Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins) Pitches Janet Leigh (Scarlett Johansson) on the Famous Shower Scene

First we have a film, the 1960 piece — some would say pin­na­cle — of psy­cho­log­i­cal hor­ror, Psy­cho. Then we have a man, Alfred Hitch­cock, Psy­cho’s direc­tor, the famous­ly man­nered but seem­ing­ly trou­bled mas­ter crafts­man of mid­cen­tu­ry cin­e­mat­ic sus­pense. Then we have a book, Stephen Rebel­lo’s Alfred Hitch­cock and the Mak­ing of Psy­cho, which Antho­ny Perkins, who played the psy­cho, called “required read­ing not only for Psy­cho-files, but for any­one inter­est­ed in the back­stage world of movie-cre­ation.” And, next week, we’ll have a new peri­od dra­ma, set dur­ing the pro­duc­tion of the film, based on the book, and cen­tered on the man. It’s impos­si­ble to imag­ine the afi­ciona­do of twen­ti­eth-cen­tu­ry motion pic­tures who would­n’t want to watch Antho­ny Hop­kins take on Hitch­cock’s title role. Behold the brief clip above, where­in Hop­kins-as-Hitch­cock explains to young Janet Leigh how, exact­ly, he plans to shoot the show­er scene, as his wife Alma looks ner­vous­ly on.

You’ll notice, in the roles of Janet Leigh and Alma Reville, two more well-respect­ed per­form­ers, Scar­lett Johans­son and Helen Mir­ren. Indeed, the list of actors involved in Hitchock and that of char­ac­ters they play look equal­ly inter­est­ing: A Seri­ous Man star Michael Stuhlbarg as tal­ent agent Lew Wasser­man, Karate Kid Ralph Mac­chio as screen­writer Joseph Ste­fano, Wal­lace Lang­ham as graph­ic artist and title design­er Saul Bass, and Michael Win­cott as real-life ser­i­al killer Ed Gein. In the clip just above, watch Hitch­cock explain to Alma his insis­tence upon self-financ­ing Psy­cho’s pro­duc­tion after get­ting turned down by Para­mount: “Do you remem­ber the fun we had when we start­ed out, all those years ago?” he asks. “We did­n’t have any mon­ey then, did we? We did­n’t have any time, either, but we took risks, do you remem­ber? We exper­i­ment­ed. We invent­ed new ways of mak­ing pic­tures, because we had to. I just want to feel that kind of free­dom again.” Before see­ing exact­ly how he enjoyed that free­dom again when Hitch­cock comes out on Novem­ber 23rd, be sure to revis­it our posts fea­tur­ing Psy­cho’s tan­ta­liz­ing orig­i­nal trail­er, and the film­mak­er’s own rules for watch­ing the movie.

Relat­ed con­tent:

22 Free Hitch­cock Movies Online

Mar­tin Scors­ese Brings “Lost” Hitch­cock Film to Screen in Short Faux Doc­u­men­tary

François Truffaut’s Big Inter­view with Alfred Hitch­cock (Free Audio)

Hitch­cock on Hap­pi­ness

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall.

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