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In the movie Psycho "the shower scene" what style of editing, shots and visual...

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lorettaanne | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted June 29, 2011 at 2:39 AM via web

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In the movie Psycho "the shower scene" what style of editing, shots and visual transitions are used?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 29, 2011 at 4:02 AM (Answer #1)

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One of the most famous scenes in cinematic history, the shower scene is a work of cinematic art, which in some ways symbolizes the previous thoughts and activities of Janet Leigh's character in Psycho, Marion Crane.   For instance, prior to getting into the shower, Marion has decided that like Norman Bates, she, too, is trapped by her criminal act of embezzlement.  So, she makes notes on how she can repay what she has already spent and resolves to return the money the next day.  With this resolve, she flushes her notes in the toilet and goes to the bathroom to shower and cleanse herself.  The shower scene, of course, is pivotal to the horror of the film.  The scene was shot from 77 different angles, and the staccato close-ups are unnerving and considered more "subjective" than if they had been images presented separately or with a wider angled shot.

At the beginning of the scene and at the end, the shower head is shot from a long lens camera.  With the first shot, the water rushing from the shower head seems to connote Marion's fresh resolve to return the money and cleanse her life of crime.  After she is slain, the shot of the pouring shower head suggests the literal pouring of her blood down the drain and the washing away of her plans. The close up shot of her eye suggests her realization of this end.

Regarding the film editing, framed shots are used and are assembled in a staccato pattern to make the death scene.  Sound and shadows act as transitions between the montage of visual scenes. 

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