Psycho

I spent most of the day preparing for a lecture, which went reasonably well. I thought for a while about the Super Bowl and the traffic snarl that was supposed to delay everybody for four hours. After I returned home, I went over to the record store and bought the Blu-ray edition of “The Life Aquatic.” I headed to the theatre to see the Flashback Feature, “Psycho.” I had seen it many times before, of course, and so I was paying only for the experience of seeing it one more time on a big screen. I was struck this time by how stupidly the characters acted. Marion certainly didn’t know how to talk with that cop. At the used car lot, she kept looking back at him. I wondered why we didn’t see him again. Arbogast didn’t seem to have any idea of the kind of person Norman Bates was. Sam Loomis also didn’t handle Norman too well. Lila didn’t have any sense of the danger that was in front of her. She and Sam shouldn’t have gone to the motel to play detective. What they needed was about twenty or thirty people going there all at once. The man who had the $40,000 in cash was foolish for carrying around that kind of money. Didn’t he have a checking account? Marion’s boss was stupid for trusting her with the money. The shower scene was still incredible, but I always found that shot of Marion with her eyes open very powerful. Did her eye move slightly in that shot? I couldn’t quite be sure. Someone behind me gasped at Arbogast’s last scene. One thing that was not real to me was Lila moving her hand between so that it struck the light bulb. One moment that always gets a laugh from audiences today was Simon Oakland saying “yes and no” when asked about Norman. Hitchcock should have reined him in a bit. I thought about the timeline of the story. The opening of the movie tells us that it’s Friday December 11, and during the course of the story, characters say that a week has passed since Marion’s disappearance. A calendar at the end says that the date is the 17th. Marion’s reactions to Norman were very curious. Some of his comments should have offended her, and she should have left that horrible motel. Her real mistake was not turning around and heading back home after her boss saw her in her car. There was no way in the world that she was going to get anywhere with that money. The used car lot was in Bakersfield, and she seems to drive forever so that you’d think she’d reached the Pacific Ocean. One of the odd things is how when we’re watching all of this how much we care about the money. I couldn’t see how Norman couldn’t notice that the newspaper was too money not to have something in it. Also, it didn’t seem that Lila could have found any pieces of paper that Marion tried to flush down the toilet. That pieces of paper happened to have the number 40,000 on it, too. Bernard Herrmann came up with his most famous music for this score, and it was very effective, of course. I noticed more about it in this viewing because I could hear it so clearly over the theatre’s sound system. Norman handled the questions from Arbogast so badly that I cringed. I don’t see how Arbogast would have been much more suspicious of him going through the Oh, I Remember Now routine. What kind of candy was Norman eating? If taxidermy was Norman’s hobby, he didn’t spend much time doing it, from all appearances. He’s always either arguing with his mother or doing little tasks at the motel. Why didn’t one of the locals notice all the weirdness going on with Norman’s mother? I’d think that with nothing else to do, people would be nosey and come up with something. I could still watch this movie many more times. I can’t even remember the first time I saw it. It had to be more than thirty years ago. I still kept thinking about that $40,000, or the $39,300, rather, during the very last shot. This sure was a different time, when people didn’t know what a transvestite was. The movie got some scattered applause at the end. I still got caught up in the movie during the key scenes. It was eleven o’clock when the movie ended, and I walked on home and got a bit of Johnny Carson with Chevy Chase back in 1988. Chevy was promoting his movie “Funny Farm.” I heard the news that Paul Kantner had died at age 74. I thought that I was hearing far too much about Donald Trump in the morning’s news. Some of the people who died on January 29 include Robert Frost (1963), Alan Ladd (1964), Freddie Prinze (1977), Harold Russell (2002), and Janet Frame (2004). Today is a birthday for Oprah Winfrey (62), Tom Selleck (71), and Katharine Ross (76).

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