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A fascinating look at the storyboards that shaped Hitchcock’s Psycho

When even the most serious of movie fans think of the groundbreaking 1960 movie Psycho, they’ll quickly acknowledge Alfred Hitchcock’s masterful skill as a director of suspense. After that they might consider Anthony Perkins’ unnerving performance as the psychotic hotel operator Norman Bates or Bernard Herrmann’s screeching otherworldly score. Maybe they’ll take a moment to recognize the narrative contributions of novelist Robert Bloch or screenwriter Joseph Stefano. Very rarely will graphic designer Saul Bass receive his due for his indispensable input into the film.

The former advertising artist is usually associated with the many iconic opening-credit sequences and posters he created for various films. What he doesn’t usually get as much credit for is the work he did as a storyboard artist for filmmakers like Stanley Kubrick, John Frankenheimer, and Alfred Hitchcock. According to this fascinating video from Eyes On Cinema, it would appear that many sequences in Psycho—including its most notorious and best-remembered—were born on Bass’ drawing table.

“Interestingly enough, the storyboard… that I did for Psycho went precisely as I laid it up, and there was no change on that,” Bass explains in a television interview unearthed by Eyes On Cinema. “And frankly, I myself at that point didn’t even really understand the impact that some of these things would have. I thought it was a neat little murder, and I thought it was pure. I liked its purity. I must say that when it appeared, when I saw the thing in the theater, it really scared the hell outta me. And apparently of everybody else.”


Here are the two sequences discussed in the film above in case anybody wants to see them for a thousandth time in light of this new information.

[via Laughing Squid]

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