Trivia / Psycho

  • Acting in the Dark: Alfred Hitchcock withheld the ending from the cast and crew until it was time to shoot it.
  • Actor-Shared Background: Anthony Perkins lost his father at the age of five and was raised by his mother, like his character Norman.
  • Adam Westing:
  • AFI's 100 Years... Series:
  • Billing Displacement: Done deliberately by the advertising, which promoted Janet Leigh as the star of the film. Ironically in the credits she is given And Starring - whereas she still has more screen time than Vera Miles and John Gavin, who get second and third billing.
  • Black Sheep Hit:
  • Channel Hop: Psycho was first distributed by Paramount Pictures, then in 1968 was sold to Universal Studios due to studio Shamley Productions getting acquired by Universal parent MCA and Paramount wanting to get their name off the movie as soon as possible (see Troubled Production below).
  • Creator Backlash:
    • Averted with Anthony Perkins. While acknowledging that starring in the film led to him being typecast as a maniac killer, when he was asked if he still would have taken the role knowing what it would do to his career, he replied with a definite "yes."
    • Alfred Hitchcock apparently disliked the performance of John Gavin, who played Sam, and referred to him as "the stiff".
    • Vera Miles was unhappy while making the film, disliking Lila's "matronly" wardrobe. She was convinced that the unflattering clothes were Hitchcock's way of punishing her for being unable to star in Vertigo.
  • Directed by Cast Member: Anthony Perkins directed the third movie.
  • Doing It for the Art: Hitchcock went to a lot of trouble to try and avoid the film's twists being revealed. Most notably, he went about buying up copies of the source novel out of his own pocket.
  • Executive Meddling:
    • The censors wanted to cut the shot of the toilet flushing. But Hitchcock insisted that it was important to the plot - the torn up paper proving that Marion stayed in the motel. And so the film is the first to show a toilet flushing on screen.
    • Another shot cut by the censors was of Marion removing her black bra before taking the shower. It's included in the UK release.
    • John Gavin was cast as Sam Loomis at the insistence of the studio.
  • Genre-Killer: Many film historians consider Psycho to the be movie that killed Film Noir, as the purpose of the first hour or so is to continuously set up and subvert the tropes of that genre.
  • Jossed:
    • Anthony Perkins isn't the one doing the stabbing in the shower scene. Popular legend says because of Broadway commitments. But it was actually a deliberate move by Hitchcock, so as not to give the twist away.
    • Janet Leigh also Jossed a legend that the shower water went cold to get a scream out of her. According to her, the crew took great care to keep the water warm.
  • Life Imitates Art: The shower scene ended up genuinely frightening Janet Leigh when she saw it back. Realising how vulnerable a woman was in the shower, she only ever took baths for the rest of her life.
  • Lying Creator: Hitchcock lied to the press that he intended to cast Helen Hayes as Mrs Bates. Several actresses wrote to him looking for the part as a result. He even kept a chair on set with 'Mrs Bates' marked on it to fool people even further.
  • No Budget: The studio had such distaste for the source material, they gave Hitchcock very little money. Because of this, the film was shot in black and white.
  • Not Screened for Critics: Alfred Hitchcock actually played this card and then some in order to conceal the film's classic plot twist. This makes Psycho a rare example of a film Not Screened for Critics that is acclaimed by them later.
  • The Other Marty: There were rumours that George Reeves was originally cast as Arbogast and had already filmed some of his scenes by the time he died. As the script wasn't even started until four months after Reeves's death, this is quite unlikely.
  • Playing with Character Type: Bates initially appears to be the same sort of character Perkins was known for playing up to that time - a likeable, socially awkward supporting role. This makes the Twist Ending all the more shocking.
  • Real-Life Relative:
    • The brief appearance of young Norman in Psycho II was by Anthony Perkins' son, Oz.
    • Marion's co-worker Carolyn is played by the director's daughter Pat Hitchcock.
  • Reality Subtext: Part of Hitchcock's love for the story was because he sympathised with Norman - having also grown up with a rather domineering mother. Thankfully she was not as bad as Mrs Bates. Likewise the screenwriter wrote the screenplay while he was in therapy, dealing with the troubled relationship with his own mother.
  • Star-Derailing Role:
    • Subverted yet played straight: History will tell you that Psycho was not a box-office nor a critical failure, and it's obviously considered one of the best films ever made. However, many consider it to be the film that simultaneously heightened and ruined Anthony Perkins's career as an actor because he was subject to typecasting afterwards, and most moviegoers only knew him as Norman Bates. Perkins never had any backlash because of it, but plenty of his fans will vouch Perkins was one of the most underrated actors in Hollywood history, and Psycho is to blame. Ironically enough, at the time Psycho was Perkins Playing Against Type. After Psycho, if there was a movie where he wasn't playing a "psycho," it was him playing against type again.
    • The same applies to Janet Leigh. Although not subject to typecasting afterwards, pretty much all she is really remembered for was the shower scene.
  • Throw It In:
    • Location shooting (for the scene where Marion drives out of town with the money) was done in downtown Phoenix in December 1959. After Christmas decorations were discovered to be visible in the footage, a graphic was added to the beginning of the film setting the date as "Friday, December the Eleventh".
    • Also, Norman's Character Tic of eating candy was a suggestion of Perkins's that Hitchcock happened to like.
  • Trope Codifier: For Dead Star Walking, courtesy of Janet Leigh getting killed off after only forty or so minutes of screen time.
  • Trope Namer: Psycho Strings for the film's famous score.
  • Troubled Production: More like troubled pre-production. Hitchcock was repeatedly mocked by executives at Paramount who refused to fund the film because of its controversial subject matter, going as far as refusing to grant him access to their sound stages by falsely claiming they had all been taken up. This caused Hitchcock to take the bill for the movie himself and finance it through his company, Shamley Productions, and shoot the movie at the Universal lot. When the movie was finished, Paramount reluctantly agreed to distribute the film, but only for eight years since MCA had bought Hitchcock's stake in Shamley in 1964, allowing Paramount to clean their hands of the movie and pass it on to Universal four years later.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: Gus van Sant's 1999 remake, thanks to the only new line of dialogue van Sant put in the script. Julianne Moore as Lila is listening to a Sony Walkman when she's introduced, and she says "Let me get my Walkman" when she and Sam are leaving his hardware store.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Hitchcock originally wanted the shower scene to play without music, but Herrmann begged him to try it. Yes, the Trope Maker for Psycho Strings very nearly didn't come about at all.
    • He also wanted the opening zoom in to Marion's afternoon delight to be a single continuous shot, but the technology to do this didn't exist at the time. Restoring that idea now that it did exist is pretty much the only legitimate reason for the existence of the Gus van Sant remake.

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