a preposterous notion: that he would accept it. She drives and gets lost in a rainstorm... and then finds the motel and goes into the motel... and talks to the young man who runs the motel... and begins to realize that he's in a trap... and she has just put herself in a trap... and that she's got to get out of it.

She decides to return the money, and she feels good about this. She takes a very cleansing shower, and someone comes in and murders her. At that moment, Hitch said we could get a star to play that part, and I knew I had the job. He liked that whole introduction to the movie. He liked the fact that it was going to be about her. Then we were suddenly going to do this awful thing to you, say, "No, no, no. It's not about her. It's about him."

My first meeting with Hitchcock took place at his offices at Paramount Studios. Psycho was a Paramount picture. He was, as always -- as I would soon be learning -- immaculately dressed: dark suit, white shirt, beautiful tie. Sat behind his desk, rarely moved away from his desk, and very... warm. I found coming from him a kind of warmth... that was not that common amongst directors in those days, nor is it today. But it was a wonderful, wonderful kind of rapport. And his interests were charming. He asked me things about myself. I told him that I was in analysis, and that, as a matter of fact, I had just come from a session. He was very curious about that, but always in a very polite way. But he truly wanted to know what was going on. I thought he probably felt there was more to writing a movie than simply talking about the movie, and I was right.

The next day, after the first meeting, we began talking about this movie that we were going to make called Psycho. We never mentioned the book again, and we never referred to the book again. There was never any talk about dialogue or motivation. The thing that was a little bit scary at that point in my life about the way Hitchcock worked, was that he would not discuss motivations and characters and why people were doing it. He felt that was my job. If I asked him any question like that, he would say, "That's up to you, Joseph." I realized early on that he had faith in the writer or he did not have faith. And if he didn't, I don't think you'd be working with him.

He did an interesting thing, though, which kind of amused me and touched me. After we had been talking daily for about a week and a half, he said that he and his wife were taking a cruise. He said, "While I'm gone, why don't you write that first scene in the hotel room?" I said, "Fine. I'll do that." I wrote it, and when he came back we resumed our meetings and I gave him the scene. The next morning he said to me, "Alma loved it." I was very touched. Obviously, he liked it too, but it was lovely of him to tell me how his wife felt about it. That was a little easier for him to do. He was not a sentimental man. Or he was, but would not show it. Let's put it that way.

Patrica Hitchcock
My mother was the one who really was in on everything from the very beginning. When he would find a story that he was anxious to do, he would have her read it. If she didn't think it would make a picture, he didn't touch it. Then she would be the first one to read the treatment and the screenplay, and she was even in on a lot of the casting too. When she died, Charles Champlin of the Los Angeles Times said, "The Hitchcock touch had four hands, and two of them were Alma's."

Joseph Stefano
She used to come to the office quite often when we were working on it. One day, it was a very, very terrifying experience... when we were working on Psycho. We were talking about Norman wrapping the body in the shower curtain... and ways to do it without showing the dead body. Hitch got up and came around his desk, and I was sitting on the sofa. And he began to act out. He said, "The camera line is here. Norman is doing this, and he drags her out. Now he very neatly folds the curtain over her." As he was doing this, the door opened... and Alma came in. But it was such a shock. Nobody but Alma would ever open that door and come in... without a phone call or something. At the moment, we were so involved in this scene, to have the door burst open and somebody come in was quite shocking.

In my very first meeting with Hitchcock, he said, "This is going to be a black-and-white movie, and it's going to cost under a million dollars." I was flabbergasted because I had never conceived of Hitchcock, at that point in his life, making a movie for less than a million dollars.

Patrica Hitchcock
That's exactly what he wanted to do. He said, "First of all, I cannot make this picture in color because it will be too gory." And he said, "Secondly, I want to make it as simply, for as little money as possible, and I'm going to use the TV crew." That's what he did. He used the crew that was working on Alfred Hitchcock Presents. He used them for Psycho.

Joseph Stefano
He mentioned another company that was making very low-budget movies, which were not terribly good, and were doing very well at the box office. His feeling was: "How would it be... if somebody good did one of these low-budget movies?"

Hilton Green
I think Mr. Hitchcock was at the end of his contract with Paramount, and he had already moved to Universal. I don't think they were pleased with that idea. I don't think they had a great deal of interest in a low-budget film, especially when he had gone to MGM and done North by Northwest, and now he was at Universal. This was, I think, the last of his contractual obligation to Paramount. So Psycho was a unique motion picture... in the fact that it was a Paramount release, a Shamley Production, made at Universal Studios. Shamley Productions was owned outright by Mr. Hitchcock.

Joseph Stefano
In the book, Norman Bates is actually a middle-aged man, a reprobate, drinks, overweight, wears big, thick glasses, peeps through holes. I thought he was incredibly unsympathetic. I didn't like him. So when Marion gets killed, I am then expected to switch my empathy toward this man. I couldn't do it with the character as he was written. I perceived a young man, vulnerable, good looking, kind of sad, makes you feel sorry for him. Hitchcock said, "What would you think of Tony Perkins?" Of course, that was practically what I had described.

Once I had written the first draft -- which, incidentally, is the one that he shot -- he told me that Anthony Perkins was available to play Norman Bates. I told him that was sensational, and that was what was going to happen. He mentioned Janet Leigh for the star part... because he felt, among other things, that no one would be able to accept that we had killed her this early in the movie.

Janet Leigh
The first thing that happened was that I received the novel... by Robert Bloch from Mr. Hitchcock. He sent me this small novel... with a note that said, "Please consider the role of Mary." It was Mary in the novel. "And, of course, there will be changes. And so you know, Anthony Perkins is going to play Norman Bates." And he said, "The script has not been written, but so you know what... the essence of the story is." Well, when I received this, I didn't even have to read it, but I did. Only because the opportunity of working with Mr. Hitchcock was enough for me. But I dutifully read it as I was supposed to. I finished it. I was very intrigued. It was so different. It's such a departure... and such an unusual approach to a movie. And so, of course, I just said yes.

I have been asked, subsequently, didn't it ever bother you... that the role of Mary, Marion in the script, was ended so abruptly, and it never did. It never occurred to me that that would be a problem. That didn't even enter my head. The whole thing that I concentrated on was, one: working with Mr. Hitchcock, and, two: the anticipation of what was he going to do with this. I couldn't wait to see how he would solve this and weave his magic spell and get this project to the public.

As it was getting closer, Mr. Hitchcock called and asked if we could have a meeting. I said, "Of course." For several reasons. One: He wanted to have a discussion about his modus operandi; how he worked on the set and how he used his camera. He explained to me how his camera was absolute and that, as a director, he had confidence that I would bring to Marion what it needed. If I had any problems, he would be there to help me if I should need it. He said, "The only sort of control is that my camera has to be the focal point. In other words, when my camera moves, you have to move. If you have a problem with that, I can help you with the motivation to move on that point."

I know that many of the performers who have worked with Mr. Hitchcock feel that they were, perhaps, hindered or cramped in style, say, because they were asked to move at a certain, definite point. I took it more as a challenge. In other words, I thought, "Well, that's my job. So I can find my own motivation, thank you very much." It was really a challenge to me as an actress to rethink and find my own motivation to move at the time he wanted me to move. That's how I took it. I must say, I think that's how he offered it. I don't think he offered it as a way to stumble or block you. I think he offered it as a challenge, "You do your job, I do mine." And he would expect someone to adapt to it and to find their own reason to move. And, if not, he was there as the director to help you. So I never understood that... that, sort of, you know, antithesis that happened with some people. I can understand it, but it just doesn't seem warranted to me.

The other reason for the meeting was he had hoped to fit me with contact lenses for the last shot... when the camera's on the eye and pulls back into the wide shot, thinking that the contact lenses would give the look of nothing, deadness, as opposed to what I could do. And we went and, unfortunately, at that time, that long ago, the contact lenses weren't as sophisticated as they are today. It would have taken six weeks for me to get used to wearing the contact lenses. So we couldn't use them. He said, "Well, you're just gonna have to go it alone, old girl."

Hilton Green
Vera Miles was groomed for the part in Vertigo and she became pregnant prior to that and Mr. Hitchcock got rather upset with Vera. But she came back on Psycho to play the sister.

Joseph Stefano
Vera Miles had been under contract to Hitchcock, and she owed him one more picture. This seemed like a small part, the sister, but it wasn't. It was very necessary to get an actress of that stature to play the part in order to continue to keep the audience with her. Because at an early point in the movie, we ask you to forget everybody you loved and like these people. That's a very hard thing to do. You need incredibly subtle performances to get that. I think Vera gave it.

Gavin was under contract to Universal, where the movie was going to be shot. We saw some film on him, a movie he had done at Universal, and liked him very much and decided to go with him.

Hilton Green
Martin Balsam came out of New York. Mr. Hitchcock always leaned to New York actors on a great many of his character roles in a lot of his pictures, if you'll remember. These people were New York, either stage or… In those days there was Playhouse 90 and Climax, which was made in New York. A lot of fine actors were based in New York. Martin Balsam he cast out of New York. Wonderful actor.

Patrica Hitchcock
I'd always wanted to be an actress. The first time I really knew I wanted to be was when I was seven years old, and I was in England in boarding school. I played two parts there. Then I came over here with my parents when my father came over to make Rebecca. There were a lot of parts I thought I could've played in his pictures, but he would only cast me if I was exactly right for the part.

At the time of Psycho, I was married. I'd been married in 1952, so I wasn't living at home. So I wasn't in on all the early preproduction. But he said to me, "There's a part in the new picture that I would love you to do." So I did. But he had picked me for that part.

Joseph Stefano
Hitch's feeling about the movie was that it had to be kept secret. That the fun of it, the magic of it would exist in your not knowing the truth about the story. Up until the last moment, you had to believe that the mother was alive. Therefore, he didn't want me to discuss the script with anybody. Didn't want anybody talking about it. I don't think many people knew what we were doing really. My friends knew I was working on a movie with Hitchcock, but they didn't know what it was. Had no visitors on the set. It was a very closed shop, and that was the way he wanted it.

And he decided that if he spread some rumors about casting the mother in the movie, this would simply solidify it, certainly amongst the Hollywood people. They were the ones he was most worried about... because if they knew what the story was about, then the public would find out. So he did get word around that he was looking for someone to play Anthony Perkins' mother, and the agents piled on with their suggestions. So it was a hoax that worked to the benefit of the picture and to the benefit of the audience who would ultimately be seeing it.

Hilton Green
Psycho was shot mainly on the back lot of Universal. Originally, he wanted the opening shot to be a helicopter shot. Hitchcock was always ahead of his time in the type of shots he wanted. At that time, he wanted a helicopter to come in with the city of Phoenix in the far background, and just titles over this slow-moving move-in shot, move-in shot, move-in shot to a hotel. I think it was on Adams Street in Phoenix. And go through the window and discover John Gavin and Janet Leigh in a hotel room to open his movie. We tried and we tried and we tried. For title shots, it was just too jerky and bumpy and moving. It was before the camera mounts that you have today and all of that. We didn't have that, and we couldn't do it. So Hitchcock came up with the idea of the wide pan, wide pan, wide pan, going in like that, in through the window.

Janet Leigh
The opening scene, obviously, was a key scene to set the stage for Mr. Hitchcock's manipulation. Because if you're seeing Psycho for the first time, and you see the opening scene, this is going to be a story of this romance. Then when Marion leaves and meets Tony Perkins, then, obviously, it's going to be two guys and this woman and which one is she going to go with. That's the obvious plot. So it was very important that this scene have the proper passion.

So, John Gavin is a gentleman. John Gavin is a true gentleman, a wonderful man and very decent and sort of honorable. So to do the opening scene… I hadn't known John Gavin well. I'd met him, but, you know… To start off with this kind of a scene, the first day of shooting was, I think, awkward. So we did the scene, and Mr. Hitchcock was not pleased. So he took me aside, and he said, "Janet, um, do you think... I'm not quite getting the... you know, passion that I think should come across for this scene. Do you think you could, you know, do something?" And I said, "Well, I'll do my best," and so I did.

Joseph Stefano
Hitchcock's only reference to his cameo in Psycho came early on in our work on the movie where he said… Actually, what he said to me was, "You may know, Joseph, that I always appear in one scene in my movies, "and I said, "Yes, I think I noticed that." And he said, "I'm gonna have to do it early in this one." He was absolutely right, because once you got to that murder scene, any interruption by seeing Hitchcock on screen would have been disastrous.

Patrica Hitchcock
It got to be a very, very hard thing. It started through a thing of necessity in silent movies when you needed people in it, and so everybody on the set would go in it. Then, because he was so different looking and rather rotund, people started recognizing him. Then it started becoming very, very difficult. Especially after the TV show when he got to be so well-known. Then people would see and say, "There he is." They would wait and look, so he had to do it, usually, at the very beginning of a movie, before he was creating any mood or anything like that. It did get to be rather hard for him to do it.

Joseph Stefano
So he decided to do it outside the place where Marion works. Which was fine because it was at a break early enough in the movie.

Patrica Hitchcock
That scene didn't really mean anything to… We hadn't established any direct plot or anything like that. I think he wanted to bring a bit of lightness into the beginning... so that it would contrast with the blackness you were going into right after that.

Janet Leigh
I figure Marion's around 30, something like that, and she sees her life flitting away. So when this opportunity presents itself with the money, it was important that the audience know this woman, know that she's a good person, but know her frailties, know her weaknesses. And in a moment of weakness, she took the money, and then started to pay for it.

Patrica Hitchcock
My father was petrified of policemen because, apparently, his father, when he was a child, knew the local police person. And my father had done something wrong, I doubt anything very much… and so they said, "We're gonna take you over to the police station." Now, the story is that they put him in a jail cell. I highly doubt that. I would say he was probably put in a room and left by himself for a while and that's it. He was always petrified of policemen. So that part, that scene where Janet is driving with the policeman, that was the menace. To him, you couldn't have anything more menacing than that.

Janet Leigh
Most of my stuff was done in the studio. The only actual location was at the used car lot, which was shot very near the studio. But it's funny. I love working in a studio because it's controlled. You're able... You can control the camera. You can control the lights. You can control the sound. That's where you make pictures, is in a studio. When you're working on location, everything has to be adapted. It's more difficult for all concerned, especially technically.

Patrica Hitchcock
Now, he hated location. He loathed location. He didn't want to go on any location unless he had to. He said, "It costs you a lot of money. It costs you twice what it costs on the set. You then have to come back and redub everything because of all the noise that goes on." He really didn't like it. He really didn't like it.

Janet Leigh
She is not a thief. She is a very bad thief. She is clumsy. She obviously can't disguise what she's feeling. She's so obvious because she's not practiced. So this is not her nature, but it's a grasp. It's a desperate grasp at life. The only satisfaction, almost, was that on the ride, she just imagined what they were saying back home.

All of that dialogue that she imagines, Mr. Hitchcock knew exactly the timing. He knew what lines he was going to use, voice-over. So he did them. He said to me the lines that I was imagining hearing. So as he was saying it, I could imagine just what was being said, which was kind of fun, thinking, "Well, that creepy guy who had the money anyway deserves not to have it." That's the really only sort of pleasurable moment she had, really, until she meets someone who is more mixed-up and more confused than she. She was able to realize she can't go that route either.

Hilton Green
The design of the motel and the famous Psycho house... It was supposed to be located somewhere in central California. There was never a town specifically named. We always felt it was up around Tulare, somewhere up in that area. The basic thing that we had to have with the house and the motel... The house had to stand above the motel. There had to be the steps down to the motel. There had to be an angle from the motel that you could see from the window up to the house. These were all designed prior and then laid out after the script, of course.

I remember one night, we were on the back lot. It was early in the production. I had, as an assistant director, really done my homework because this was my first feature with Mr. Hitchcock. I didn't want it to be my last. And I thought I was really prepared. It was the shot where Janet Leigh drives up to the motel at night, and it's pouring rain, and Norman comes down the stairs. Everything was ready to go. I had rehearsed the rain and everything.

We're all set to roll the cameras, and we turn on the rain, and Mr. Hitchcock said, "Cut." He said, "Hilton, you didn't prepare this very well." I was shocked. "What's wrong?" He pointed up there, and sure enough, what was coming up over the back lot at Universal, but a full moon. Here we are in a big rainstorm, and the moon in the background. I had done everything, but looked at the charts and found out when the full moon was. So what we did, hurriedly... To this day I'll never forget the wonderful grip crew we had. We had two grips with a century stand and a long pole and some blacks. They followed that moon all night and blocked it out from the camera.

Janet Leigh
Tony Perkins... Well, he was just a master. It was a joy to come to work. There was always an excitement for me. You knew what you wanted to bring to the scene, but the excitement was you didn't know what he was going to bring. Obviously, what he brought then sparked more from you in response. And so, um... It was just a wonderful experience to... The anticipation of what was gonna happen... What more were we going to get today than we thought was there?

He had a wonderful sense of humor, wonderful sense of humor. Very dry, you know? He was a good friend. He was a wonderful husband, dear and loving father. I mean, he was not Norman Bates. But he was just so brilliant that the people said, "Yes, you are. You are, too, Norman Bates."

Joseph Stefano
We had a lot of laughs together. We also had a lot of serious conversations. I told him early on about having seen him in Look Homeward, Angel and how he impressed me in that. I had used the image of him on stage for Norman Bates. He was pleased with that. He knew exactly what scene I was talking about in Look Homeward, Angel.

Then I told him that I felt that Norman Bates, if he were a painting, would be painted by Hopper, and he agreed. So we had kind of that discussion, writer and actor, about the character. He had an incredible grasp on Norman Bates and the situation that he was in. I think Tony Perkins must have known what it was like to be trapped.

In some way, somehow, he knew what trapped meant, just as I did. And, while we didn't talk about that aspect of it, it was clear to me early on that he was becoming Norman Bates. As a matter of fact, I think he had a hard time shedding Norman Bates after Psycho.

I felt that the mother theme was not only vital to the movie, it was vital to me because I was in analysis because of that. So I felt that everyone would have some kind of strong connection with the mother, whoever that happened to be. As a matter of fact, the line about turning Mother's picture to the wall had to do with that very thing. Also, with the part that Pat Hitchcock played and her line.

So this intertwining of people and their attachment to the mother was very important. I had even tried that in a line in my own first draft, not the one I gave to Hitchcock. I had even tried to work that into the man with the money, the man with the $40,000. It sounded like then I was hitting one note too heavily, so I just let it go at that. But the whole point of it was to say, "Mother, somehow, is always there," and it made her alive. So a lot of the lines in the early scenes were designed to keep you from thinking, "Why aren't we seeing her?"

Janet Leigh
I think the wonderful thing about Mr. Hitchcock's approach to movies… and his movies obviously exemplify that… is the bait that he, he gives us and certain themes that he carries through in his movies. There was always a connection between food and death... and food and sex, and it was always put out there.

Hilton Green
Food in Mr. Hitchcock's pictures were always very important. Going back to many of his movies you'll find that there was a correlation with food and some part of the plot. He interwove eating scenes or discussing it with what was going on on the screen.

There's also Tony Perkins... It was his idea, I believe, of the Halloween candy that he was always eating throughout the movie.

Rita Riggs
I really remember in the prep of Psycho... I think it was one of the most important questions from Mr. Hitchcock... "Will we do white lingerie or black lingerie?" I think he is a humorist moralist, so he started out with a white bra, which was very daring in those days, you know.

Janet Leigh
Mr. Hitchcock was so absolute and thorough, including wardrobe, as white to show before she stole the money, the black once she had become a thief.

Rita Riggs
The censorship at that time was quite stringent, and we were concerned about showing a workable kind of bra. Usually in the '50s, you never showed the workings of... engineering. You always had a lovely full slip over it, probably with lots of little lace and whatnot. So this was quite daring. Then, of course, when we saw her again, it was a black bra. So he got the best of both worlds.

Janet Leigh
I don't know how many people are aware of the fact that Psycho was actually the first time that a toilet was seen in a movie and actually flushed in a movie. Before that, bathrooms never showed a toilet. I guess nobody ever went to the bathroom in those movies. It was just not allowed.

Joseph Stefano
I said to Hitch that I would like to see the toilet in the bathroom. Every movie I've ever seen of a bathroom, there's no toilet in it. I would like to see that toilet. I think the audience will be unsettled by the sight of it. An audience that had never see a toilet on screen was gonna have some kind of, perhaps, subconscious reaction to it. Hitch laughed because he thought I was into my Freudian kick and talking about what toilets mean and potties and stuff like that. We talked about it and he said, "Well, put it in the script. Say that we see the toilet." And instead of saying just in the body of the directions: "We see the toilet." I thought, "That will be struck down so fast, we won't know what's happening." I had her make up the little note of the money that she had spent, then tear it up and throw it in the toilet and flush it. I said to Hitch, "Do you think they'll let us do that?" He said, "It's your script. You talk to them."

There wasn't too much comment about the toilet. I expected more objections on that. Otherwise, we didn't really have any trouble with them. I thought it was great of Hitchcock to let me go and fight the battle, because, after all, he hadn't told me to put the toilet in it. So what he was teaching me, as a new young writer, was that you say it, you know, you fight for it.

Janet Leigh
At that time, 1959, when we shot it, we weren't allowed to show nudity. I mean, he never asked me, and I never assumed or even thought that he would... because we couldn't show it anyway. The problem was what to wear so that it looked like I was nude. That was the biggest problem of all. Rita Riggs, the wardrobe girl, and I poured over these, these, um, um, strip... stripteaser magazines that showed all the different costumes. But none of them worked because they all had whirligigs on them or something. But, um... we were just looking for something that was very simple.

Rita Riggs
That's when Miss Janet Leigh and I probably became very acquainted. As a set girl at the time, it was my job to piece together... and do a setup with the camera and see what would show.

Janet Leigh
She came up with the idea of this plain moleskin, which you use for blisters. Dancers use it to put over a sore spot because it's adhesive on one side... and then it's soft almost flannel-like on the outside. And it's nude, the nude color.

Rita Riggs
You cut and you glue and suddenly, you know... I was very adept with scissors and paste.

Janet Leigh
You put that over parts of your body, then, you know, everything's copacetic.

Joseph Stefano
The shower scene as I wrote it was not broken down into the shots that we would ultimately use. There was no storyboard on it when I wrote it. I just described the fact that she gets into the shower and then someone comes in with a knife and kills her. In the book it says that her head was cut off. I wrote enough in my description of the murder scene to make sure no one thought we were gonna cut Janet Leigh's head off. I don't think that Hitchcock ever really imagined that. Hitch had very strong ideas about that scene, so at that point Saul Bass came in and did a storyboard on it.

Janet Leigh
Over the years, this rumor sprung up that Saul Bass had directed the shower scene.

Hilton Green
I have heard that Saul Bass said he directed the shower scene, that he was the one that physically directed it. I want to put that to rest right now. I was on the set every second of every foot of film that was shot on Psycho, and Mr. Bass never directed a scene in that motion picture. Mr. Hitchcock directed every scene in that picture.

Janet Leigh
Mr. Bass got full credit for what he did, and what he did was brilliant. His storyboard, his drawings of how he thought the shower should... You know, the angle. What Mr. Hitchcock... They conferred. He said, "Show me what it's going to look like from this angle and from this and from that because I want to make a montage. Show me what it's gonna look like, so I can get in my mind the flash cuts." And he drew them very beautifully and graphically. Also, his titles were wonderful. But to say that he directed it? I tell you that no one directed that scene except Mr. Hitchcock.

Hilton Green
The famous shower sequence of Psycho was shot on a set that was no more than 12 feet by 12 feet. It was a very small, confined set.

Janet Leigh
The shower sequence took up one-third of my shooting time actually. I think I worked three weeks on the movie, and the shower sequence took seven days. Seven shooting days. So that was a good hunk of my work.

Hilton Green
For the assistant director, who is kind of in charge of the schedule and the time and the hours, etc. the number of shots we had to do in there... They weren't difficult for Mr. Hitchcock to direct and to take time. Once we roll the cameras, it was a matter of seconds of getting the shot. It was up to Jack Russell, the cinematographer, to light each setup and to move the camera around from shooting straight down to straight up to cross angles to into the water. It was tedious for him, in the time it took to light. Then, of course, we had to have the warm water. We kept running out of that. We had tanks and had to heat them and keep them heated. There were many things we had to do that were behind the scenes. The actual shooting was easy.

The water coming out of the showerhead was a special rig. It was made up in the special effects department. It was shot straight at the lens, and the camera was tilted at such an angle that the water never touched the lens. Today they've got ways of wiping the water and cleaning it that you don't know, but this was a special showerhead. We were one of the first to ever work with a nude photo double. That was all a secret, hush-hush thing. There were signs on the door, and we never allowed a visitor in.

Joseph Stefano
Hitchcock wanted a nude model because he felt that a person who was naked professionally would be easier to deal with than an actress who had no experience being naked in front of hundreds of people. And he brought in a nude model, a very nice young lady. It was quite charming to see the two of them standing there talking. Hitchcock here and the naked girl there.

Janet Leigh
There was a nude model, absolutely, for several reasons. One: he had to see what density of water and the shower curtain, so that you couldn't see whether someone was nude or not. You can't tell that unless you see someone nude; to know when to cut it off, where you don't see it. You think what you see, but you don't see it.

Hilton Green
Mr. Hitchcock felt that through the shower curtain... the effect of a nude, if they had a stocking on, that it wouldn't be the same.

Janet Leigh
Also, there was a scene where he drags the body, wraps the body in the curtain, and then takes it to the car. I did not do that. But the scene itself was so brilliantly conceived because Mr. Hitchcock brought us to this point where from then on it became what we thought we saw, not what we saw. He did that with his camera, with his editing, so that the audience finally just in this frenzy of... Each cut was like a stab of the knife... and eventually the audience said in their mind, "This was a knife, that was a knife," and it was a cut. The cut is even indicative, the word "cut," because, to them, each cut was a cut.

The sound that they used for the stabbing... He had the propman bring different melons, and, you know, he would stab the melons. Mr. Hitchcock wasn't looking, but he knew what each one was, and he said, "The casaba."

Hilton Green
The blood on Psycho was an area where we did a lot of tests ahead of time Jack Barron and Bob Dawn, the makeup people... to get the precise... well, I guess... density of the blood. We were in black and white, so the color didn't make that big a deal, but the density was a problem.

Janet Leigh
He tested several things. There was movie blood, what they used for movie blood in black and white. Then there was... I think he tested ketchup. Then he tested chocolate syrup, and he felt that the chocolate syrup read the best.

Hilton Green
The swirling of the blood into the drain took some time to get. They look easy on the screen, but to get them the way Mr. Hitchcock wanted them took some time.

Joseph Stefano
I must tell you there is a shot in the shower scene that was never used that is one of the most heartbreaking shots I've ever seen. The camera pulls all the way up, and we look down on the girl lying across the tub and her bottom is bare. There was objections to using that. Perhaps Hitch felt that it wasn't really necessary anyway. There was something very tragic about seeing this beautiful figure with the life gone from it.

Janet Leigh
Probably the most difficult shot for me, and I think technically the most difficult, was the last shot, you know, with the eye... when they pull back into this long shot. At that time, they didn't have automatic focus. So when the camera moved, they had to keep hand focusing as they went back, which was extremely difficult. And for me to get that glazed non-look... and hold it was quite difficult. Also because the water was on there. You know how when a drip of water... It tickles. And so it was maddening. It's like having an itch and not being able to scratch it.

There was one point when the camera was far enough away from me, where they could not see if I blinked or something, and he snapped his fingers so that I could relax a little bit. We did that... I don't know how many times. Hilton Green and I tried to remember the exact number of what take it was, but we know it was in the twenties.

Contrary to what some of the dialogue is on the Universal Tour... Sometimes they say that Mr. Hitchcock turned cold water on me in the shower so that I would scream. That's exactly the opposite. He was so considerate of the temperature of the water that I would be comfortable, to the point where it almost caused a problem. Because in this scene, I'm draped down with the head in position, and it's very uncomfortable. And the eye, and it's all very... And the difficulties, technically... Anyway, finally we're getting something going. It seems to be going right. I didn't blow it, and the focus was going right. And the steam from the sh... from the water... had... had gotten to the moleskin. Now, I could feel the moleskin pulling away from my top part. I could feel this. It was kind of going... And I thought, "You know what? I don't want to do this damn thing again. I really don't want to." And all the guys on the scaffolding... I think they had double duty up there, quite frankly. But anyway, so be it. But there were a lot of guys, the electricians, up on the scaffolding. And I knew the camera couldn't see it 'cause I was over the tub. I knew the camera couldn't see it from the angle that I was, but I knew that they would get an eyeful. And I said, "I'm not going to be modest. Let them look 'cause I'm not gonna stop this shot. I am not going to stop this shot." And I didn't, and they did.

Hilton Green
Tony Perkins, at that time, was in New York and was not present at all during that entire week that we shot the shower scene.

Janet Leigh
There was no need for him to be there. Tony Perkins wasn't there. Mother was there. Mr. Hitchcock had several people be Mother. He had his stand-in play Mother at one point. He had a woman play Mother at one point.

Hilton Green
The voice of Mother... They auditioned quite a few people, men and women, for the voice. And some famous names. I can't remember all the names, but they arrived at Virginia Gregg, who ended up as the voice of Mother. Interesting enough, Virginia did the voice of Mother straight through in the sequels of Psycho.

The car in the swamp, where Norman puts Janet's body in the trunk... Mr. Hitchcock wanted Tony to push the car into the swamp, have it start sinking and go to a certain level and stop. He wanted the audience to gasp, Tony to sit there... Is it going to be exposed? How is he going to get it down? What's going to happen? Then just at the precise moment, it starts going down and then disappears.

So we had a back lot set called Falls Lake at Universal. First we drained the lake and put in the same type of hydraulic lift that are in gas stations: where you take your car and put it up and down, where you change tires or lube it. We sank that into the bottom of Falls Lake, with a ramp of the tires coming up to the shore. We had the car rigged in such a way where it was pulled in on a cable and it hit the wires, went onto the ramp. Once it was on the ramp, then the ramp took over and started sinking it. And at the precise moment, we could stop it and then bring it down again. It was a one-take shot. We were worried, how do you do take two? It would take quite a while to get the car out, clean it up to do it. It was a one-shot deal and no problem at all.

Joseph Stefano
Norman's stuttering in the movie was, I thought, a powerful additive to the character I had written. I think it's interesting that one of the characters in Rope also stuttered, and he was also a murderer. I don't know whether Hitchcock recommended to Tony that he stutter... or whether this was Tony's idea, but it certainly worked. You thought he was being pressured about maybe revealing the fact that his mother was a crazy lady who killed people. Of course, what he was being pressured about was that he was the crazy lady.

Hilton Green
The murder of Martin Balsam, the day he was to come into the house and look around and go up the staircase... It was a day's work up to the point where Mother would come out. We were waiting for Mr. Hitchcock to arrive and got a phone call that he had the flu and couldn't come in. I said, "Fine. We'll just close down. It'll be an insurance claim, and we'll go on tomorrow or whenever." He said, "No, no." What we were shooting that day was storyboarded. We knew exactly what to get, and he told me to do it.

Peggy Robertson
He told us to shoot from Saul Bass's sketches of the detective, Martin Balsam, going up the stairs. He was going upstairs to what we now know was his doom. We followed this out. There was a close-up of the hand on the rail and the feet on the ground, going up, moving up with him. We were pleased with ourselves. We had followed the sketches. But Hitch came back. He looked at our dailies. He said, "You've done a good job, fellas, but I can't use it." "Oh, my God. Why not?" He said, "You've shot a murderer going upstairs. Close-up of the hands on the banisters, close-up of the feet. This is a victim. This is a man who's going to get murdered. So you have to shoot it all in a loose shot, just of him going up the stairs."

Hilton Green
Mr. Hitchcock wanted a special shot following Marty Balsam down the steps, after Mother has stabbed him at the top. He wanted to follow him all the way down to the bottom. So Mr. Hitchcock said to do the same thing he had done on Saboteur, a movie that he had done early in his career with Norman Lloyd falling off the Statue of Liberty. What we did was, we made a rig Martin Balsam sat back on, and we were able to turn it. He just sat there looking straight up, and he twisted and turned. Then shot a process plate down the staircase off of this other rig, put the two pieces of film together, and that was him coming downstairs.

George Tomasini was Hitchcock's feature editor, but George was the only part of his feature crew that I believe came over and worked on Psycho. George was just a happy, wonderful, wonderful man. He had worked with Mr. H for so long, he really knew how to put it together. Mr. Hitchcock would shoot his movies where... if we were in an over-the-shoulder shot or something, many times -- not always -- he would cut in the middle of the scene. The actor would turn around and say, "What's wrong? Is something wrong?" "No, I've got it. I'm gonna be over here for that. We don't need to go on any further. Let's go the other way." So George would always tease, "All I had to do was take off the slates and glue it together." But there was, of course, more timing than that. Mr. Hitchcock was a frame cutter. He would get down to frames where he wanted precisely that scene to be cut.

George would come down and just check in with him daily, and Mr. H would want to know how things were going. He'd say, "Fine. I have some film for you to see at noon." Mr. Hitchcock would never stay at night. He never wanted to work past 6:00, ever. Sometimes we had to go till 6:30, quarter to 7:00, but, no, he just didn't believe in that. He believed in getting his day's work and going home. So George would run film with him at lunchtime. We didn't run dailies with Mr. Hitchcock. The crew ran dailies at the end of the day. He would see them at noon, and we would see them that night. If there was something wrong, we knew about it immediately, right after lunch.

Joseph Stefano
Hitchcock told me, shortly after they started shooting, that the movie was going to be too long. He said we could go two ways: remove one, whole scene... or chop down other scenes. I said, "I hate to lose any scene in the movie." So I made little marks around parts of scenes, where I thought we could lose a quarter of a page, a third of a page, and that it would all add up. Unfortunately, it didn't. They still wanted more cut. He felt that the only scene in the movie that wasn't absolutely necessary to the story was a scene between Lila and Sam, where they both realize they've lost someone that they love. It was an emotional scene, I felt very important to those characters, but it was also, storywise, the only one we could lose. As Hitch said, "I think that you feel... that they know they've lost somebody they love. The scene is nice, but that's the one that can go." So that got cut. I don't think it ever got shot.

Hilton Green
When Vera Miles comes down and approaches Mother, who is seated in the chair... That scene to get was really difficult, because we had to have a camera head, with the wheels underneath Mother, and the propman had to lie on his back and operate the wheels backwards to turn Mother at the precise moment. That took... Oh, that took a lot of rehearsing in the evenings to do. We never did it during picture time, but it took time and time.Bob Bone, who was the propman... I... It was... Oh, he was glad when they finally got that shot. It was horrendous for him.

Janet Leigh
Mr. Hitchcock had this impish, wonderful sense of humor. He loved jokes of all kinds: practical jokes, dirty jokes. I think he sort of used me as a guinea pig a couple times. I would come back from lunch, and I'd go into my dressing room on the set. And in the makeup chair... I'd go to get made up after lunch, touched up, and I'd turn it around and there would be this hideous monstrosity... called Mother. I joke all the time. I think he chose Mother by the loudness of my scream. Because it was a different one all the time, and the one that elicited the most horrifying scream was the one he used.

Hilton Green
Mr. Hitchcock wanted Vera to reach up, move her arm and hit this light bulb, which he wanted to swing back and forth... and wanted to flare into the lens of the camera. You get flares in the lens all the time by accident when you don't want them, but when you want a flare, you can't get it. Well, the cameraman, the first time we shot it, said he got the flare in the camera and that it was good and it was a print. Mr. Hitchcock would always say, "If you got it, fine. What's the next shot?"

He went to dailies, and there was no flare in the camera. He came back, and he came to me. He said, "Hilton, you did not get a flare in the camera. You told me there was a flare in the camera, and there wasn't a flare on the screen. Now let's do it again and do it right." He talked to me as if I was the cameraman... with the cameraman sitting right there. That was his mode, and he got his point through to Jack Russell.

The day that Tony Perkins puts on Mother's wardrobe and becomes Mother was kind of special. I know we all had kind of a good time with it, with Tony dressed up in drag, so to speak.

Rita Riggs
Mr. Hitchcock wanted a very mysterious... either grandmother, mother. You were not quite sure of the age bracket of this individual. He wanted a small, printed kind of fabric. He wanted, I think, the feeling of an older person, so that, possibly, in your mind, you would work that this person had lived a long time. I remember buying the "old lady" shoes in Tony Perkins' size, which, you know...

Hilton Green
It was precisely choreographed so John Gavin would reach over the shoulder and rip the dress open. At the same time, the wig would come off. But it took a little while rehearsing to get that precisely the way he wanted it.

Joseph Stefano
The psychiatrist's speech at the end was something that Hitch had some qualms about. He was afraid the audience wouldn't be interested. He called it a "hat grabber." I said, "I don't think anybody's gonna grab their hats and leave the theatre, after what we have just told them. We've just said this boy has been pretending he's his own mother, and we need a really good scientific explanation."

It wasn't difficult to write because I knew most of this stuff. I was in Freudian analysis at the time and simply drew on the things that I was experiencing in my own life, and then put them in the mouth of a psychiatrist. Originally, I had wanted a female psychiatrist because mine was a female, but Hitchcock felt it would be better if we cast an actor in the part.

I had a meeting with some people from the Production Code. You won't believe what upset them more than anything else: the word "transvestite." They said, "You cannot use that word." And I said, "Why? It's a scientific word." And they, apparently, had some preconceived notion that this was very dirty, and that I was trying to put one over on them. So we got a dictionary, and it's a man who likes to wear women's clothes. I think they were a little embarrassed. I was shocked that they were ready to put their foot down on that.

The last sequence with Norman is to show you that he has been arrested. I had somebody bring him a blanket, which was my way of saying they're not gonna beat him up for this. They're gonna treat him kindly. He's a very sick man. And to show you that he, perhaps, was now his mother for good. The dialogue and his facial reactions to the dialogue are a way of saying he will never be Norman again.

I then didn't see anything until I saw the rough cut. I thought it was terrible. When I saw the rough cut, I thought it was truly a terrible movie, and I couldn't say this to Hitch. He was sitting beside me. And he looked at me, and he went... He patted my knee and said, "It's just a rough cut, Joseph." And I thought, "Well, okay. He's the master, and it's in his hands." The next time I saw it, it was a totally different movie. It was all tight and paced and beautifully put together. And then I knew it was a good movie. Then I saw it with the music, and nearly fell out of my seat. The music really wowed me. I'd never heard anything like that.

I met Bernard Hermann one day toward the end of the shoot. I said, "What size orchestra are you going to use?" He told me, "It's going to be all strings." I was just flabbergasted. I'd never heard of anybody doing a movie score with all strings. When I heard it, of course, I realized what he had done. He had just taken everybody's guts and used them for music.

Patrica Hitchcock
I worked with Bernard Hermann on two films directed by Brian De Palma. One was called Sisters, and the other was Obsession. He had very interesting ideas about how to approach music based on the content of the material. He has described his score for Psycho as a black-and-white score. Only strings, no percussion, no brass, no wind, because he wanted to reflect the black-and-white, stark quality of the picture.

When I worked on Star Wars, we put in temp music for the entire film. For the most part, we used classical music and not film music. We used "The Rites of Spring" by Stravinsky, "The New World Symphony" by Dvorak. We used "The Planets" by Holst. We used a variety of classical pieces, but there was one moment in the film we couldn't really find the right music for, and I thought of a cue from Psycho. It was when the Millennium Falcon had landed on the Death Star. The storm troopers come on board and search the ship, and they can't find anybody. As they're going out, the camera tilts down and a hatch in the floor opens up and Han Solo and Luke Skywalker... and the rest of them pop up from under the floor. And the music that I played at that point was a cue from Psycho, a very famous three-note motif, which I happen to have cued up here. This is the three-note motif...

Then the music continues from that point. But that opening three-note signature was very famous as the theme from Psycho. I put it in there, and John Williams, who wrote the score to Star Wars, had been a friend and colleague of Hermann's. When he wrote the score to the film, he wrote a cue to go at that point that used those exact three notes to begin. It was a homage to Hermann.

Peggy Robertson
Benny Hermann's score for Psycho was brilliant. In fact, so much so that Hitch and I were sitting in the theater when we were scoring the picture, and we came to the end, when Tony Perkins comes down the steps into the basement, and sees the skeleton mother right at the end of the picture, and that was silent. After we finished that reel, Benny came up to Hitch and said, "How'd you like it? What did you think of it?" And Hitch said, "It was fine, Benny, except surely, "as Tony comes down those steps into the basement, "you should repeat that wonderful theme... that you had in the shower sequence, with all the fiddles going down like that." Benny said, "Wonderful idea, Hitch." He was thrilled with the idea and said Hitch was absolutely right. So we did that reel with the score.

Joseph Stefano
My script ended where he says, "Why, I wouldn't harm a fly." Where the mother, through him, says, "I wouldn't harm a fly." And that was it. That was the end of the movie for me. Hitchcock and George Tomasini, his editor, did this marvellous thing with the skull of his mother, almost subliminal, some people didn't even see it, and the car being pulled out. I think that was kind of a way to give you a return to the person that you lost, who is buried in that. And also to open up the thought that maybe there are some other cars in there.

Peggy Robertson
It was time for the film to go to the censors, to the Hayes Office. So Hitch said, "Let's get Luigi Loraski..." who was the intermediary for the studio and the censorship, a very nice man... "to look at the film and see if there are any problems with it." So immediately after we got the first cut, we had the screening for Hitch, Luigi, George Tomasini, the editor, his assistant and me, in the theater at Universal.

So we start running it and Luigi laughs at Hitch's appearance in the film, which took place in the beginning of the film. And then... we're watching everything. Then comes the shower sequence. We're all sort of looking on placidly. Luigi: "Stop! Stop! My God!" So Hitch said, "Yes, Luigi, what is it?" Luigi: "I saw her breast." "No, you didn't, Luigi. It's just in your dirty mind. You didn't see a breast at all. Yes, we'll run it again."

So we ran it again. "Well, Luigi, did you see a breast?" "No, but we're going to be in a lot of trouble with it." We talked him out... Oh, we didn't. Um, we made him realize that he was wrong, that he hadn't seen a breast, that it was a perfectly charming little Sunday afternoon shower sequence, and we sent it off with Luigi to the censor. We did have a few problems with the censor. They said they didn't like Janet in her slip in the beginning and a few odd things like that, but tidied them all up.

Patrica Hitchcock
My mother was the one who, when they saw the first print, the print that they were going to send out... She's the one that at the end of the picture, when they were all raving, "Oh, it's great," she said, "You can't send it out." They said, "Why? What's the matter?" She says, "Janet Leigh takes a breath when she's supposed to be dead." She's the only one that had caught it, with all the people that had seen that, over and over. She had an unerring eye because she was an editor in England in the early days. She got used to looking at things frame by frame. That's when they had it on the reels and they just turned it. It wasn't automatic. So they had to fix it up.

They had a showing for the cast and some other people. We saw it then, and I thought it was great. I really did. I think my reaction when I saw it was like everybody else's. You get so, you know, just engrossed in the whole story. I never look at anything technically, anyway.

Janet Leigh
When I saw it and I saw it cut together and I saw the boom, boom, and the music and everything, I absolutely went... I-I-I just was crazy. I really screamed. I-I never take a shower. I cannot take a shower. 'Cause it never dawned on me until that moment how vulnerable and defenseless one is. It never entered my head until I saw that.

Patrica Hitchcock
The most fascinating part, which my father loved from the very beginning, was having Janet play that part... and then she's out the first quarter of the movie.

Peggy Robertson
One day, we'd finished shooting and Hitch said, "You know, people who come in late to see Psycho will wonder, 'Where is Janet Leigh?' They'll keep on waiting for her, "and she'll be dead, and they won't know it. What can be done about it?" So he thought while we were talking, and he said, "They shouldn't allow people into the theater after the film has started. They'll see it... Then it will be orderly, and everyone will realize it." So... I laughed. I didn't think it would be possible to tell theater managers when to show the picture and when not to. And he convinced Paramount publicity this was the way to solve it. The whole ball started rolling then. It was successful because the theater managers cooperated.

recording No one, but no one, will be admitted to the theater after the start of each performance of Psycho.

Hilton Green
It was a great gimmick, if you want to call it a gimmick, because the people had to get in and get down before the picture started. That brought them in, and then when they left, they left screaming. Some people running out, especially during the shower scene, which just added to the enthusiasm of the public wanting to see this picture.

Recording Do not expect to be admitted into the theater after the start of each performance of the picture. We say no-one, and we mean no-one, not even the manager’s brother, the President of the United States, or the Queen of England – God bless her.

Peggy Robertson
In New York, some journalists thought, we'll show this is just a publicity stunt. So they got hold of a woman who was pregnant and coached her what to say to the manager with her so-called husband. He went in and said, "Look, my wife is pregnant, you can see, but she wants to see Psycho. Let us in, now that the picture's started. Please, sir." So the manager said, "I'm very happy for you that she's pregnant, sir, but we can't allow her in the theater. She's perfectly welcome to sit in my office until the next program starts, but you can't come in in the middle of the program." And that was true. They carried it out. Of course, you had long lines photographed by people, people waiting to get in, which was very good.

Alfred Hitchcock
Good afternoon. Here we have a quiet, little motel.

Hilton Green
The trailer for Psycho was done when we finished shooting. All the sets were saved and held on the stage. We were all called back... I don't know, I think it was about a week later. We spent one day, and it was a fun day because the strain of the movie was over. The schedule was done, and it was all in the can. We... It was... Looking back on that day, it was like a party day with Mr. H.

Alfred Hitchcock
Of course, in a flash there was the knife, and in no time... the victim tumbled and fell with a horrible crash. I think the back broke immediately it hit the floor. It was... It's difficult to describe the way the-the-the... The twisting of the... Well, I... It's... I won't dwell upon it.

Peggy Robertson
Talking of coming up with the idea for the trailer, doing a tour of the house and all this was Hitch's own idea. And also to treat it in a very droll fashion. "Oh, look. I can't tell you what went on in this place. It's too terrible. This is where she... No, no, no, no." Totally funny.

Alfred Hitchcock
This picture... has great significance... because... Uh, let's go along to cabin number one.

Hilton Green
When Hitchcock walks in and pulls the shower curtain away and reveals Vera Miles behind there instead of Janet Leigh, it was part of the fun that went on that day.

The release of Psycho was not critically acclaimed. In fact, the critics pooh-hooed it. They didn't think this was up to the standard of North by Northwest or To Catch A Thief or Vertigo or all the famous Hitchcock pictures.

Joseph Stefano
I think the critics didn't like being made to see it in a theater. That pissed them off. They wanted to see it in the screening room like they always did, all by themselves or with their secretaries, and Mr. Hitchcock said, "No previews." As a matter of fact, the critics had to see it on the day that it opened, with the ordinary folk. And I'm convinced we got a lot of bad reviews because of that. I think they were kind of irritated reviews. You could almost feel the irritation.

Patrica Hitchcock
He was disappointed when a movie didn't get good reviews because he knew how much time he had spent on it, and, uh, he'd been... I think he'd been a little spoiled very early on when he came here, when he had such great reviews for Rebecca and some of the others, Suspicion. I think it bothered him.

Joseph Stefano
Bosley Crowler of the New York Times said it was awful, and then later in the year picked it as one of the ten best pictures of the year. It was curious because the audience seemed to like it.

Peggy Robertson
The audience, for Hitch, were the most important part of the moviemaking. On Psycho, he'd send me out to the different theaters to check with the manager: "How did the audience go for this or that? What were the reactions as the audience came out of the theater?" I know that on Psycho, the reactions were the same. The audience would come out laughing in horror, like on a roller coaster. And at all theaters, they did that. They came out with a sense of tremendous enjoyment. This was a lovely evening they'd had of enjoying these murders. That's what mattered to him: to get the audience involved.

Joseph Stefano
While I was writing it, it never occurred to me that an audience would yell at the screen, "Don't go down there!" or give any kind of aid or comfort to the victims. And it was remarkable when I saw it the first time in a theater. My wife and I took several friends to see it, because we couldn't take them to a screening, as most people do. So we took them to the theater, and I saw it completely, with titles and everything, at the same time the audience was seeing it. And I was shocked, absolutely shocked. Could not believe that the audience would react like this. This felt like when I was a kid and watched serials, and we yelled at the screen. But these were grown-ups doing it.

Janet Leigh
I feel very strongly that the reason that Psycho has endured is because of the restrictions that were put on us and because Mr. Hitchcock had to come up with a suspense story, without showing what today is normal. He allowed the audience to create what they thought they saw. And when the audience becomes a part of the creative process, they're not gonna forget that.

Patrica Hitchcock
I think that's why his pictures are lasting today. Because they weren't made for critics. I'm sure he would love to have the critical acclaim, but he makes them for the audience.