New documentary 78/52 (IFC Films) unpicks how the scene was created
A new 91 minute film focuses on just three minutes of cinema from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.
The shower murder scene is one of the most iconic scenes in cinema history and it has obsessed filmmakers for decades.
If you’ve ever been desperate to know how it was created, then this new film called 78/52 is aiming to give you all the answers.
Director Alexandre O. Philippe has created an entire documentary to dissecting the scene by breaking down the 78 shots and 52 cuts that define it.
In conversation with Guillermo del Toro, Peter Bogdanovich, Karyn Kusama and Eli Roth, Philippe breaks down the scene cut by cut.
He also speaks to those with links to Psycho like star Janet Leigh’s daughter Jamie Lee Curtis, her body double Marli Renfro and Hitchcock’s granddaughter Tere Carrubba.
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It should be any amateur filmmaker’s dream to learn how the master director himself created a scene with such longevity.
Hopefully, viewers will be able to pick up on some of the different techniques and tips that Hitchcock used and learn how to incorporate them into their own filmmaking.
Hitchcock reportedly dedicated an entire week of out a four week shoot to filming the iconic sequence.
He has famously spoken about the scene before in an interview with CBC in 1964. He said: “You could not take the camera and just show a nude woman being stabbed to death – it had to be done impressionistically.
“So it was done with little pieces of film – the head, the feet, the hand, the parts of the torso.”
“I think in that scene there were 78 pieces of film in about 45 seconds,” he added.
If you want to explore the anatomy of the scene, from the plunging knife to the lifeless eye, the documentary is now playing at selected cinemas across the UK.