Hitchcock had a way.
It's a movie most everyone knows, even if they've not actually watched the movie. Of course, if you haven't seen it, there is a lot you've likely missed in the characterization, music use, scene creation, and camera work. We can think we know it all about Marion Crane, and Norman Bates.
And sadly, even if you haven't seen the film, you know what to expect... It was something that the first audiences didn't know, so they got to have the true experience of how the movie shifts and turns in it's unexpected manner.
But today, we most all see the pivotal scenes replayed somewhere. It's all memes now.
What would it be like to not "know it all" beforehand?
So how I pretend we don't know? And we don't get into what happens? Heck, maybe somebody will read this who is clueless about the film, and have a chance to check it out, before learning it's ending.
Hitchcock starts strong with a wonderful piece of music at the start to build the tension.
The movie proper opens in Phoenix, Arizona. We meet Marion, who works for a real estate company. She's on a lunch break having a get together with her lover, Sam Loomis.
She is frustrated with their life. He's travelling, working to pay some debts. Marion wants to stop having to meet quietly, and she wants to get married. But he won't do that with all the debts he's struggling with.
So Marion heads back to work where her boss is talking to a rich tycoon who's buying so property. He's a bit obnoxious, and demands to pay off the property with cash, then and there. He even waves it around in Marion's face, as he flirts with her.
It's then she concocts an unbelievable plan. She'll steal the money. Marion feigns illness, and says she'll deposit the money before heading home. It's the end of the week so no update on the funds will be available for days. She can pay off Sam's debts, they can marry...and Something Something Something, happily ever after.
It's a doomed plan, but she just wants her shot at being happy. So she takes the money.
And then heads out of town.
The music from the start comes up again and we are drawn into her paranoia that everyone knows, and hen she sees her boss on the street. But she's committed.
As she drives she gets stopped by a cop, and you get this fear she has that it's all over and she's doomed, or on the cusp of doom. The officer even follows her into the next town. The whole time she is screaming a sense of guilt.
She even sells her car and buys another, with some of the cash she's stolen. She can't let go of the dream.
But eventually, rain, time and the night get to her and she needs to stop. Time for a motel.
The Bates Motel.
With that old house out behind it.
It's run by young Norman Bates. A quiet shy man, who takes care of his invalid mother up at the house.
Marion talks to Norman, and he seems odd, but nice. Though when he talks about his mother, he gets defensive.
All of this gives Marion time to think. And she does start to reconsider what she's doing. She looks at the money she has, and what she's spent, and decides she really can't live with what she's done. She has to set things right. She had to reach her dream the right way.
She just needs to rest first.
But it isn't long before the law is looking for her.
And through out all of this the camera keeps an eye on that money, as we see it's effect, and where it ends up.
Now I could go on and talk about how the movie unfolds from here. Nah. We all either know it, or deserve a chance to experience it.
Marion's actions have their repercussions that reverberate to the end of the film. Does her dream end in a nightmare? What are the chances something like that could happen in a film called Psycho?