The Secrecy of Psycho | Summary and Q&A

September 8, 2019
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The Secrecy of Psycho


Hitchcock went to extreme lengths to keep the plot of Psycho a secret, facing resistance from Paramount Pictures and manipulating the marketing to preserve the surprise factor.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How did Hitchcock keep the plot of Psycho a secret?

Hitchcock purchased copies of the novel and limited public access, while also making the cast and crew promise not to divulge any details of the film.

Q: What challenges did Hitchcock face from Paramount Pictures?

Paramount Pictures disagreed with Hitchcock's choice to adapt Psycho and provided a limited budget and false claims about equipment availability to disrupt production.

Q: How did Hitchcock manipulate the marketing of Psycho?

Hitchcock promoted the film himself, limited interviews with the actors, and focused on alluding to the shocking content without giving away any details to avoid spoiling the plot.

Q: How did critics initially respond to Psycho?

Critics, annoyed by not receiving an advanced copy, negatively reviewed the film on its release day, giving away plot points that Hitchcock had tried to protect.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Psycho, released in 1960, brought controversy due to its violence and sexual content, requiring Hitchcock to keep the plot a secret.

  • Hitchcock purchased numerous copies of the novel to restrict public access, benefiting the author financially.

  • Paramount Pictures tried to discourage Hitchcock, providing a limited budget and attempting to halt production, but Hitchcock persisted and shifted to Universal Studios.

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