78/52

The most famous murder scene in movie history comprises 78 camera settings and 52 cuts: the shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. 78/52 tells the story of the man behind the curtain and his greatest obsession.

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  • ★★★½ review by Caitlin on Letterboxd

    this was Good and the director was there which was Cool and he did a q&a afterwards and that was Nice but enough is enough. I must speak my truth. I would like to know what business Norman Bates had being that hot

  • ★★★★ review by Allison M. on Letterboxd

    Pretty good documentary that explores the "shower scene" in Hitchcock's Psycho within the context of his films and others'.

    There were a ton of things I hadn't thought of before, including the fight scene in Raging Bull was staged like the shower scene in Psycho.

    Really, you have people from Peter Bogdanovitch to Elijah Wood talking about the scene as well as the editor from the Psycho remake.

    Overall, a great film for anyone remotely interested in Hitchcock or Psycho.

    Vegan POV: a non meat eater describes how they stabbed a raw steak as well as melons combining both to create the sound effects for the shower scene. The non meat eater said it made him feel nauseous to talk about.

  • ★★★½ review by Matt Singer on Letterboxd

    Prepare to be drowned in Psycho minutia. Full review at ScreenCrush.

  • ★★★★★ review by Disgustipated on Letterboxd

    Despite loving films, I have never been one to listen to commentaries, watch "making of" documentaries or check out other special features. My mate reckons I am missing out on a wealth of experience and that I am crazy for not checking them out. But he is a filmmaker, in some ways it is his job to be across these kinds of things. Sometimes I would argue that when learning the guitar as a teenager, I would sometimes practice a piece of music so much that the magic of listening to it would evaporate. It was as though every time my fingers traced out the sheet music across the fretboard the curtain would be pulled back just a little bit more. But that cant be the whole truth because I love to talk and write about movies. So, I dunno.

    Whatever the case, my dearth of experience with such artefacts has left me open to experiencing this film with wide-eyed exuberance. Who would have guessed that a ninety minute talking heads documentary about a three minute sequence in Hitchcock's Psycho would be so damned gripping. I was absolutely fascinated about how closely people can watch a film. Pulling back the (shower) curtain and taking to it with a (kitchen) knife, they examine every little piece of it to the nth degree. They couldn't have been more thorough except maybe to trace the trajectory of every drop of water that came out of the shower head.

    The way that a performer shifts their gaze at a crucial moment of tonal shift, the signifiance of a painting in the mise-en-scene, the sheer simplicity of the striking score, the negative space in the frame that becomes a canvas for suspense, the leitmotifs that are fine-tuned from Hitchcock's silent films to this moment, the way that a body double felt about being carried out of the bathroom like a deadweight, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc. I mean wow! It is incredible how much there is to unpack in one small moment. It is almost exhausting. In someways I feel somewhat chastened, as though my own attention to detail and my depth of interpretation are severely lacking. But one of the assets of this film is that it is comprised of the sum of many great contributors from Jamie Lee Curtis, Danny Elfmann to Guillermo Del Toro.

    So, now that the curtain has been pulled back all the way, has the magic gone? Well, I watched Psycho again almost straight away. The answer is a big, "Hell, no!". In fact, there was a little extra bit more of a zing during that scene than I felt before. Oh my god, that devastating shot where the camera rotates on Janet Leigh's lifeleless eyes... super intense!

  • ★★★★ review by Mr. DuLac on Letterboxd

    Murder was now going to be an acceptible part of entertainment.

    The shower scene in Psycho took seven days to film, consists of 78 shots, 52 cuts and lasts about 3 minutes. If you're like me the only question you have concerning a documentary dedicated to this is "Why is it only 90 minutes long?"

    Everyone from actors, directors, editors, composers (you name it) weigh in on the making of, impact and cultural significance of those 3 minutes.

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