From Script to Film
As I have already mentioned on Creating a masterpiece Pt 1 - Alfred Hitchcock finance the production of Psycho through his own Shampley Productions and he decided to shoot at Universal Studios under the Revue television unit.
It deserves to be mentioned that Hitchcock’s original Bates Hotel and Psycho house movie set, are still standing at Universal Studios in Universal City City near Hollywood.
The Black and White Film format of Psycho
Alfred Hitchcock decided to film Psycho in black and white, actually Hitchcock wanted to use black and white format, because:
1. He wanted to keep production cost low
2. He wanted to avoid the shower scene to be too gory
3. Also, he admired the french black and white film Diaboliques / Les Diaboliques (Clouzot, 1955).
Psycho and the crew from the Television show
Alfred Hitchcock wanted to keep the overall cost manageable and as I have already mentioned he used his own Shamley Production television crew (from the Alfred Hitchcock presents TV show). Among the crew were the cinematographer, set designer, script supervisor and the first assistant director, the editor and the storyboard artist.
Psycho was shot at Reuvene Studios at the same location as the Alfred Hitchcock presents television show. Psycho filming lasted 80 days (from 11 November 1959 to 1 February 1960). Alfred Hitchcock used 50 mm lens on 35 mm film cameras, his idea was to involve the audience in the optical storytelling by mimicking the human vision.
Alfred Hitchcock sent two crews, one in Phoinix - Arizona and the other on Highway 99 between Fresno and Bakersfield to film external shots. It’s very interesting that among the footage was a Christmas decoration, so Alfred Hitchcock, decide to use this footage to the opening scene marking the date as “Friday, December the Eleventh”.
Alfred Hitchcock scooters had prepared a list of 140 locations for later reconstruction in the studio (among the photos were - photos of Real Estate Offices, homes, local people etc). The Architectural style of the Bates house was inspired by the Edward Hopper’s painting “The House by Railroad”.
Alfred Hitchcock cameo in Psycho
Alfred Hitchcock used cameo in most of his films. In Psycho he can be seen through a window, standing outside of the Real Estate Agent - where Marrion Craine is working. There are many different opinions about Alfred Hitchcock decision to appear so early, according to which:
A. He wanted to be near his daughter - she is playing the part of Marion Craine Real Estate Office colleague.
B. He wanted to not disturb the audience from Psycho plot.