Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious
or boastful or arrogant 5or rude. It does not insist
on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful
1 Cor. 13:4-5
If the superb Helen Mirren and Anthony Hopkins aren’t enough to get you to come out to this film, then maybe the fascinating story of Alfred Hitchcock’s making the classic horror film Psycho against the wishes of the head of his studio will convince you to see it. This is a (largely) true story with such themes as artistic integrity, long-suffering love, jealousy, and reconciliation.
Despite criticism from those who know the real story of the making of Psycho, this is an intriguing tale of how a husband and a wife overcame their differences and prevented what could have been another story of a Hollywood divorce. The image of the director with the roving eye for his leading lady is more positive than the in the recent cable film The Girl, that focused more narrowly on the director’s unsuccessful wooing of actress Tippi Hedrin. Also Hitchcock’s long suffering wife, writer Alma Reville (Mirren) takes a more prominent place in the story, she being depicted as stepping onto the set and virtually saving Psycho when the ill director was confined by his doctor to his bed. There is also posited a potential romance between Alma and writer Whitfield Cook (Danny Huston) when, during an especially stressful period in her relationship with her husband, she meets with him numerous times to help him with his troubled script.
Director Sacha Gervasi was not allowed access to the still standing Norman Bates mansion, which is too bad—nor was he allowed to use any clips from the infamous shower scene. We wish for more details on the making of the horror film, but what we are shown indicates that the director was indeed ruthless in getting his actors and actresses to perform in the way he wanted. Thus we have been given more of a film on reconciliation than on moving making, but this is enough to make it worth seeing. Hitchcock is another good film to add to the list of movies about movies, such as Singing in the Rain, The Player, or Sunset Boulevard.
1. How would you describe Alfred Hitchcock’s character as depicted in this film? Is he a people person, or a task-oriented person? What incidents show his ruthlessness?
2. Compare Alma to her husband. Were you aware of her many abilities and contributions to her husband’s films? What qualities contrast to those of her husband? How does she better conform to the apostle Paul’s description of love in 1 Corinthians?
3. How does Hitchcock show his artistic integrity? What do you think of his encounter with the board of censors?
4. When he treated Alma so poorly, did you hope for a come-uppance? How was what did happen more satisfying?