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Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

United States 1960 109 mins. In English

“Phoenix, $40,000, car lot, traffic cop, Bates Motel, taxidermy, keyhole, shower, knife: every cinephile has committed these details to memory, with the composite whole long since contaminating the broader cultural imagination. Filmed in thirty days using Hitchcock’s television crew (along with indelible contributions from composer Bernard Herrmann and title designer Saul Bass), the densely pathological film, arguably Hitchcock’s most complete manipulation of point-of-view, has provided endless fodder for film theorists. With its profit-sharing contracts, incendiary content and shocking narrative reversals, Psycho slammed the door on Hollywood’s classical studio era. The shower scene gave rise to entire film genres, but Hitchcock’s original remains the gold standard for film’s visceral effect. Of the film’s many interpretations, perhaps none remains as unsettling as the director’s own: “To me it’s a fun picture.”—Harvard Film Archive.