Psycho, of course, became arguably his seminal work which, as you can imagine given his legendary repertoire of work, is no mean achievement. The film stars Anthony Hopkins as Hitchcock and Helen Mirren as his wife Alma. It chronicles the making of Psycho and the ‘soap-opera’ behind the scenes life. The movie also contains a parallel, psychological theme as Hitchcock “hangs out” (albeit symbolically rather than literally) with the tormented mind of serial-killer Ed Gein (Michael Wincott) the real-life inspiration for the original book. It also depicts how personal parts of his life may have contributed to the film, such as the peephole used by Norman Bates and using his fresh temper (thinking his wife was having an affair) to help frighten Janet Leigh in the shower scene. And was it just me or did Janet Leighs dressing room resemble the films notorious motel room?
The make-up department surely deserve a mention for Hopkins transformation. However, Hopkins’ voice lets him down occasionally – some scenes he nails it but there are moments when it’s Hopkins not Hitch speaking, which is a shame. Mirren is good in her role, but the whole film is fairly mild and never really permeates the dark depths that one would imagine making a film such as Psycho. Personally, I can forgive this and when half the film is set on a the movie set it’s like the dream-back-stage-pass! Bernard Hermann’s eerie themes makes a cameo appearance in the underscore and at one point one can hear the haunting echo of the word…”McGuffin!” For a Hitch fan like myself, it’s heaven!