Psycho (1960) is another awesome movie directed by Alfred Hitchcock. While watching, in about the first 10 minutes, I came up with some questions: “What do the title and opening credit design have to do with the movie as a whole?” “Why would Hitchcock spell the numbers out in the beginning?” “Why is the boss’s office air-conditioned, but not the lobby where the girls work?” And the off question of, “When did self-adhering stamps become reality?” The stamp question has an easy answer: 1947. We were asked in my film class what the similarities are between this film and Notorious (1946) as well. So the first question asks what the moving and interlocking lines to form words depict from the movie. I think that they could be showing something about parallels because of the way they go across the screen. It could be showing that Bates has gotten away with murdering many people and each murder happens the same way.
I looked up what other people thought the opening could show and found an article on “Art of the Title”. The author, Ben Radatz, had a similar opinion saying that the lines had “a parallel visual tension to the film that tells the audience everything they need to know about the plot”. I’m not sure if I completely agree with him, at least knowing what I know (he may be an expert, while I am not). I can see the parallel tension part in that sometimes a person may get afraid that the lines are going to run into each other, like in the movie where maybe you get concerned that someone will walk in while Bates is cleaning up a murder.
The second question I asked was why the numbers were spelled out instead of numerical. I think that, at least nowadays, we mostly write the date with the numbers and not the spelling. It adds a sort of tension or rather, confusion of the audience. It made me a little weirded out to read the spelling of the words instead of seeing the number. The other question about the air conditioning, probably revolves around some sort of sexism from the boss. But the boss seems to trust the women and like them, so why not give them air conditioning? I thought it was a strange detail to have in the movie, and I know that Hitchcock likes to have everything with a significance, but I cannot pinpoint the significance of this.
Now the question of the relations between Psycho (1960) and Notorious (1946). The stairs are in both of the movies and it appears as though bad or wrong things tend to be upstairs, and people tend to fall down them. In Notorious and Psycho, the mother figure stays upstairs, and in the cellar is where things are hidden. Another thing that I have not analyzed yet is the bird imagery. Norman, in the beginning, is surrounded by dead and stuffed birds, and then pictures of birds (as well as, I think, naked women). The birds tended to be carnivorous birds that kill things, such as owls and crows. I think they mirror Norman in that they pose pretty, but are very murderous creatures. I am glad though that he didn’t literally stuff his mother like a taxidermy bird.
I like the correlations and the style of Hitchcock because there is so much to analyze and I never find myself bored.