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Hitchcock (2012)
Movie Review by The Mortician

Hitchcock (2012) Man, I love Stephen Rebello's book ALFRED HITCHCOCK AND THE MAKING OF PSYCHO, upon which this cinematic experience is based upon. I've read the book several times and it never fails to amaze me: all the trouble Alfred Hitchcock went through to make PSYCHO and how it basically revolutionized horror in the motion picture industry. Heck, it pretty much started the whole "slasher" sub-genre in a way, paving the way for BLACK CHRISTMAS, HALLOWEEN, FRIDAY THE 13TH...on and on it goes, of course. Many people probably don't know that the studio DID NOT want Hitchcock to make PSYCHO. That he optioned the Robert Bloch novel himself, then bought up all the copies in stores in order to keep "the ending" secret. That he self-financed the movie in true underdog fashion when the studios wouldn't get behind him (taking out a second mortgage on his digs). That he and his wife were under great pressure during the making of the film, and that he ALWAYS became infatuated with his hot, blond leading ladies. That he shot PSYCHO super fast with a TV crew- and to simply save money, filmed it in black and white. That when the movie was finished and unscored, he almost cut it in half and put it on TV (!) as a two-parter on his ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS TV show...That he almost used NO MUSIC in the shower murder sequence (can you imagine THAT?!?!) And the shrewd marketing of the movie---Hitch basically scribbled the blueprints for 'event movies' to follow (like where THE EXORCIST and JAWS picked up...) Anyway, you get the idea: the book really focuses on what it took to make the movie, from start to finish. It's awesome and inspiring. The movie covers the same territory, but in MUCH LESS detail, unfortunately. Anthony Hopkins is splendid as always and "becomes" Hitchcock with superior makeup, great acting, and imitative mannerisms. All the supporting players are spot on, including those playing Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, and Vera Miles. The (all too few) behind-the-scenes moments of making PSYCHO are a joy to watch. The 'underdog' vibe of Hitchcock versus the studio suits is also awe-inspiring, that a director of Hitch's age and status was so moved to create something so wild and edgy despite the odds against him. Brilliant there. But the bad thing about HITCHCOCK is that is focuses far too much on his WIFE, Alma. Yes, we all know she was his muse and helped him decide on so many things, I have no issue with that (it was actually Alma that persuaded Hitch to use the Bernard Hermann score and the shrieking violins in the shower murder scene!). But the way HITCHCOCK focuses SO MUCH on Alma and a lust affair she is pondering getting into, and all the things she allegedly is doing to UPSET Hitch during the making of PSYCHO (like writing a script for Hitch to make with her prospective "lover") come across... over-melodramatic and BORING! I'm not sure how much of this was true, it certainly was NOT in Rebello's superior book. Sadly, a good chunk of this movie is more Alma's story and the friction she causes during the PSYCHO shoot, as opposed to showing the Master make the movie and recreating all those iconic scenes first-hand. I was hoping this would be more like ED WOOD, where the viewer would become a fly on the wall during the actual shoot, seeing how PSYCHO was shot, edited, and released. Most of this is covered, but glossed over far too quickly. So many of the book's details are missing that I was ultimately disappointed with this effort, even though it is a good (dramatic) film and the bits we DO see on the PSYCHO set are much appreciated. I just get the feeling that the movie COULD have been so much more! There's also a nice bit with serial killer Ed Gein (who inspired the PSYCHO novel) "talking" with Hitchcock in fantasy sequences to "get the movie right" that worked well---although this was highly exaggerated filmmaking as well. But it certainly beat the Alma Hitchcock soap operatics that ultimately seemed to hog up far too much time in this fun but ultimately disappointing movie that should have had its priorities straight: covering the making of one of the greatest horror motion pictures of all time! Worth a look, but don't expect it to be as fun or enlightening as other 'classic' bio-pics like ED WOOD... If they ever do THE MAKING OF JAWS, I sure hope they stick to what really happened ON THE SET at Martha's Vineyard and don't go for the routine and pathetic love triangles that ALWAYS happen in Hollywood. Stick to what matters---the film, the film, the film! Onward!

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