4 hours ago
Tuesday, 12 February 2013
Anthony Hopkins looks totally unrecognisable under all that bulk. More's the pity then, that despite all the effort, he doesn't look much like Hitch either - a face that was so familiar to those of my generation watching his weekly TV appearance in the late 1950s, when he introduced 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents', half-hourly playlets, usually with slightly bizarre scenarios or twists. There was actually nothing too outrageously shocking - they were, after all, screened on Tuesday evenings at 7 o'clock at a moment in history when there was a choice of just two channels, BBC and ITV.
But, accepting that Hopkins is portraying an approximation rather than an imitation, back to the success or otherwise of the actual film.
It deals with his trials and struggles, both with the film companies and censors, to make the famed 'Psycho', a film I was too young to see on its initial release in 1960, though I do clearly recall all the associated hullabaloo, such as how that no one would be admitted into the cinema after the film had started (which turned out to be an added, though unnecessary, gimmick to draw in even greater numbers). I caught it on its re-release in 1966 (in a double-bill with the 1953 'War of the Worlds') and by then it had acquired the enticing allure of 'forbidden fruit'. Since that viewing I have never heard such screams for another film from a cinema audience, or anything even approaching it. Of course 'Psycho' is pretty old hat now, and I know complete stretches of the script off by heart. All subsequent viewings have long since become exercises in filmic analysis rather than the impossible task of recapturing any of the initial thrills and shocks. (I think it was only first shown on our TVs here in the late 1990s).
In this film Helen Mirren was at her usual high standard but I didn't feel it was so outstanding as to have merited her BAFTA nomination, but I'm not complaining about that.
Could have done without the occasional 'ghost' appearances of the character who carried out the murders on which the Robert Bloch book was based. It just muddied the waters and felt as though it was put in to give the film added meaning when none was actually needed.
Scarlett Johannson as Janet Leigh and James D'arcy as Anthony Perkins were both very good.
During the course of the film I was wondering if it would appeal to those who know little or nothing of 'Psycho' or have even heard of Hitchcock - and might therefore miss a lot of the allusions. I dare say that perhaps the majority of today's audience might plead ignorance on both accounts, but I may be mistaken.
The film ends pleasingly enough, allowing one to exit with a little bounce in one's step.
A bit more entertaining than I was expecting, I award it a...................6.5/10