Psycho, Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic film didn’t have as easy a path to success as one might expect. For a start Paramount Pictures didn’t like the film and so denied the Director a proper budget. Hitchcock had to produce the film himself which he did through his television company Shamley Productions. The budget was tight, less than $1,000,000, and costs were firmly controlled. This is why the film was shot in black and white.
When Psycho hit the cinema Hitchcock controlled the promotion. Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh didn’t partake in the usual media circus and critics weren’t given private screenings. Hitchcock also exerted control over the viewing experience of the audience. Showings of the film began on a tightly-controlled schedule in cinemas in New York, Chicago, Boston, and Philadelphia and there was a strict ‘no late admission’ policy put in place. You either saw the film from the very beginning,or you didn’t see it all. Signs appeared in front of cinemas reading:
We won’t allow you to cheat yourself. You must see PSYCHO from the very beginning. Therefore, do not expect to be admitted into the theatre after the start of each performance of the picture. We say no one — and we mean no one — not even the manager’s brother, the President of the United States, or the Queen of England (God bless her)!
Cinema managers were initially reluctant about the policy, thinking they’d lose punters, but Hitchcock was to be proved right. Long queues soon formed outside the cinemas. Psycho was to be a huge critical and commercial success and thre film was re – released in 1965.
Via Open Culture
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