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The Moment of Psycho How Alfred Hitchcock Taught America to Love Murder (Hardcover)

Author:  David Thomson
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The Moment of Psycho Thomson, David 1 of 1

Learn more about The Moment of Psycho:

Format: Hardcover
ISBN-10: 0465003397
ISBN-13: 9780465003396
Sku: 211285828
Publish Date: 11/1/2009
Pages:  183
Age Range:  22 to UP
Film critic Thomson situates "Psycho" in Alfred Hitchcock''s career, recreating the mood and time when the seminal film erupted onto film screens worldwide. Thomson shows that "Psycho" was not just a sensation in film: it altered the very nature of film.
From the Publisher:
A leading film critic evaluates the creation and legacy of the iconic Hitchcock horror movie, explaining its influence in shaping American culture and changing the ways in which the industry meets demands for movie entertainment. By the author of Biographical Dictionary of Film.
It was made like a television movie, and completed in less than three months. It killed off its star in forty minutes. There was no happy ending. And it offered the most violent scene to date in American film, punctuated by shrieking strings that seared the national consciousness. Nothing like Psycho had existed before; the movie industry—even America itself—would never be the same.

In The Moment of Psycho, film critic David Thomson situates Psycho in Alfred Hitchcock’s career, recreating the mood and time when the seminal film erupted onto film screens worldwide. Thomson shows that Psycho was not just a sensation in film: it altered the very nature of our desires. Sex, violence, and horror took on new life. Psycho, all of a sudden, represented all America wanted from a film—and, as Thomson brilliantly demonstrates, still does.

David Thomson, one of the most distinguished film scholars of all time, suggests that the seminal shower scene from Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 film PSYCHO irrevocably altered the trajectory of film, eventually leading to the saturation of cinematic sex and violence which pervades the screen today. While there had certainly been plenty of violence in movies prior to PSYCHO, Hitchcock used a masterful blend of cinematography, editing, and sound to transform the murder of Marion Crane into a visceral event which slashed its way into the collective conscience of audiences everywhere. Thomson contextualizes Hitchcock's landmark film within the historical shifts which were just beginning at the time it was made, analyzes the fascinating logistics of how the shower scene was created, and makes a convincing case that this extraordinary film forever changed what audiences desired from a movie.


"[T]hought-provoking....Though readers may not agree with all of Mr. Thomson's arguments here, he makes a powerful--and sometimes surprising--case for...[PSYCHO's] importance in film and cultural history....[He] does a deft job in this volume of reappraising Hitchcock's work, even as he deconstructs PSYCHO and its complex cinematic legacy." - Michiko Kakutani 12/18/2009

"PSYCHO, in Thomson's estimation, is Hollywood's brilliantly creative primal sin, opening the floodgates to five decades of unabashed reveling in murder, mayhem, and disorder....But as he astutely grasps, the story of PSYCHO is as much about the moments that followed as the film itself. PSYCHO's bombshell has been continually going off for half a century; every time we leap out of our seats with fear - or fail to be similarly moved by genuine horror." - Saul Austerlitz 12/20/2009

"You have to be a little crazy to read as much into PSYCHO as David Thomson does....[He] isn't really crazy of course, just knowledgeable. His vast storehouse is on full display here...[He is] doing what serious film critics do: dissecting movies the way a coroner probes a corpse, piling far more import onto them than their creators ever intended. And in the best parts of the microanalysis stretch of the book, he is deliciously eloquent..." - Neil Genzlinger 01/24/2010

Product Attributes

Product attributeeBooks:   Kobo
Product attributeBook Format:   Hardcover
Product attributeMinimum Age:   18
Product attributeNumber of Pages:   0183
Product attributePublisher:   Basic Books (AZ)
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