Psycho (1960)
Literary Criticism, Fall, 99Psychoanalysis;
Hitchcock, Alfred

Hitchcock's presence in his films is motivated not only by his wish to observe and control--and, particularly, to control by observing--but also by a constant quest for closeness to his characters, which finds its most potent expression in two practices. One is his celebrated use of point-of-view shots--often praised for their power to generate physical and psychological identification between spectator and character, but equally effective in uniting a character's consciousness and perspective with that of the director himself. The other is H's habit of injecting himself¡Kinto the world of his films. He does this not by becoming a character, but in two other ways: through his famous cameo appearances, which allow him to enter the action directly, costumed yet unmistakably himself, and through his use of characters and objects that serve as surrogates for his own presence.

  1. H's cameos are self-publicizing jokes and ironic punctuation marks, no question about it. They also have perkily nondramatic and illusion-breaking qualities. ¡Ksomething more resonant: manifestation of H's deep-seated wish not only to speak through, but to become physically integrated with, his films.
  2. the famous shower scene--in 42 seconds there are 78 separate shots
  3. Hitchcock's treatment of women.
I. Norman
    II.  Secrecy and greed: Marian -- but is she the only one guilty.
    III. Human Psyche: how the bright side is inseparable from the dark and evil.  Many characters are suspected of stealing the money.

    IV. Images of birds and holes.  Symbolic meanings of the names.
    V. The camera eye: revealing the dark part of the unconscious.
    VI. Is Norman completely explained away?

Relevant Links:

  • Psycho - includes pictures, sounds, movies clips and more.
  • Psycho Page, The - with essays, images, mpegs, sounds and a VRML 3d world about Hitchcock`s masterpiece.
  • Psycho
  • Screenplay - transcript of the action and dialogue.