Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Psycho Part Two

Production #9401: The Making of PSYCHO - pt. 11

Ed here: Thanks to Todd Mason for this link from the Classic Film Union

By M Patton

While things were humming along nicely at the offices of Shamley Productions, the company that Hitchcock set up on the Universal lot to supervise the television show, things were less serene at the Hitchcock offices on the Paramount lot.  The collapse of No Bail for The Judge meant that the hunt for material that might catch Hitchcock’s fancy had to begin again, and that had become a difficult task over the years. (In 1959 alone, the Hitchcock offices logged some 2,400 submissions of material, of which only 30 made it past his assistant, Peggy Robertson, to Hitchcock himself.)

            But nobody actually submitted Psycho to Hitchcock.  Robertson, as per usual, scanned Anthony Boucher’s “Criminals at Large” column in the New York Times Book Review and circled his rave for Bloch’s novel. (Boucher, whose opinion Hitchcock respected, was part of a large, loose network of literary types – critics, agents, editors – who helped scout material for Hitchcock’s films and television show.)  Robertson also read the February 25 memo from script-reader William Pinkard, but she didn’t show it to Hitchcock, knowing that if her boss also liked the book, the objections of studio brass would amount to nothing more than one more obstacle on the path to getting it filmed.

            And Hitchcock, who spent the following weekend reading and re-reading the book at his Bel-Air home, liked Psycho.  He liked the novel’s wry, mordant humor, its workaday settings (which contrasted strongly with the glossy precincts in which most of his films were set), and he liked the emotional shocks delivered by having one sympathetic character brutally murdered and revealing another sympathetic character to be her murderer, and a psychotic, cross-dressing serial murderer to boot.

For the rest go here:

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