Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Psycho (50th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray]
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Alfred Hitchcock guarded the plot of PSYCHO against publicity, and in 1960 audiences came to the film without being able to anticipate the unexpected twists and turns of the plot. More than forty years later, the movie's fame is such that even those who have not seen it are often able to sketch the basic outline of the story in a few words. This demonstrates the film's fame; what demonstrates it quality, however, is the fact that even those who know the plot before seeing it are seldom disappointed.

Very loosely based on Robert Bloch's pulp novel, which was itself very loosely based on killer Ed Gein, PSYCHO presents us with the tale of Marion Crane (Janet Leigh)--who, in a moment of madness, steals forty-thousand dollars. Running scared, Marion checks into the out-of-the-way Bates Motel. And there, as the DVD production notes gracefully state, she becomes the most grossly inconvenienced hotel guest in cinema history.

The late 1950s and early 1960s saw a deluge of low budget and badly made films that commanded box office business via tawdry subject matter, and according to lore director Alfred Hitchcock was curious to see what might happen if he himself made such a film--but made it well. Working with a remarkable script and gifted cast and crew, the result was a masterpiece. Although it is often described as a horror film, PSYCHO is less horror than it is a study in paranoia and suspense, and certainly a lesson in the fact that one need not bother with graphic gore or big budgets to impress audiences.

Much of the film's success is in its detail. Joseph Stephano's script is memorable for its repetition of verbal motifs and its extremely disquieting tone; Bernard Herrman's famous all-strings score builds tremendously upon it. The simple yet meticulous sets communicate building unease, and the strangely flat, semi-documentary black and white cinematography has a voyeuristic edge that is extremely disturbing.

There are elements that can be justly criticized--moments at which the script sounds a false note or characterizations seem a bit artificial--but these small points fade against the overall power of Hitchcock's vision, a vision that here makes viewers squirm even when there seems nothing tangible on screen to squirm about. But in the end, this is the film for which Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, and John Gavin will forever be remembered... and one of the several films that will forever be associated with one of the twentieth century's most masterful directors.

This DVD largely restores PSYCHO to its original form. Although the first few minutes of the print show wear and tear, for the most part it is remarkably pristine and (after years of pan and scan television broadcasts) is returned to its original ratio. While there is no audio commentary track, the DVD package includes the original trailer with Alfred Hitchcock, extensive production notes, and an extremely impressive documentary that includes numerous interviews, newsreel footage, production photographs, storyboards, and the like. Even if you have the film on VHS, you'll likely want to purchase the DVD. Strongly recommended.

GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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on June 16, 2011
As always it is necessary to say what (which?) edition you are reviewing due to Amazon's policy of lumping all reviews of the movie in one batch.

The 50th Anniversary Blu Ray edition is wonderful. The special features make up the majority of this package because the original film (which looks great in Blu Ray) is very short. The Special Features include a long documentary on the making of the film and then lots of shorter detailed stuff, trailers, etc.

Psycho was made when Hitchcock was at the height of his Television career and it was his last film at Paramount. He wanted very much to do this after seeing a review of Robert Bloch's book and then reading the book. He wanted to make it for less than $1,000,000 (which was still a lot in those days) so he did it with his Television crew. He also to have at least one big star in it. Janet Leigh agreed to make the film without seeing a screenplay or even knowing what they would pay her; Hitchcock was so big in those days actors would do most anything to work with him. Anthony Perkins, who was not as big but still a major star, had agreed to do the film with as little information. In my opinion Perkins should have at least been nominated for an Oscar (he did receive the Best Actor Award from the International Board of Motion Picture Reviewers) for Psycho, but there you go.

The film is about as 'bare bones' as it gets. Hitchcock made films for the public and did not care much what critics or 'film makers' thought. He wanted, more than anything, to have people enjoy his films.

Even though you know what's going to happen and the 'surprise' ending this film is still a hoot to watch. I still jumped at all the right moments and was very pleased at the end. I watched and enjoyed all the features; even the ones that are a bit repetitive. Highly recommended.
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on January 20, 2005
This film is a great masterpiece of filmmaking! Perfect in every sense. It is Anthony Perkin's masterpiece as well....no other character in film history makes you cringe yet feel sorry for at the same time. It takes a special talent to do that and why he didn't get nominated for the Oscar much less win will never be understood!! Just as Vivien Leigh will always be Scarlett O'Hara, Judy Garland will always be Dorothy, Anthony Perkins will always be Norman Bates.

The rest of the cast is outstanding as well...notably Janet Leigh as the doomed Marion Crane. She deserved her Oscar nomination for her performance.

The DVD is loaded with a dandy of an extra "The Making of Psycho" plus additional trailers and bonus materials that make this edition well worth owning. Even without the extras though, this film would still be a masterpiece thanks to Hitchock, Stefano's screenplay, and Perkins' unparalleled acting!
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on November 25, 2010
On my 50" plasma this blu-ray is stunning to look at. It was almost like seeing "Psycho" again for the first time. It has been years since I've seen it in a theater, but this is one of the few discs I've ever seen that made me feel like a movie couldn't possibly have looked better than it does now. The picture on this blu-ray is state of the art and a pleasure to watch.

I do have one quibble and I realize that a lot of people are not going to agree with me on this. I highly recommend watching this movie with the original mono soundtrack. The 5.1 soundtrack is the aural equivalent of colorization. I am not completely opposed to punched up soundtracks. I have heard some that are subtle and effective, but not this one.
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on October 14, 2011
Alfred Hitchcock's horror classic has never looked better than on this spectacular Blu-ray release from Universal. It looks like it could have been made yesterday. I owned this originally on VHS tape and then DVD, and this version is leaps and bounds ahead of those previous home video releases in terms of quality. The black-and-white image on the Blu-ray is solid, and the 5.1 Dolby surround sound enhances greatly the musical score and sound effects. For purists, the original mono soundtrack is included.

You can't go wrong with "Psycho." It was fun showing it to some of the younger ones in my family who knew nothing about it. Now, if Universal could get around to finally releasing Hitchcock's "The Birds" on Blu-ray (it's been available for pre-order now for over a year), things would be great. Also looking forward to Blu-ray releases of "Vertigo" and "Rear Window." Come to think of it, I'm looking forward to Blu-ray releases of all Hitchcock's classics. Would love to get my hands on a 3D Blu-ray of "Dial M for Murder." And some of the older ones like "Rebecca," "Lifeboat," and "Notorious" would be nice, too.
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on December 1, 2015
My friend was absolutely aghast when I admitted that I'd never seen this, so we sat down on the couch, and rented it from Amazon.

So... just to be clear, I watched this in 2015 for the first time - in my late 30s - knowing very little about the movie (other than the sound and imagery associated with the infamous shower scene, and the name "Norman Bates"). That said, I'm happy to report that this does hold up pretty well, even today. Toward the end, I was trying to guess where the film was going, plot-wise, and I was able to get pretty close, but I wasn't able to get every detail right. That alone left me impressed. I mean... this movie is 55 years old at this point, and it still kept me guessing to some small degree. Also, it's well shot and acted for the time as well.

If you're like me, and you've never really sat down to give this movie a serious viewing, I recommend doing so.
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on February 23, 2012
Have you ever thought about upgrading a title in your movie collection because the newer version was remastered better? What about the extra features---like the commentary, background about the movie or director, outtakes, longer scenes, choosing of the cast members, etc?

I have to admit that PSYCHO was one of 5 Alfred Hitchcock Films I've never gotten tired of. But this current version is in a class by itself. IT'S EXCELLENT!

A great digital transfer has cleaned up this nearly 60 year old film!
Start by watching the famous Hitchcock Trailer and the reissue trailer. How many of you reading this knew that they concluded with Vera Miles in the shower and not Janet Leigh? Once you've seen the restored version---continue on Disc 1 to Newsreel Footage about the Grand Premiere with Sir Alfred and members of the cast. There are 2 segments concerning the shower scene, posters, theatrical notes and quite a bit of behind-the-scenes info. You might want to revisit the film a 2nd time for Stephen Rebello's excellent commentary? [Stephen wrote the book: "Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of 'Psycho'"].

Disc 2 Begins with an excellent documentary on "The Making of Psycho". This is followed by "The Hitchcock Legacy", and one of the 30 minute 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents' entitled "Lamb To The Slaughter" which stars Barbara Bel Geddes. Even though I figured out the ending before the show was over, it proves that a good script, cast and direction never go out of style. [The cars in the episode are the one exception]. The only supplemental feature that I felt was weak was the interchange between Sir Alfred and Director, Francois Truffault. Hearing each others questions and answers through an interpretor became very annoying after awhile. Granted they both were legendary, but I found their interchange VERY DULL! Personally, I wish TCM & Universal had skipped this entire segment and given us a 2nd (or 3rd) Alfred Hitchcock Episode instead?

Overall...I liked it--especially the DVD cover shot of the creepy house behind the sign: BATES MOTEL! Booooooo!
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on October 18, 2013
I love most of Alfred Hitchcock movies, but this is his most famous and scary one of all. Think of the most vulnerable place a person can be, the shower. An isolated hotel, a guy who is a few shy of a six-pack and his best friend is his mother-CHECK PLEASE. The first time I saw it was when I was really young in the 70's. This movie has it all suspense, horror, and a naive girl who has no idea what she is in for. I just know when my mom saw it, she took baths for 2 weeks after seeing it. If you haven't seen this movie you are missing a classic horror flick the re-make is nothing compared to the original. I guarentee you will not be disapointed after seeing it, but you will become a little more cautious.

THX,
Kris L. CocKayne
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on May 20, 2011
Although not my favourite Hitchcock movie (that would be North by Northwest (50th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Book)) fans of this his great thriller will be very happy indeed with this blu-ray transfer which has now become the definitive and best version of the movie that is currently out there. In addition to very good special feature documentaries we get a very good 1080p picture quality transfer and an even better DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround sound quality as well albeit there is really little surround sound to appreciate from this mostly front-heavy sonic source material but still both picture and sound quality far exceed the dvd version that I previously owned.

The problem with whodunnit's and thrillers like this though is that the original scare value and hence appreciation of the film drops off substantially once you know the ending and unless you are a film student having to write a paper on the film or a budding director trying to learn Hitchcockian technique most casual viewers may struggle to find great rewards from repeated viewing well at least that's the case for me. There is no doubting that this is a great classic and is essential viewing if you haven't already seen it and if that's the case this blu-ray release is currently the best way to do this. Although I've watched this a few times I can still see myself revisiting this film from time to time although not as regularly and with great anticipation as I do for other films that I do so annually such as Lawrence of Arabia,The Godfather - The Coppola Restoration Giftset (The Godfather / The Godfather Part II / The Godfather Part III) [Blu-ray], Dr. Strangelove [Blu-ray] and especially 2001: A Space Odyssey [Blu-ray] among several others that I seem to be amply rewarded with each subsequent viewing.

Great content, great picture and sound quality as well as special features makes this an easy review.

Highly recommended!
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on November 12, 2007
"Psycho" still holds up today because of a brilliant script, outstanding performances, top-notch direction, and a host of perfectly aligned elements that produced a masterpiece that is often copied, but never duplicated.

This film simply had everything going for it from eerie set designs to a gripping score, and from careful and clever photography to insightful characterizations. Hitchcock created believable characters that we care about in unbelievable circumstances that scare us because as unbelievable as the situations appear, there is still the element of "yeah, but it could happen." Sadly, in reality, events like this have happened as much as we so often can't believe the facts when we hear them (anyone remember Jeffery Dalhmer [sp]?).

The classic story of "Psycho" takes place mostly at a run-down motel next to a Gothic home that houses a socially inept momma's boy and his clingy demanding mother who sees no woman as good enough for her "boy" seems surreal, but somehow still possible. This psychological slasher film offers so much more than a lone deranged killer hacking away at unsuspecting victims. Here Norman Bates, an Oscar worthy performance by Anthony Perkins, falls for Marion Crane, played with great subtly by the stunning Janet Leigh (mother of Jamie Lee Curtis whom she co-starred with in the original The Fog), who has just robbed her boss and is now having second thoughts and using the Bates Motel to stop and rethink her actions. Norman's infatuation with Marion disturbs his controlling mother who later "visits" Leigh in one of horrorland's most thrilling and disturbing moments on film. Clever camera work and inspired direction go with the "less is more" approach that fools us into thinking we are seeing more than we actually are and we are happy to have it that way.

What follows is a great psychological thriller/mystery as the first victim's lover, her sister, the local sheriff, and a private detective attempt to figure out just what is going on at the Bates Motel. While the body count is nothing in comparison to today's slice and dice horror flicks, the killings in this film are nerve-shattering even by today's standards. The disorienting camera angles enhance every frame of this film that is years ahead of its time.

Unlike the slasher films of today with a crazed killer with no real identity to speak of and an even further detachment from reality or plausibility than anything in this film and a series of victims we care even less about than the killer, "Psycho" offers us sadly sympathetic victims and a villain much like the one in "The Phantom of the Opera." We are touched as much as revolted by the killer(s?) in this film. This is a thriller with surprising depth and insight.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention the terrific and all too brief moment with the psychologist in the film played by the always reliable and believable Simon Oakland (Lt. Shrank in West Side Story and Kolchak's harried boss in the short-lived TV-series Kolchak - The Night Stalker). You can't help but wish he had more screen time. He gives a brief but memorable moment in this film that many remember as much as the infamous shower scene.

SIDE NOTE: The much later sequels during the 1980's, Psycho II / Psycho III / Psycho IV - The Beginning (Triple Feature), to this masterpiece are actually not that bad and worth a viewing, including the remake, Psycho, that is a nearly shot for shot repeat of the original only in color and with more contemporary actors for today's audience. Do any of these films actually hold up in comparison to the original? Absolutely not, but by themselves and in comparison to most sequels, they are fairly good.
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