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Hitchcock's Psycho - Q & A

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Connor Pelcher

Psycho Questions - Item D

1. What is Wood's hypothesis for this essay?

2. What effect does the opening shot give?

3. What is Marion's reasoning behind stealing the money?

4. How does the focus of the film shift halfway through, and why?

5. What does the way the house is decorated say about Norman's psyche?

6. What is the significance of the fly?

1. Robin Wood is essentially saying throughout his article that although Hitchcock may have treated this film as a "fun picture", he really did--as with every other film he makes--ensure that its art and humor and poetry and drama remain intact and shining bright along the film's length. The setup, the paranoid-Marion scene, the Bates motel and the brutal out-of-nowhere murder (and the shift of perspective that occurs after the slaying), the slow movement of authorities and friends closing in on Norman, and the surprise ending; they all lend to the overall superb feeling of the movie: one of generalized horror, yes, but also of morbid humor that pervades the story.

2. The opening shot is done in such a way as to give the impression of a certain randomness; as the camera glides through the cityscape it pauses, as if picking arbitrary blocks and buildings and eventually, a half-opened window. It really stresses the feeling in the viewer that this story is the story of normal people. Marion is a normal person, but the extraordinary circumstances surrounding her upcoming (or so she hopes) marriage drive her to steal Cassidy's money and flee with it, driving to god-knows-where, down the road to madness. Norman Bates was, presumably, at one time an ordinary person who has turned into a serious psychotic; his mother and her lover grated on his psyche for just too long and he became just an ordinary person pushed over the edge.



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