Psycho Becomes Hitchcock’s Most Famous Film (Great Events from History II: Arts and Culture Series)
Article abstract: Filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock defied Hollywood thinking and anticipated industry trends by making the low-budget shocker Psycho, the film that became his most popular.
Summary of Event
The popularity of North by Northwest (1959) affords a good example of Alfred Hitchcock’s remark “style is self-plagiarism.” A big money-maker, North by Northwest also conforms to a Hitchcock formula that goes back to his British thriller The Thirty-nine Steps (1935): the innocent-man story structured with a double-chase plot. Hitchcock had Americanized the formula of the falsely accused protagonist pursuing the real culprit while being chased by the police in Saboteur (1942), though Foreign Correspondent (1940) and To Catch a Thief (1955) also employ aspects of the same design. Viewers can instantly recognize these films as Hitchcockian, but the works are also, as the director himself knew, self-imitative.
Hitchcock’s search for new ideas was motivated by the box office as well as by the need for originality. As shrewd a businessman as an artist, Hitchcock still remembered the disappointment of Vertigo (1958), a daring psychological film that deemphasized plot and became a commercial failure. While ticket buyers enjoyed Hitchcock’s return to familiar material in North by Northwest, the director sought something new but not too...
(The entire section is 2149 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!