The shower scene…

78/52 documentary

You’ll never look at the shower scene the same way again, says filmmaker Alexandre O. Philippe, whose new documentary, 78/52, lays bare the nuts-and-bolts artistry of that scene from Hitchcock’s Psycho…

The doc’s title refers to the total number of camera setups (78) and cuts (52) in the scene, which itself lasts a mere 45 seconds. It took a whole week to film (a third of the film’s shooting schedule), and it was, as the new film shows, something of an obsession for the master of suspense…

Here are 10 things you (probably) didn’t know about the shower scene…

1. Hitchcock made Psycho because of the shower scene

“When Truffaut asked [Hitchcock] point-blank why he wanted to make Psycho, Hitchcock replied, ‘I think the murder in the bathtub, coming out of the blue, that was about all’,” says Philippe.

Everything else in the movie hinges on that scene, with the doc drawing attention to the visual rhymes that foreshadow it: shots of showerheads appear in the background; the slashing of window wipers in the rain presage the slashing of the knife in the shower. “The movie never really achieves this kind of poetry again,” says Bret Easton Ellis.

9 more to go…

2 thoughts on “The shower scene…

  1. Mark says:

    I once watched Psycho on commercial TV and the philistines inserted an advert just before the blood circling down the drain during the shower scene. As a former film studies student I was deeply offended.

  2. Persistance of vision says:

    Psycho’s Shower Scene: How Hitchcock Upped the Terror—and Fooled the Censors
    “Psycho has had a pervasive influence on popular culture. Debuting on the cusp of the turbulent 1960s it helped to usher in a definitive cultural shift from the Eisenhower era.
    …The film announced that “murder was now going to be an acceptable form of entertainment,” observes Bret Easton Ellis, author of the serial killer novel American Psycho, in 78/52. “There was violence in American film but nothing like Psycho—nothing that intimate, nothing that designed, nothing with that kind of remorseless.”

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