Alfred Hitchcock’s PSYCHO has been analyzed over and over. Though always interesting, one has to wonder if there is anything new to uncover. The new documentary out of FANTASIA, 78/52 takes a look at the most famously murder in film history and does in fact, uncover new material. That is the gift of PSYCHO, it keeps on giving. 78/52 refers to the number of setups and cuts in the 2 minute sequence. Though the scene is a blink in the overall running time, it’s power spans the length of the film and remains the centerpiece to which the rest is compared.
Though 78/52 is about the shower scene in particular, we do look at the film in general as well as the state of the industry at the time through great new interviews with Peter Bogdanovich, Elijah Wood, the atrocious Psycho 1998 editor Amy E. Duddleston, Guillermo del Toro, Jamie Lee Curtis, Osgood Perkins, and Bret Easton Ellis. Suspiciously absent from modern commentary is Psycho expert Rob Galluzzo, whose documentary The Psycho Legacy remains the go-to information source on the series. But that is the only mark against this amazing documentary which even interviews Marli Renfro, Janet Leigh’s stand-in during the shower scene.
Director Alexandre O. Philippe once again tackles his subject with passion and thoughtfulness. What may seem like a throwaway documentary turns into one of the most in-depth looks at the masterpiece ever made. That is a special talent.
If you are a fan of Psycho than this is a welcome addition to your collection. If you are a filmmaker, then this is a must have. 78/52 is a remarkable piece of film-making, finding not just a new angle to approach Psycho, but one that delivers all new insight to one of the great American films. Be on the lookout for this later this year!