78/52

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An unprecedented look at the iconic shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock‘s Psycho (1960), the “man behind the curtain”, and the screen murder that profoundly changed the course of world cinema.

Almost 60 years after its release, Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’ continues to generate interest and fascination amongst movie fans, and this latest documentary from Alexandre O. Phillippe feeds into that, positioning the iconic shower scene as the key bridge between the more reserved ‘old’ and the flashier and more violent ‘new’ Hollywood. The documentary narrows in entirely on that particular scene, so for those who are not Hitchcock fans or movie aficionados in general it may prove a little trying, but I found it to be a pretty enjoyable, if slight, watch.

The title of the documentary refers to the number of camera angles and cuts involved in the making of the shower scene and throughout the runtime a series of talking heads explore the techniques used and why they were so effective. The talking heads are an eclectic bunch, ranging from incredibly insightful to ‘what are they doing here’, and that mix undercuts some of the attempts to provide serious commentary on the wider impact of the scene on popular culture and future filmmakers. I particularly enjoyed the anecdotes from those closely involved with the movie in some way, with Janet Leigh’s body double Marli Renfro a fun standout, but a lot of the contributions felt like fanboys espousing their enthusiasm for the film, which is fine but not particularly insightful.

As a big Hitchcock fan I enjoyed finding out more about the making of the scene with much of the analysis helping to elaborate on why it was so effective, and why it is so revered today. Sometimes the analysis offered felt like it was stretching a little, and the series of low budget horror filmmakers added little in the way of worthwhile contribution beyond their enthusiasm for the work, but I did enjoy ‘78/52’ for the most part.

Rating: 3/5

Directed By: Alexandre O. Phillippe

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4372240/

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