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Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho by Stephen Rebello {Excerpt; Filming}

Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho by Stephen Rebello {Excerpt; Filming}

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Published by OpenRoadMedia

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Published by: OpenRoadMedia on Mar 11, 2013
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09/29/2013

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7.Shooting
Production #9401, Hitchcock’s“Thirty
-
Day Picture”
 
ON NOVEMBER 11, 1959, HITCHCOCK CAPTURED
thefirst footage for 
 Psycho.
He borrowed a crew fromhis previous TV production, #13599, to shoot
 photographic tests
of Anthony Perkins. Althoughthe nature of these tests was left unspecified ondaily production sheets, it is likely that they mayhave entailed shots of Perkins as Mother, the onlyout-of-the-ordinary costume requirement for theactor in the entire picture.Script supervisor Marshall Schlom, son of RKO B-movie unit producer Herman Schlom,recalled the unceremonious beginning of  production. He said,
All of us who regularly didhis TV shows went straight from three days of that,then, the next morning, we started the movie withhim. We never really got any idea of what wasgoing to happen.
 Fourteen days later, Hitchcock and his crewtrekked to Fresno and Bakersfield, California, for several days, where they shot footage on Highway99 that was to be used for the forty-nine process
 
 plates necessary for the car trip of the heroine.Hitchcock planned to stylize that sequence heavily,and the plan was to accomplish all of it by the process of rear projection. (By contrast, Hitchcock 
s previous picture,
 North by Northwest,
had requiredseveral hundred process shots and his next,
The Birds,
would require 412.) Simultaneously, a secondunit spent nearly a week on locations in Phoenix,Arizona. Four of those days were spent on attemptsto capture the helicopter shots approaching a hotelwindow that were to be used in the openingmoments of the film. According to a scribble foundon a production sheet, Hitchcock was amused by anotion of screenwriter Stefano to sweep theviewer 
 — 
almost as if he were to become a fly on thewall
 — 
into the hotel room window to spy on Samand Marion, post-tryst.In a squib that appeared in
Variety
onDecember 27, 1959, Hitchcock boasted that the filmwould
open with the longest dolly shot ever attempted by helicopter,
a
four-mile scene
thatwould even top the bravura dolly with which OrsonWelles opened
Touch of Evil.
However, the problems of the second-unit crew in capturing theaerial footage were extensive, and most
 Psycho
crew members concur that little of Hitchcock 
soriginal intention was to come off in the finalmovie.
That was done before we ever had Tyler mounts or knew much about helicopter shots,
 observed script supervisor Marshall Schlom.

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