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on 5 December 2013
If you are new to Hitchcock's Psycho then this book offers a good introduction to the film and it's meanings as only Thomson can elucidate. He is the best critic in the business afterall and his analysis and insight is spot-on. However the book is actually quite short and a little light for what would originally have been £15 for the hardback. Also if you are a follower of Thomson's writing then you might be disappointed because he doesnt add much to what he has previously said in his other books and weekly columns. Finally, I'm not persuaded by the overarching idea that Psycho is where our love of murder all began. So, i've mixed feelings but an enjoyable read nonetheless.
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on 9 April 2010
Forget the brutal murder in the shower - Psycho was controversial enough simply by being the first film to feature a flushing lavatory!

In this entertaining meditation on the film which changed everything - including a convincing case argued that it has influenced just about every major movie made since - we are invited to consider the impact of a thriller (horror film? The choice is yours) which was the high water mark of Alfred Hitchcock's career and which scared everyone else senseless, much to Hitch's amusement.

Full of juicy detail but urgent and unpretentious, this short discourse is almost as readable as the film is watchable. I wasn't born in 1960 and so its impact at the time of its release I can only leave for others - like David Thomson - to assess, but I remember the first time I watched it... on TV with the lights out. No other film has seemed remotely scary since.

The author (and, of course, the late director) would understand.
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on 10 August 2013
I love all Hitchcock films and purchase all the biographies on him. Did not rate the recent TV movie about him.
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on 17 December 2014
on my son's must have list, so it must be good
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on 28 August 2010
Remembering the original review from the Daily Express, I find it interesting to see this paper completely contradicting itself 50 years later, as quoted in the book's product description.
That the paper was (and probably still is) unfit to block up a motel lavatory bowl can be gauged by its incessant moralising and hypocrisy about anything it deemed to be unsuitable for the breakfast tables of England.
Reviewing Psycho in 1960, the paper's film critic, Rene MacColl wrote: "one of the most vile and disgusting films ever made. Now look here, Maestro Hitchcock, just what is the game?.....a sad prostitution of talent."
There were of course other execrable reviews but The Express had considerable influence over the nation's morals back then, and I remember this one so vividly because my aunt got hold of the paper and told my uncle, a former Indian army colonel, that he shouldn't bother reading about anything so "sordid."
Another review, telling people to avert their eyes, asserted that the film was "scraping the bottom of the psychiatric barrel" .....so no change over fifty years then for the Daily Mail.
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on 19 June 2010
A small but detailed book looking at the impact of Psycho on cinema and a look at what was involved in filming it....
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