I perhaps should not have watched Hitchcock without watching Psycho first. I’ve only seen two Hitchcock films, Vertigo (which was superb) and Notorious (which was good). With Hitchcock biopics suddenly fashionable, I doubt this is the last we’ll see of him. Hitchcock specifically focuses on the inspiration and production of Psycho, presenting it as a chance for Hitchcock to redeem himself. Having financed the film himself, he has a vested interest in how it performs. His wife Alma—a former filmmaker herself, represented as the woman behind the great man—eventually abandons any sort of attempt at a life of her own with writing partner/potential lover Whitfield Cook and forgives Hitch his many (emotional) infidelities. One feels special sympathy for Vera Miles, a would-be Hitchcock blonde if she hadn’t decided to leave Hollywood for a spell to have a baby. Janet Leigh is able to successfully negotiate Hitch in order to maintain a professional if flirtatious relationship. It’s hard to feel the Hitchcocks are really imperilled when they are so obviously rich!
Perhaps the most interesting thing this movie does is create Ed Gein—the real-life inspiration for Norman Bates—as an imp of the perverse for Hitchcock, Psycho the film embodied.
It is a bit weird to be watching a movie based on a book based on the making of a movie based on a book based on a real event! That’s postmodernism for you, I guess!