The Psycho File

A Comprehensive Guide to Hitchcock’s Classic Shocker


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About the Book

An examination of the groundbreaking 1960 film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, including the story’s origins in real-life graverobber Ed Gein. The book presents material from the script and how it was adapted from Robert Bloch’s novel; details of the film’s production, particularly the shower scene and other technical difficulties; actors and the challenges of their roles; extended literary analysis of the film covering such devices as irony, symbol, theme, motif and foil; and the film’s effect on audiences. Features 16 photographs, notes, bibliography and index.

About the Author(s)

Joseph W. Smith III is a teacher, journalist and public speaker in Pennsylvania.

Bibliographic Details

Joseph W. Smith III
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 226
Bibliographic Info: 16 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4487-8
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5486-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Part 1. Before Committing Yourself: A Few Preliminaries
Introduction: We All Go a Little Mad Sometimes      2
1. He Stole Her Corpse: Gein and Bloch      7
2. Do You Mind If I Look at Your Book? Stefano and Hitchcock      13
3. The Nuts and Bolts: Hitchcock and His Crew      18

Part 2. Look at the Picture, Please: A Detailed Analysis of the Film
4. I Hate Having to Be with You in a Place Like This: Titles and Windows      24
5. Let’s All Talk About Marion, Shall We? Marion and Sam      29
6. She Sat There While I Dumped It Out: Caroline and Cassidy      34
7. Am I Acting As If There’s Something Wrong? Marion and Marion      41
8. Dirty Night: Marion and Norman      53
9. Blood! Blood! Marion and Mom      70
10. He Had to Erase the Crime: Norman and Us      91
11. If You Still Haven’t Come to Your Senses: Sam and Arbogast      96
12. People Just Come and Go: Arbogast and Norman      102
13. A Bad Day Coming: Sam and Lila      110
14. I Can Handle a Sick Old Woman: Lila and Mom      119
15. As If from a Deep Sleep: Richmond and Norman      130
16. Two Personalities: Psycho and Psycho      139
17. Want to Check the Picture Again? Psycho and Its Themes      144
18. The Whole Story: Psycho and Its Moral Implications      162

Part 3. And That Still Wasn’t Enough: Aftermath
19. They’ll See and They’ll Know: Psycho and Its Viewers      172
20. After the Murder, Norman Returned: Sequels and Spin-Offs      182

Appendix: Cast and Credits      201
Sources      203
Bibliography      205
Index      209

Book Reviews & Awards

“This is the book to have if you want to understand Psycho’s standing in popular culture and film history. Smith has done Hitchcock fans, scholars, and critics an invaluable service in providing a comprehensive, richly detailed, and eminently practical guide to this seminal film.”—Philip J. Skerry, author of Psycho in the Shower: The History of Cinema’s Most Famous Scene.