The Making of “Psycho”

The screenplay of Psycho by Joseph Stefano is not available online? Here’s the original shooting draft [pdf]. (NOTE: For educational purposes only)

The idea excited Hitch. And I got the job. Killing the leading lady in the first 20 minutes had never been done before! Hitch suggested a name actress to play Marion because the bigger the star the more unbelievable it would be that we would kill her. From there, the writing was easy. The only difficulty was switching the audience’s sympathies to Norman after Marion’s death. Bloch’s book treats him as a kind of reprobate. When I discussed this with Hitch, he said, “Put that out of your mind and picture Tony Perkins.” I knew then I could write the character. Hitch wasn’t always patient, but he was helpful and generous; he answered my questions gladly. Before I’d even written a word, we spent four weeks brainstorming the story, especially the shower scene. We talked about having Saul Bass do storyboards, and planned how to film the murder without actually seeing the knife enter the flesh. We were mainly concerned about nudity — how much could be shown in 1959 and how much would convey, without being gratuitous, the terror of being attacked naked and wet. —Interview: Psycho Screenwriter Joseph Stefano

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The Making of ‘Psycho’ (1997). A retrospective on the entire movie, from start to finish. There are interviews with many of the principle cast and crew (including Janet Leigh and Joseph Stefano), who all talk openly and lovingly about entire process of making the film. The sessions with Janet Leigh are particularly involving, and she talks a great deal about shooting the now infamous shower scene.

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The shower scene comprises of 78 shots edited into a 45 second segment and took 7 days to complete.