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Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho

by Stephen Rebello

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231796,000 (3.74)4
A "meticulous history" of the classic suspense film based on exclusive interviews with the director, writers, cast, and crew (The New York Times Book Review). First released in June 1960, Psycho altered the landscape of horror films forever. But just as compelling as the movie itself is the story behind it, which has been adapted as a movie starring Anthony Hopkins as Hitchcock, Helen Mirren as his wife Alma Reville, and Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh.   Stephen Rebello brings to life the creation of one of Hollywood's most iconic films, from the story of Wisconsin murderer Ed Gein, the real-life inspiration for the character of Norman Bates, to Hitchcock's groundbreaking achievements in cinematography, sound, editing, and promotion. Packed with captivating insights from the film's stars, writers, and crewmembers, Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho is a riveting and definitive history of a signature Hitchcock cinematic masterpiece.  … (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
A terrific and readable history of the making of Psycho, Rebello's book is free from cant, jargon, theory, or outlandish stretching of his points. This is going to sound silly, but here goes: it's like someone said, "I wonder how Hitchcock made Psycho?" and Rebello said, "Read this." It's filled with concrete information, telling anecdotes, and workmanlike prose. Rebello is especially good on how Psycho--despite the reams and reams of money it made Hitchcock--proved to be a mixed blessing, at least for its director. Recommended. ( )
  Stubb | Aug 28, 2018 |
I think I learned all that I wanted to know about how my favorite director made one of my favorite movies. Since Mr. Rebello writes as a journalist and a historian, not as an amateur psychologist, I also have to read what I didn’t know, such as his guesses about how Hitchcock’s repressions were played out on the screen, blah, blah. I especially enjoyed how Rebello treated the two most famous controversies: Robert Bloch, the author of the source novel, vs. Joe “Outer Limits” Stefano, the screenwriter, over who was most responsible for the film’s story; and the claims of title sequence director Saul Bass to deserve auteur credit for the shower scene. Rebello comes down on the sides of Bloch and Hitchcock, and I think he is right. Rebello also reminded how important the film was historically (providing the inspiration for more graphic horror movies in general and the template for slasher movies in particular). I read his account of how the film’s surprises shocked the first audiences with a little bitterness, since I had them spoiled for me a long time before I saw the film. ( )
1 vote Coach_of_Alva | Jan 20, 2014 |
Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho by Stephen Rebello opens with Ed Gein. Taxidermy, furniture and clothing made of human flesh and bone, cannibalism and run down cluttered homes. If you see any of these motifs in film you owe them to one real life monster named Ed Gein. And Psycho was the first to draw creative inspiration from his crimes. Ed Gein, though, makes Norman Bates look like a pussycat.

From the true crime this reissued book about the making of Psycho goes through all the steps that lead to the progenitor of the modern horror film. There's a chapter on Robert Bloch's novel and how it came to be purchased by Alfred Hitchcock.

Most of the book though is about the film itself. Of most interest to me was how the film was shot like an extended episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Although there was speculation at the time that it might be used for the series, Rebello argues (quite effectively) that the approach was a cost saving measure and as well as a chance for Hitchcock to step away from the elaborate (and expensive) full color films he had been making at the time. A low budget also gave Hitchcock more creative freedom because no one was worried about where the money was going.

I read an egalley via NetGalley. ( )
  pussreboots | Jul 28, 2013 |
Interesting story, told in the worst possible way. It's obvious Mr. Rebello researched his material carefully and thoroughly. But reading his book is like listening to a guy on an adjacent bar stool on a talking jag. ( )
  jburlinson | Dec 9, 2012 |
ALFRED HITCHCOCK and the making of PSYCHO is an extremely interesting account of the machinations behind the genius of the man who created the movie Psycho. The story is informative and tells us those "secret" tidbits of information that make these kinds of non-fiction stories successful. Stephen Rebello takes us on a walk behind the scenes and into the minds of the people responsible for the cult classic movie, "Psycho".

The making of Psycho takes the reader to the root of the "inspiration" of the movie and shares with us who Robert Bloch is and how Alfred Hitchcock came to owning the rights to the story. We learn who Hitchcock wanted for his actors, such as, he wanted a "famous" actress to play the part of Marion Crane and after several considerations, he chose Janet Leigh, we are given glances at the cut scenes and the reasons how many scenes were deleted, the explanation behind the movie theater slogan, "No one is allowed to enter when the film has begun" and we are also given an in-depth look into the infamous shower scene, from different angles from the people who were present in the filming.

I enjoyed how the book read and the presentation was very informative, as well, the insights and side stories were delivered in such a way, that I found myself being lead to doing my own research. I didn't know about the cross-references of Norman Bates to Leatherface of the "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and Buffalo Bill of the "Silence of the Lambs" fame. I would suggest this book to ALL fans of the genre, film students and anyone who enjoys good non-fiction reads, however, those weak of constitution should stay away from its pages, the chapter about the serial killer with whom Norman Bates is loosely based upon is quite graphic in nature, all in all, it was a great read.

SYNOPSIS:
Stephen Rebello has talked and interviewed virtually every surviving cast and crew member and has uncovered the hows and whys behind the movie's fascinating history. Everything about Psycho is here, in this book, in all its glorious detail. ( )
  MadMooseMama | Apr 14, 2011 |
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A "meticulous history" of the classic suspense film based on exclusive interviews with the director, writers, cast, and crew (The New York Times Book Review). First released in June 1960, Psycho altered the landscape of horror films forever. But just as compelling as the movie itself is the story behind it, which has been adapted as a movie starring Anthony Hopkins as Hitchcock, Helen Mirren as his wife Alma Reville, and Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh.   Stephen Rebello brings to life the creation of one of Hollywood's most iconic films, from the story of Wisconsin murderer Ed Gein, the real-life inspiration for the character of Norman Bates, to Hitchcock's groundbreaking achievements in cinematography, sound, editing, and promotion. Packed with captivating insights from the film's stars, writers, and crewmembers, Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho is a riveting and definitive history of a signature Hitchcock cinematic masterpiece.  

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