With an eager need to disprove any naysayers, Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins, who has the voice down pat but is given too many pounds and too large of a beak to nail the look) picked up a copy of Robert Boch’s Psycho. “What if someone really good made a horror picture?” And so, despite pleas of studio execs and against cinematic norms, he did.
Sacha Gervasi’s (Anvil! The Story of Anvil) narrative debut, Hitchcock, is based on Stephen Rebello’s Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho and dramatizes, well, Hitchcock and the making of Psycho. With little support except from the always sturdy guidance of wife/muse Alma Reville (Helen Mirren), Hitch bankrolled the film himself, cast Janet Leigh (Scarlett Johansson) and Anthony Perkins (James D’Arcy) and shot the film in three months.
Any informed moviegoer who knows anything about Psycho’s production (from the battle with censors and the shower scene/toilet controversy to Hitch’s obsessive secrecy and the world premiere) will be terribly bored. It’s not that Hitchcock is a bad movie, but there isn’t a whole lot to chew on. It clocks in at 98 minutes and moves so briskly that it never allows for any proper drama or suspense. (Of course Psycho will be met with raves; of course Hitch will make another half-dozen films.)
Hitchcock is at its best in its scenes between Hitch and Alma. These scenes are the most intriguing in the film, but since the focus is clearly on Psycho, the screenplay (by John J. McLaughlin) can only hint at what their relationship must have really been like. They’re all inadvertent teases of a much better story.
As it is, there’s really not much in Hitchcock to differentiate it between any made-for-TV movie. By coincidence (or, rather, clever planning), HBO aired The Girl (with Toby Jones as Hitch and Sienna Miller as Tippi Hedren) just one month before Hitchcock hit theaters. Neither is definitive.
Deleted Scene (1:42): This cut scene (with an introduction by Rebello) finds Hitch being analyzed by Ed Gein.
Becoming the Master: From Hopkins to Hitchcock (12:28) looks at the work that went into turning Anthony Hopkins into Alfred Hitchcock, with special emphasis put on the Oscar-nominated makeup and hairstyling.
Obsessed with Hitchcock (29:09): This making-of featurette uses interviews, clips and on-set footage to give a great overview into Hitchcock’s production.
Sacha Gervasi’s Behind the Scenes Cell Phone Footage (13:31) offers just that, with footage capturing the cast, sets and props.
Hitchcock Cell Phone PSA (0:41)
The Story (3:54) looks at the basic plot of Hitchcock.
The Cast (4:24) serves up interviews with Hopkins, Helen Mirren and more.
Danny Elfman Maestro (2:16) shows the famed composer in the studio.
Hitch and Alma (3:15) briefly looks at the relationship between Hitchcock and his wife/mentor Alma Reville.
Remembering Hitchcock (4:44): A selection of cast and crew who knew Hitchcock reflect on their memories and comment on the film’s approach.