Fox Searchlight Pictures, Cold Spring Pictures, The Montecito Picture Company,
Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, Danny Huston, Toni Collette, Michael Stuhlbarg, Michael Wincott, Jessica Biel, James D’Arcy, Ralph Macchio, Kurtwood Smith, Richard Portnow
This biopic is about Alfred Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins) and his wife Alma (Helen Mirren) and is set in 1959. Alfred has run low on ideas, and the studios are trying to force him into directing pictures that are really way too mainstream for Hitch. Meantime, he hears about a new book, a work of fiction based upon the life of serial killer Ed Gein and decides this novel has to be his next picture. The studio disagrees, so Hitch sets out to do the picture on his own, waiving his director’s fee, and paying the entire $800,000 budget on his own.
Anthony Hopkins does a great job portraying Alfred Hitchcock, one of my favorite directors of all time. This is just a small slice of the life of Hitch, and hardly mentions all the stuff that happened before this, with his British career, which was awesome, and by the time period of this film, Hitch is old. Most people think he ought to just retire, but he’s having none of that. It also was a time when his wife and partner got really tired of his stubbornness and failure to listen to her, so it is also a bad time for their marriage. Psycho is arguably Hitch’s best film, and it is a very interesting time when he redefined himself and horror cinema at the same time. Since Paramount had no plans to promote this debacle, Hitch did the promotion himself and developed some interesting methods of setting the buzz for this film in motion. As such, lines were huge, and the film earned over 33 million despite it’s $800,000 budget and no studio help promoting this film.
Warning! If you haven’t seen Psycho, the DON’T watch this film until you’ve seen it. Psycho is a very unique film and definitely one not to miss, but watching Hitchcock first will completely spoil the film as it gives away huge spoilers in the plot. This film also debunks several of the myths that surrounded the making of the film. Helen Mirren’s role as Alma, Hitch’s wife, is very well done too. This woman was his muse and he could never have done what he did without her, but she must have had to endure a lot keeping him happy. We’re watching the making of Psycho, so several other key characters have a lot to do in this film. Janet Leigh is played by Scarlett Johansson, one of the weak point of the film. Hopkins is much more Hitchcock than Scarlett is Janet Leigh, but she does at least look a bit like her. Jessica Biel is here too, as actress Vera Miles who played Janet’s sister in Psycho.
All in all, this film shows us a lot of the genius that was Hitchcock, and it is very entertaining. I’ve always been a fan of his work, but now I feel like I know the man a lot better. He was a complex man who has many facets, and this helps us get to know a lot more about him. The scene of Hitchcock watching Psycho in a theater with a packed audience is very touching and one of my favorite moments of the film. Though he was a genius, like all of us, he was very insecure and just couldn’t risk joining the audience, though their reaction meant the world to him.
This is a beautiful movie, and captures Hollywood of 1959-60 perfectly. I really enjoyed this film, and recommend it for anyone who is at all interested in either Psycho or Alfred Hitchcock. It’s a wonderful movie.
EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog
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