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Alfred Hitchcock: Masterpiece Edition Vol. 9: A high-def disc that wouldn't hurt a fly....
Universal / 109 Minutes / 1960 / Rated R / Street Date: October 30, 2012
[As preparation for our comprehensive review of Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection, we're investing each of that massive Blu-ray sets films one by one chronologically. If you missed them, check out our reviews of Saboteur, Shadow of a Doubt, Rope, Rear Window, The Trouble With Harry, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Vertigo, and North by Northwest.]
“She just… goes a little mad sometimes.”
As I would also have to be to attempt to review a film like Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho in any sort of sense on our DVD/Blu-ray review website here. My favorite Hitchcock films are his voyeuristic films: Rear Window & Psycho. Psycho remains my favorite Hitchcock film, and one of my top 5 favorite films of all time.
Every main piece of the film is executed brilliantly, from Joseph Stephano’s script, Hitchcock’s direction, Anthony Perkins’ performance, and Bernard Hermann’s score. It is in so many ways perfectly Hitchcock. It all comes together to make a film that I wish I could completely forget so that I could see it all with new eyes (and ears) again. The greatest thing about the film is its affect on the audience.
It’s funny to think that two of the three most brilliant things in Psycho did not get an Academy Award Nomination. Hitchcock’s direction was nominated, but neither Anthony Perkins performance nor Bernard Hermann’s score were nominated. The brilliance of both cannot be denied. The subtleties in Anthony Perkins’ performance from the eating of candy to his minor stutters bring the audience in to sympathize with his character. Then in the final scene, his perfectly disturbing stare still to this day causes me to hold my breath.
The strings-only orchestral score by Bernard Hermann is a one-of-a-kind score, and my favorite soundtrack of all time. I even have it as my alarm in the morning. Nothing makes you appreciate a day more than being awoken to the sound of impending death and that’s what Hermann’s score embodies throughout the film.
But all of this is subjective and potentially unnecessary. You’ve almost certainly seen Psycho (hopefully not the crime of nature that was the shot-for-shot remake) and are just reading here to see how the new Blu-ray stacks up to your DVD, so let’s just move on to the video/audio, supplements and final thoughts…