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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - October, 2010

ARTICLE INDEX

"Psycho" (1960) (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by John Johnson

Psycho

Synopsis

Marion Crane (Leigh) is a bored office staff member and decides on the spur of the moment to take $40,000 in cash and leave town instead of depositing the money in the bank as she was instructed. She heads west towards California to meet her lover, Sam Loomis (Gavin), and stops as night approaches, at the Bates Motel.

Norman Bates (Perkins) runs the motel, and takes care of his ailing mother who lives in a dark house behind the motel on a hill.

Norman is a psychopath, and ruins Marion's plans of running away with Sam and the money. The body is dumped in a swamp behind the motel.

Sam becomes worried when Marion does not show up, and Police Detective Milton Arbogast (Balsam), who has been informed of the robbery, tries to find her. When he does not return, Sam and Marion's sister Lila (Miles) decide to find her themselves.

What they find at the Bates Motel is movie history.

Specifications

  • Shamley Productions
  • 1960, Black & White, Rated R, 1 Hr 49 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: Not Specified
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring: Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, John Gavin, Martin Balsam
  • Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
    Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: Mild
  • Language: No

Commentary

Finally, this classic motion picture from the twentieth century is available on Blu-ray. It was made at a time when cheap B movies were the rage. Hitchcock decided to make one himself, and the studio wouldn't fund it, so he paid the production costs. Big mistake on the studio's part.

Technical

The transfer is superb, but it is obvious that there is wear and tear on the original that cannot be erased. Interestingly, we have been watching Psycho all these years at full frame, when the theatrical release had the top and bottom soft matted to 1.85:1, so the disc version actually shows less image than the old versions shown on TV. You can't do much with an old mono sound track, but they try their best.

Extras

There is a ton of stuff here, and rightly so. Besides The Making Of, there are In the Mirror's Shadow, Hitchcock Interview, The Shower Scene, The Psycho Archives, Behind the Scenes, and a Commentary with Stephen Rebellow (author of Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho).