Sometimes it takes years for things to be unearthed and brought to light. In this case, we refer to an interview conducted with the master of film himself, Alfred Hithcock. Read on for what he had to say about Psycho.
In a 1964 sit-down uncovered in the BBC archives, the director says he intended the film to be a dark comedy made ‘rather tongue-and-cheek’.
Hitchcock took the helm on a screenplay based on the 1959 Robert Bloch novel, Psycho, inspired by serial killer Ed Gein.
The film stars Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, John Gavin and Janet Leigh, whose character is stabbed to death in the shower at the Bates Motel an unprecedented half-hour into the story.
Leigh earned an Oscar nomination for the role.
Hitchcock, who was nominated for best director by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, opened up about his intentions behind the film in July 1964 – four years after its release.
Speaking on English television show Monitor, Hitchcock recalled: ‘I once made a movie, rather tongue-in-cheek, called Psycho.
‘The content was, I felt, rather amusing and it was a big joke. I was horrified to find some people took it seriously.
‘It was intended to make people scream and yell and so forth – but no more than screaming and yelling on a switchback railway (rollercoaster),’ he continued.
‘I’m possibly in some respects the man who says in constructing it, ‘how steep can we make the first dip?’
‘If you make the dip too deep, the screams will continue as the car goes over the edge and destroys everyone.
‘Therefore you mustn’t go too far because you do want them to get off the switchback railway, giggling with pleasure.’
The interview is featured in a newly-released audiobook, Alfred Hitchcock: In His Own Words.
A spokesperson for AudioGo told Britain’s Telegraph newspaper: ‘Hitchcock’s true intentions for Psycho have been the centre of debate since the ’60s.
‘This fascinating archive interview appears to suggest that Hitchcock had always intended Psycho to be comedic, rather than terrifying.’
The audiobook’s release is in tandem with the UK premiere of Hitchcock, a biopic about the director’s work on Psycho, starring Anthony Hopkins.
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