Hitchcock (film)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Hitchcock is a 2012 American biographical drama film directed by Sacha Gervasi and based on Stephen Rebello's non-fiction book Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho.

Hitchcock centers on the relationship between director Alfred Hitchcock and his wife Alma Reville during the making of Psycho, a controversial horror film that subsequently became one of the most acclaimed and influential works in the filmmaker's career.

Plot summary

In 1959, Alfred Hitchcock opens his latest film, North by Northwest, to considerable success, but is troubled by a reporter's insinuation that it is time to retire. Seeking to reclaim the artistic daring of his youth, Alfred turns down film proposals like adapting Casino Royale in favor of a horror novel called Psycho by Robert Bloch, which is based on the crimes of serial killer Ed Gein. Gein features in sequences throughout the film in which he seems to prompt Hitchcock's imagination regarding the Psycho story, or act as some function of Hitchcock's unconscious mind (for instance, drawing Hitchcock's attention to sand on his bathroom floor, the quantity of which reveals how much time his wife Alma has been spending at the beachhouse with Whitfield Cook).

Alfred's wife and artistic collaborator, Alma, is no more enthusiastic about the idea than his colleagues, especially since she is being lobbied by their writer friend, Whitfield Cook, to look at his own screenplay. However, she warms to Alfred's proposal, suggesting the innovative plot turn of killing the female lead early in the film. The studio heads prove more difficult to persuade, forcing Alfred to finance the film personally and use his Alfred Hitchcock Presents television crew to produce the film.

However, the pressures of the production, such as dealing with Geoffrey Shurlock, the censor of the Motion Picture Production Code ('no American movie has ever found it "necessary" to show a toilet, let alone to flush it'), and Hitchcock's lecherous habits, such as when they confer with the female lead, Janet Leigh, annoy Alma. She begins a personal writing collaboration with Whitfield on his screenplay at his beach house without Alfred's knowledge. Alfred eventually discovers what she has been doing and suspects her of having an affair. This concern affects Alfred's work on Psycho.

Alma takes over production of the film when Alfred is temporarily bedridden after collapsing from overwork. Alfred eventually confronts Alma and asks her if she is having an affair. Alma angrily denies it. Meanwhile, Alfred expresses his disappointment to Vera Miles at how she didn't follow through on his plan to make her the next biggest star after Grace Kelly; but Miles says she is happy with her family life.

Alfred's cut of Psycho is poorly received by the studio executives, while Alma discovers Whitfield having sex with a younger woman at his beach house. Alfred and Alma reconcile and set to work on improving the film. Their renewed collaboration yields results, culminating in Alma convincing Alfred to accept their composer's suggestion for adding Bernard Hermann's harsh strings score to the shower scene.

After maneuvering Shurlock into leaving the film's content largely intact, Alfred learns the studio is only going to exhibit the film in two theaters. Alfred arranges for special theater instructions to pique the public's interest such as forbidding admittance after the film begins. At the film's premiere, Alfred first views the audience from the projection booth, looking out through its small window at the audience (a scene which recalls his spying on his leading actresses undressing earlier in the film, by looking through a hole cut in the dressing room wall - which itself is a voyeuristic motif included in the film of Psycho). Alfred then waits in the lobby for the audience's reaction, conducting to their reactions as they scream on cue. The film is rewarded with an enthusiastic reception.

With the film's screening being so well received, Alfred publicly thanks his wife afterward for helping make it possible and they affirm their love. At the conclusion at his home, Alfred addresses the audience noting Psycho proved a major high point of his career and he is currently pondering his next project. A crow lands on his shoulder as a reference to The Birds, before turning to meet with his wife.

Cast




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Hitchcock (film)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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