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'Psycho' Analyzed

November 08, 1998

I feel $8 richer after reading about the "re-creation" of "Psycho" ("Feeling Nostalgic, Mother?" by Patrick Goldstein, Oct. 25).

Gus Van Sant is blazing new trails in noncreative filmmaking. No film school or imagination required. Just pop in a DVD of the movie you're copying and tell your actors and cameraman, "Do it just like that."


Cathedral City


Surely the only distinction Van Sant can claim is in orchestrating the industry's most expensive colorization project yet. How disheartening that artists of achievement and repute are taking part in this arrogant appropriation of other artists' creative efforts.


West Hollywood


Contrary to the hype that Universal and Van Sant are remaking "Alfred Hitchcock's' 'Psycho,' " they aren't--they're remaking Robert Bloch's "Psycho." It was Bloch who wrote the book, created Norman Bates, the Bates Motel, and killed off the presumed heroine early in the story, in the shower where we would all feel most vulnerable.

All true "Psycho" aficionados would do well to read Bloch's sequel, and leave the classic film version a classic.




Hitchcock would probably roll over in his grave to have seen the two "comparison" photos in Calendar. There it was, right in the Bates Motel window between Vince Vaughn and Anne Heche: the Discover Card sign.

Hmmmmmmm. Updated realism, or '90s product placement? Will it be Dove or Ivory in the shower scene? Can't wait.


South Pasadena


The original has hardly remained inviolable over the years. Universal has spawned a handful of "Psycho" sequels--most starring Tony Perkins--and at least one laughably bad TV movie, "The Bates Motel."

If Hitchcock's masterpiece can survive these efforts unscathed, what does it possibly have to fear from a filmmaker as good as Van Sant?


Rancho Cucamonga


At least half a dozen of the AFI Top 100 list were remakes. Sometimes, the remake is more well-known than the original ("Ben-Hur," "Wizard of Oz," "Maltese Falcon").


Signal Hill


Goldstein credits Raymond Chandler for taking the detective story "out of the drawing room and into the mean streets. . . ." Chandler himself, in an essay titled "The Simple Art of Murder," used these very words referring to Dashiell Hammett.




This is not the first time a director has made a shot-for-shot copy of an older film. The first major one was the 1952 Richard Thorpe remake of the 1937 "The Prisoner of Zenda." Same exact script, camera angles, even the music. (Alfred Newman's original score was just "adapted" to fit the newer version. Says so in the 1952 film's credits!)


Los Angeles


We'll be able to tell if the makers of the new "Psycho" are hell-bent on re-creating the original in the first 10 seconds: If it starts with a Universal logo, then a Paramount logo, then they mean it. Many people have forgotten that "Psycho" was originally a Paramount release, the last film of Hitchcock's Paramount contract.



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