Friday, November 23, 2012
It goes without saying that the most famous shower scene in
cinema history is the stabbing scene in
(USA 1960), by the legendary auteur Alfred
Hitchcock. However, even there were the-making-of type
of materials on a DVD disc back then, it would not have told
many inside stories about this shower scene, and certainly
it would not have been an intimate story about the great
director. Wait no more. An entertaining new
(USA 2012 | 92 min.), directed
Gervasi, not only tells plenty behind-the-scene stories
but more remarkably, it sheds new light into the personal
life of the "master of suspense."
In 1959, riding the wave of a tremendous success of his thriller "North by Northwest," Alfred Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins) begins to search for his next project. He asks: "what if somebody really good to make a horror picture?" His observant eyes rests on a book called "Psycho." He takes it on and orders his staff to purchase every copy they can find in bookstores. Hardly anybody is enthusiastic about the dark subject, not even his often supportive wife Alma Reville (Helen Mirren). Paramount doesn't want to finance the film, so Alfred Hitchcock puts his own home down to back the film's production.
Meanwhile, Alma is pursuing a screen writing project of her own with a flirtatious writer friend Whitfield Cook (Danny Huston). While she doesn't appreciate Alfred's attention to his blond leads such as Janet Leigh (Scarlett Johansson) and Vera Miles (Jessica Biel), her collaboration with Whitfield also makes Alfred uneasy.
Despite the friction and obstacles during the production of "Psycho," Alfred and Alma draw strength from their enduring love to complete the film. The famous shower scene becomes history and makes the audience to scream for generations.
Even Anthony Hopkins remarkably resembles Alfred Hitchcock on the big screen, at first, I still see a fine actor under a heavy makeup, instead of the great director. But gradually, with his calm voice and calibrated movements, Anthony Hopkins disappears into his character—the commanding, humorous, charming, determined, and brilliant film icon who is found of drinking and beautiful women.
Helen Mirren also gives a marvelous performance as Alma who is not content living in the shadow of the most famous director in the world—Alma wants to nurture her own creative work. Yet, she is the unshakable supporter of her husband and his project. Helen Mirren vividly expresses the delicate balance Alma tries to strike.
If it's true, it is fascinating for the film to show that even Alfred can have self-doubt moments about his own work, despite that he seems always to have his vision and to be in absolutely control. He even orchestras his own market campaign for the opening of "Psycho" and conducts the audience's responses like a true master.
More than half century later after "Psycho" is released, this entertaining film brings Alfred Hitchcock, a cinema giant, back to life. It also tells a story about his lesser known personal life with his beloved wife, and re-energizes Hitchcock's most successful work.