BARRY NORMAN: FILM OF THE DAY Psycho★★★★★ 12.35-2.25am C4
Never mind the opinion of some that Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo is the greatest film ever made, this is Hitch’s masterpiece, probably the most influential thriller of them all. Scores of film-makers have tried to recapture the nail-biting shock/horror of what goes on in the Bates Motel (prop. Norman Bates, played by Anthony Perkins) and none has succeeded, least of all Gus Van Sant with his misbegotten scene-by-scene remake. From the moment Hitchcock kills off his heroine (Janet Leigh) a third of the way through, the audience is simply the orchestra, with Hitch the conductor coaxing them into what to think and expect, and then leading them in an entirely different direction, keeping them constantly on the wrong foot. Paramount refused to produce the film, saying it was “too repulsive” and the director had to finance it himself. The result so disgusted The Observer’s critic CA Lejeune that she quit her job. which was absurd because this is a great movie.
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