Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


THE MOMENT OF PSYCHO: How Alfred Hitchcock Taught America to Love Murder. David Thomson. Basic Books; 2009.

In a long essay Thomson looks at Psycho scene by scene, examining the doors it opened in regards to censorship and sexuality and violence in film, and looks at how influential it has been on films in general, not just horror movies or thrillers. The book is padded a bit with brief looks at these other films and even a section on American highways. Frankly, although the book is well-written and has a few interesting things to say, much of it is already known and obvious; another problem is that Thomson drops in a somewhat intriguing observation or intimation and then drops it altogether half a page later. Why be coy in this day and age? Many ideas are simply not developed. This should have appeared as an article in a film magazine or maybeVanity Fair. Will even major Psycho fans want to spend nearly $23.00 on such a slender volume?

Verdict: At least it's a fast read. **1/2.

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