Did Alfred Hitchcock Buy All The Books?

Next June, the world of cinema will be celebrating because they celebrate 60 years of the premiere of Psycho, that classic of the suspense master who was the first to use secrecy and mystery as part of his marketing campaign. Alfred Hitchcock knew how to sell his movies better than anyone. He was one of the first to consider the experience of the viewer as the main weapon to capture the masses using all kinds of tricks to fill theaters. The marketing campaign was very long and huge. Paramount needed to recoup its investment after contributing hundreds of thousands of dollars blindly, and thus many anecdotes and legends were born around the film. For example, the one that says that the director bought all the copies of the novel published in 1959 so that the spectators did not know the final turn of the story. But … is it true? Janet Leigh in the famous shower scene from Psycho (AP Photo, Gtres) More Let’s see. Psychosis was released on June 16, 1960. Robert Bloch’s novel was released in 1959, that is, it was available for several months in bookstores. However, in a pre-internet era, without spoilers on Twitter and without fan forums creating theories, the director had the advantage that only a few knew the story until the end. Alfred Hitchcock went further than any other filmmaker by that So to ensure the secrecy and surprise of the different twists that the film keeps. Because what is the point of seeing Psychosis if you know the secret of Norman Bates or the shower scene (the one whose knife sound they managed to stab a melon, via BFI)? And so the story emerged that claims he bought all copies of the novel to avoid spoilers. I recently read a Variety article where they took it for granted, but after doing some research, I found that the anecdote is not true. The director of the birds (1963) was not the master of suspense by chance. Creating suspense was his profession, inside but also off the screen, and decided that he would keep the secrets of the film at all costs by creating rules that cinemas and spectators had to meet to screen and watch the movie. He made the publicity announce that Psychosis could only be seen from the beginning, that the late entrance to the room would not be allowed, even forcing the owners of the theaters to put up posters that made their regulations known. This decision was related to the fact that at that time it was normal for the public to go see a movie when they wanted to. As the double, or triple, sessions were the order of the day, people entered the cinema and stayed where they felt like it. Even going into the middle of a session and staying until he started again to see what they had missed. A custom that today is unthinkable. Without going any further, the original trailer already indicated the director’s intentions. A full-blown audience manipulator! A master in the creation of suspense. Hitchcock himself presented the film describing it with all kinds of adjectives, without revealing anything of the plot and creating a lot of mystery in a 6-minute video! In this way, he wanted to preserve the suspense from beginning to end – especially to avoid confusion of being late because he would not understand the absence of Janet Leigh in history when it was the most popular name of his cast – but the trick became an infallible hook to capture the curiosity of the spectators. Hitchcock called this quasi-contractual obligation between film and viewer “a bold presentation policy.” It is true that Hitchcock purchased the rights to the novel, and it is also true that he attempted to purchase every available copy as part of his strategy to maintain secrecy. . He tried, but failed to acquire them all, as collected by WhatCulture. The rumor still lingers but if we’re realistic, it’s impossible for him to get rid of all the copies of the novel from every bookshop in the US and off the face of the earth. Read More What he did do was convince Paramount executives to invest $ 800,000 (687,000 current euros) in the film without letting them read the script and without telling them the turn of the story. Without knowing anything important. An achievement that practically nobody has achieved. A completely blind investment, betting purely on the name and reputation of the director. And it is for this reason that for decades we can see the house of Psychosis in the distance on the Universal Studios tour in Hollywood. The film belongs to Paramount, but it was shot on Universal’s set (where Hitchcock filmed his series Alfred Hitchcock Presents) to avoid that the executives of the investment studio did not know a single detail of the story. And because it was easier for the director since he had his offices already set up in the opposite studio. The secrecy and intrigue created by the director’s campaign worked well. And that few gave a penny for it because it is a minor production in the Hitchcock race – which came from The indiscreet window (1954) or With the death in the heels (1959) – and for having rolled in black and white and with a technical television team. The only clause the studio offered in exchange for blind investing was for the director not to collect his salary. Hitchcock accepted and in return would earn a percentage of the box office earnings. And how well the play turned out. According to Variety in the late 1960s, the director would have taken about 5.16 million euros ($ 6 million) after the success of the film. Which translates into about € 43 million ($ 50 million) current adjusted for inflation. Who said Robert Downey Jr. was the only smart one to slash contracts with box office percentages? Some probably don’t know, but Robert Bloch was inspired by a true story to write his novel. Norman Bates is inspired by Ed Gein, a murderer and grave robber who shook Wisconsin in the 1950s whose victims were women. It was the same one that inspired Thomas Harris to create the character of Buffalo Bill in his novel The Silence of the Lambs and Leatherface in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Screenwriter Joseph Stefano made several changes to the story by passing it to the script, such as expanding the character of Janet Leigh, that secretary who steals $ 40,000 from her boss to run away with her boyfriend who can’t marry her because of financial problems. Almost 60 years later , Psycho is considered one of the best films of the director and one of his latest classics. Shortly after, he made Los Pájaros and then made a series of feature films that did not achieve the same repercussion (Topaz, Frenzy, La trama). The film is remembered as one of the best examples of horror movies, there are even those who define it as the birth of the slasher genre, in addition to being a film ahead of its time that resorted to higher levels of violence, treating health problems mental and sexuality as the main elements to channel the plot.More stories that may interest you: