I had a strange hankering for non-fiction, and this seemed like a nice nuts-and-bolts / making-of that I might like... and it was.
I learned several things from this book:
- Alfred Hitchcock was a strange little man, that everyone held in absolute awe... which probably only make him weirder.
- Psycho was based on a book which was very loosely based on Ed Gein, sorta.
- He funded Psycho with his own money because the studio wouldn't. It cost him $800,000.
- Hitchcock wanted to make a cheap picture on purpose, to see if he could still make a good movie with a small budget.
- He used his TV crew (from Alfred Hitchcock Presents) to try to solve movie problems with TV solutions. He never tried it again, even though it kind of worked.
- Saul Bass thinks he designed & directed the entire shower scene, but no one else really thinks that.
- Alfred Hitchcock made a ton of money from Psycho, but he didn't make any more great movies.
All in all, pretty interesting... quick to read, fairly insightful, and now I have to go watch Psycho.
Of course, everyone has "seen" Psycho... but like everyone else, I haven't really sat through the thing. My mom did when she was young and hotel showers freaked her out for years.
Which makes me realize that many, many people have some sort of "over their age level" scary movie experience and it freaks them out for years later. For my mom, it was Psycho, and perhaps Them. For many people, it seems to be The Exorcist... which apparently was the movie that babysitters thought little kids should watch all across the 70's. For me it was probably some crazy movie about a house with a glass sheet that shot across the pool, trapping swimmers underneath.
That's messed up right there.