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Trivia - Psycho
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Trivia & Fun Facts About PSYCHO

Hitchcock can be spotted in his expected gag cameo in Psycho outside Marion's office, wearing an oversized Stetson.

Hitchcock said he put the date and time at the beginning of the film to suggest that Marion has to sneak off on her lunch hour to carry on an illicit affair with her lover, Sam, and also to allow the viewer to be a Peeping Tom.

Psycho was Alfred Hitchcock's last Academy Award nomination for Best Director. He was nominated four times previously––for Rebecca (1940), Lifeboat (1944), Spellbound (1945), and Rear Window (1954)––but never won. In 1968, he was given the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, presented to producers, not directors, for their consistent high quality of motion picture production.

Bernard Herrmann is considered one of the most important and innovative film composers in cinema history. His first musical score was for Orson Welles's landmark debut film Citizen Kane (1941). He went on to do a number of important pictures before his friend and fellow composer Lyn Murray (who scored Hitchcock's To Catch a Thief, 1955) suggested him to the director. His first score for Hitchcock was The Trouble with Harry (1955), followed by The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), The Wrong Man (1956), Vertigo (1958), and North by Northwest (1959). After Psycho he worked with Hitchcock again on The Birds (1963) and Marnie (1964), as well as several episodes of the Hitchcock TV series. In later years he contributed to other thrillers, such as Sisters (1973) and Obsession (1976), both directed by Hitchcock devotee Brian De Palma. His last memorable score, completed before his death in 1975, was for Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver (1976).

Bernard Herrmann received no awards or nominations for composing one of the most famous and influential scores in film history. Hitchcock, however, acknowledged the importance of his score by giving Herrmann the second most prominent billing in the credits, right before his own directing credit.

Psycho was the first movie adapted from a novel by Robert Bloch (1917-1994), and despite its great success, he only received $9,000 from selling the film rights to his novel. However, the movie helped his career tremendously, and he wrote for a number of films and television shows over the next three decades, most of them in the horror/thriller/suspense genre, such as The Night Walker (1964) starring Barbara Stanwyck, and Strait-Jacket (1964) with Joan Crawford.

Although Hitchcock disliked John Gavin as an actor, he was cast in two episodes of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour on television, but they were not directed by Hitchcock. Gavin left acting in the early 80s after he was appointed Ambassador to Mexico by President Ronald Reagan. He served in the post until 1986. Since then he has been engaged in various business ventures.

Hitchcock's daughter Pat made her third and final appearance for her father in Psycho as a co-worker of Marion Crane's in the beginning of the film. Pat had previously played supporting roles in Stage Fright (1950) and Strangers on a Train (1951). She also appeared in several episodes of the TV series Alfred Hitchcock Presents between the mid 50s and 1960.

Observers have pointed out that, relevant to Norman's hobby of stuffing dead birds, Marion Crane's last name is that of a bird.

The painting that Norman removes from the wall to spy on Marion undressing is a replica depicting the biblical story of Susanna and the Elders; it is about a virtuous young woman who is spied on by two old men while she bathes. The elders then try to blackmail her into having sex with them.

The policeman attending to Norman in the final scene of Psycho was played by Ted Knight, who would become famous in the 1970s as bumbling anchorman Ted Baxter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Many reviewers reacted negatively to Hitchcock's insistence that they see Psycho with audiences instead of in advance special screenings. This decision may have angered some of them and contributed to accusations of Psycho as being "cruel," "sadistic," and even "pornographic."

According to Hitchcock, when Psycho was shown in Thailand, they did not dub it or use subtitles. "They shut off the sound and a man stands somewhere near the screen and interprets all the roles, using different voices," he told Francois Truffaut.

"Even though I knew what was going to come, I screamed. And even though I knew I was sitting there in that screening quite alive and well, it was a very emotional thing to see your own demise." – Janet Leigh on viewing the film for the first time.

"My main satisfaction is that the film had an effect on the audiences, and I consider that very important. I don't care about the subject matter; I don't care about the acting; but I do care about the pieces of film and the photography and the soundtrack and all of the technical ingredients that made the audience scream. I feel it's tremendously satisfying for us to be able to use the cinematic art to achieve something of a mass emotion. ... It wasn't a message that stirred the audiences, nor was it a great performance or their enjoyment of the novel. They were aroused by pure film. ... That's why I take pride in the fact that Psycho, more than any of my other pictures, is a film that belongs to filmmakers, to you and me." – Alfred Hitchcock to French director Francois Truffaut, Hitchcock (Simon & Schuster, 1983).

Memorable Quotes from PSYCHO

TOM CASSIDY (Frank Albertson): Well I ain't about to kiss off forty thousand dollars! I'll get it back, and if any of it's missin' I'll replace it with her fine, soft flesh!

NORMAN (Anthony Perkins): Oh, we have 12 vacancies. 12 cabins, 12 vacancies.

NORMAN: You-you eat like a bird.
MARION (Janet Leigh): (looking around at the stuffed birds in the room) And you'd know, of course.
NORMAN: No, not really. Anyway, I hear the expression "eats like a bird" – it-it's really a fals-fals-fals-falsity. Because birds really eat a tremendous lot. But I-I don't really know anything about birds. My hobby is stuffing things. You know––taxidermy.

NORMAN: She just goes a little mad sometimes. We all go a little mad sometimes. Haven't you?

NORMAN: Uh-uh, Mother-m-mother, uh, what is the phrase? She isn't quite herself today.

NORMAN: You know what I think? I think that we're all in our private traps, clamped in them, and none of us can ever get out. We scratch and we claw, but only at the air, only at each other, and for all of it, we never budge an inch.

NORMAN: A boy's best friend is his mother.

NORMAN: Mother! Oh God, mother! Blood! Blood!

DR. RICHMOND (Simon Oakland): I got the whole story, but not from Norman. I got it from his mother. Norman Bates no longer exists. He only half-existed to begin with. And now, the other half has taken over. Probably for all time.
LILA (Vera Miles): Did he kill my sister?
DR. RICHMOND: Yes...and no.

NORMAN/MOTHER: They're probably watching me. Well, let them. Let them see what kind of a person I am. I'm not even going to swat that fly. I hope they are watching... they'll see. They'll see and they'll know, and they'll say, "Why, she wouldn't even harm a fly."

Compiled by Rob Nixon