Released only a few weeks ago and now available on DVD, Hitchcock is certainly not the tribute that the master of suspense deserved. There were surely other aspects of the director’s career that could have been explored, but instead Sacha Gervasi has chosen the making of Hitchcock’s most controversial film, Psycho. probably predictable given the notoriety that the film has achieved.
Psycho was released in 1960 and it has since gained cult status, the notorious shower scene with its pounding music score by Bernard Hermann has since been copied in many other films, even the Simpsons had a go at it. Audiences of the day were shocked by the crude violence of the film, but that did not stop people from flocking to see it.
Only once more in his career did Hitchcock resort to the same kind of graphic material, that was in the 1972 film, Frenzy with Barry Foster as a serial killer on the loose in London.
The film Hitchcock has a made to order look about it, with Anthony Hopkins hardly recognisable in the title role, crammed into a fat suit and with latex jowls. The so-talented Helen Mirren plays his much put upon wife and screen collaborator, Alma Reville.
To finally bring Robert Bloch’s best-seller to the screen, Hitchcock had to mortgage his house, thus intensifying the tension in his already troubled marriage. He had to fight the studio bosses every inch of the way, but through dogged determination, he finally saw the project through. Scarlett Johannson gives one of the best performances in the film as Janet Leigh, who took the most famous early shower in screen history.
The film was reasonably well received by critics, to me the film was dull and unconvincing, a very disappointing excursion into screen history. The man who gave us such classics as Rebecca, Rear Window and Strangers on a Train deserved something better than this.