We All Go a Little Mad Sometimes. ~ Anne Clendening

Via on Jun 14, 2012
Uploaded by MiKaylea

June 16th is the 52nd anniversary of the release of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.

A masterpiece. Ground breaking, shocking and, some say, the greatest suspense film ever made. The tagline alone is genius:

“The picture you MUST see from the beginning…Or not at all! For no one will be seated after the start of Alfred Hitchcock’s greatest shocker, Psycho.”

Psycho (1960) was just a little controversial, and not just for the famous “shower scene.” She may look plain and unadventurous, especially with her top buttoned all the way up like that, but Marion was sexy, reckless and straight up ballsy.

Meet the beautiful Marion Crane. She shared a bed with her lover, pranced around in lingerie, embezzled $40,000 and hopped on the road in her newly acquired ’57 Ford toward sunny California. Until this, we had never seen a leading lady act so roguish.

Impulsive actions. We’ve all been there.

She certainly lived in the moment. I know the feeling. I walked out on a job once, and it felt awesome. Not that I’m saying we should all start misbehaving, but sometimes, you gotta go with your gut.

Ever fire off an inappropriate late-night email to your stupid boyfriend? Maybe you’ve run a red light at three a.m. because no one was around? Of course you have. I hitchhiked home to L.A. from Tijuana once. We’ve all done silly stuff on the fly—you should see some of my tattoos.

I’m not talking about breaking the law. I’ve never stolen anything (and I’m not sure I would say here if I had), but I believe in the universal law of fairness—karma. Lady Crane swiped that dough and ended up getting slashed to ribbons by a maniacal cross-dresser with mother issues. Not exactly the best way to go. There’s a moral there, friends.

Speaking of mothers…

Spoiler alert: Mama’s dead.

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Norman Bates, being slightly out of his mind, dresses up as the dearly departed, busts in on Marion while she’s in the shower and repeatedly stabs her in the most famous death scene in film history.

A little mad sometimes?

We all need to get our ya-yas out, but the point is not to go too far. Stressed? Cry it out, get some exercise or at least go outside for some air, for God’s sake. Talk to your pals. Don’t isolate. And taxidermy is a creepy hobby.

Psycho is the big daddy of the horror/suspense genre and has influenced countless films and filmmakers since 1960. Want a good scare? Just play the soundtrack. The movie nabbed four Academy Award nominations, spawned two sequels, a prequel and an extremely pointless remake, and put the fear of God into anyone who ever enjoyed taking a nice, relaxing shower. It took seven long days to film 45 seconds of terror.

And Janet Leigh, the original Scream Queen, never took a shower again.

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~
Editor: Kate Bartolotta

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About Anne Clendening

Anne Clendening was born and raised in L.A. She is a yoga teacher, a writer and occasionally slings cocktails in a Hollywood bar. She could eat chocolate cake for every meal of the day. She has a gigantic fear of heights and flying. And fire. She wishes she could speak French, play her guitar better and make cannoli. She's probably listening to The Dark Side Of The Moon right now. If you’re not easily offended, her darker thoughts can be read at Dirty Blonde Ink. She’ll be kickin’ it with her boxer dog and her hot Australian husband. Be her friend on Facebook if you dig. Peace, Love & Hare Krishna ❤

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4 Responses to “We All Go a Little Mad Sometimes. ~ Anne Clendening”

  1. yogasamurai says:

    A "yoga teacher" and "kind of a dark little hippie," you say? Well, that's as fine a one-line deconstruction as I've ever read anywhere. I do often think of them as synonyms? :o)

    I totally agree, Psycho is a real "coming-of-age" movie for Hollywood, and its themes and portraits clearly reflect the dawning feminist era.

    Yet ironically perhaps, feminist writers for decades have condemned Hitchcock in Psycho and elsewhere for what they consider his "misogynistic" portrayals of women as narcissistic, deceptive, manipulative, and impulsive?

    In defying social conventions most of his leading ladies do end up being "punished" for their "transgression" – killed, maimed or barely escaping death.

    Just the short list:

    Kim Novak, in Vertigo
    Tippi Hedren (and nearly all the women), in The Birds
    Grace Kelly, in Rear Window
    Eva Marie Saint, in North by Northwest
    Janet Leigh, in Psycho

    I don't agree with this feminist "critique" – which is still widespread – and apparently neither do you. But then again, by your own account, you do prefer chocolate to vanilla. Vale!

    Thanks for the review.

    YS

    • Little Orphan says:

      You must be a writer, yogasamurai! And your assertions ring a bell for sure. Even so, I always wanted to be a Hitchcock girl :-) Thanks !

  2. yogasamurai says:

    The truth is, almost every yoga girl who aspires to be more than just an every day yoga student is a "Hitchcock girl." That was kind of the subtext, I think, of Anne's post and my comment. Which is why so few "yoga girls" will probably comment here? Psycho is one of the very best films around which to discuss the deep truth — and the deep lies — about gender roles, male and female. Kudos to Anne, I say.

    Everyone should watch this film. The opening scene – the long tracking shot across the Phoenix skyline – is incredible. The use of bird imagery throughout. The intense score. The dialogue scene – almost like a dance – between Marion and Norman, where they actually bond as misfits, before his sexual attraction triggers his pathology, and leads him to kill her.

    Hitchcock turns us all into voyeurs in this movie. He knew more about the human psyche, and portrayed its hidden, dark compulsions, more honestly on film than thousands of directors have in the sixty years since.

    By the way, if you think Janet Leigh knocked it out of the park in Psycho, two years earlier (1958) she starred as the ambivalent female siren in A Touch of Evil, directed by the great Orson Welles. And two years after Psycho, she starred in another psychological thriller, The Manchurian Candidate, with Frank Sinatra. Then basically, poof, she disappeared.

    Arguably, in those four years, 1958-1962, she changed Hollywood forever. Far more than Marilyn Monroe or other screen sirens did. In the hands of magisterial directors like Hitchcock and Welles, outsized men with gargantuan egos and sexual appetites, Leigh seduced us with murder, greed, lust, and even rape — and we – and women – were never truly "innocent" again.

  3. yogasamurai says:

    By the way, Janet Leigh's daughter is Jennifer Jason Leigh, who's followed in her mama's footsteps in many of her film roles, some of them just as edgy, in fact. Most recently. she's played Nancy Botwin's sister in the hit Showtime series, Weeds.

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