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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover



Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, Toni Collette, Danny Huston, Jessica Biel, James D'Arcy, Kurtwood Smith and Michael Wincott
Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
RRP: £24.99
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 17 June 2013

Behind every psycho is a great woman. Hitchcock explores the true love story between one of the most influential filmmakers of the last century, Alfred Hitchcock, and his wife and partner Alma Reville as they struggle to make the seminal movie Psycho. Although at the top of his game Alfred soon finds himself subject to suggestions of retirement. Keen to recapture the original thrill and energy from his youthful film making days Alfred settles on the lurid horror novel Psycho as his next project, much to everyone’s misgivings. Self financed and lacking studio support Alfred and Alma soon discover there is more riding on this film than just monetary gain as their relationship is tested to its limits...

Hitchcock is loosely based on Stephen Rebello's book Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho. It's not a true biographical piece by any stretch of the imagination. Although it displays historical accuracy in some areas, it's mostly a comical, sideways slant on events that may have happened, with one foot planted in reality.

Likewise Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren don't attempt to really mimic Alfred Hitchcock and Alma Reville (in fact, in the case of Reville, Mirren reveals in the extras that she had no material to work from any way as there is so little footage of Reville) instead they give enough nods to give you the flavour of their real life characters. Of course, Hopkins does mimic Hitchcock's voice (even if on occasion it tends to slip over into the fringes of Hannibal Lecter).

Likewise, the make-up effects were not designed to cover Hopkins's face entirely and create a truly lifelike Hitchcock appearance - something which could have been achieved - but to find the happy medium between Hitchcock and Hopkins so that you could believe that Hopkins could actually be Hitchcock. In the end it does work, and Hopkins's performance makes you believe you're watching Hitchcock on screen.

The movie is really about the relationship between Hitchcock and Reville. Like his career, his marriage is seemingly entering its autumn years. The making of Psycho not only gives Hitchcock a new lease of life as a horror director, but also rekindles the couples collaborative relationship.

Extras include an audio commentary with Sacha Gervasi (director) and Stephen Rebello (author of Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho); Deleted Scene (1 min, 42 sec); Becoming the Master: From Hopkins to Hitchcock (12 min, 28 sec look at Hopkins’s make-up process and costume); Obsessed with Hitchcock (29 min, 09 sec making of... featurette); Sacha Gervasi's Behind the Scenes Cell Phone Footage (13 min, 31 sec); Hitchcock Cell Phone PSA (41 sec cinema ad - informing viewers to switch off their cell phones before the picture starts); The Story (3 min, 54 sec look at the story of the film); The Cast (4 min, 25 sec look at the cast); Danny Elfman Maestro (2 min, 16 sec segment of Elfman's score set to clips from the film); Hitch and Alma (3 min, 15 sec look at their relationship); Remembering Hitchcock (4 min, 44 sec which shows a handful of cast and crew that worked on Hitchcock's movies recounting their memories - and how good a job Hopkins and Mirren did).

Highlights in the audio commentary include the revelation that Hopkins sat in on every single cast audition (from the smallest to the largest role) in order to help all potential actors; the fact that Mirren originally auditioned for Hitchcock's Frenzy - but it didn't go well; the story about some of the background extras getting into a squabble because a cowboy pinched a showgirl's bottom; the fact that Georgia Gibbs was the director's grandmother - which is why a couple of her songs are played during the movie; Danny Elfman eager to do the score because it was Bernard Hermann's music that made him want to become a composer in the first place; the fact that Hitchcock really was adamant that no music should be played during Psycho's infamous shower scene and it was only Alma's insistence that made him see that it worked better; and the director recounting how one scene was interrupted because a homeless guy kept shouting "Hannibal Lecter" at Anthony Hopkins.

It's a sweet film that will hit home whether you're a fan of Hitchcock's work or have never even seen one of his films.


Darren Rea

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