As I have already mentioned Psycho is based on the Robert Bloch's same name novel on the real - crime case of Wisconsin murderer, body snatcher and corpse trophy maker - Edward Theodore Gein.
The Acquisition of Psycho novel film rights
The Psycho novel of Robert Bloch was shown to Alfred Hitchcock by Anthony Bouncher. Alfred Hitchcock bought the film rights of Bloch’s novel Psycho for $ 9.500. Hopefully, for cinema Alfred Hitchcock decision to buy the film rights of Psycho, was the first step in creating this masterpiece.
Paramount refused to finance the Psycho film, so Hitchcock decided to produce Psycho by himself and to filmed it quickly and inexpensively using the style and production methodology of ongoing television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents and he used the television series crew of Sampley Productions.
Even after this low - budget approach to film Psycho Paramount executives, refused to produce Psycho.
The movie Psycho was financed by Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock decided to finance the Psycho film personally and to film it at Universal International If Paramount accepted to to distribute it. Also, Alfred Hitchcock reduced his director fee of $ 250.000 for 60% ownership of the film.
After, this proposal Paramount accepted to co - finance the film Psycho. There were also negative voices about Alfred Hitchcock decision to produce Psycho. Among discouraging voices were the negative opinion about Psycho potential of producer Herbert Coleman and Joan Hanson.
The Novel Adoption of Psycho
Alfred Hitchcock, asked James Cavanaugh writer of Alfred Hitchcock Presents television show to write the screenplay of Psycho. Alfred Hitchcock rejacted the Cavanaugh’s screenplay and he hired Joseph Stefano. Stefano was a new scriptwriter.
Joseph Stefano made main changes to Psycho novel through the adoption process, among the main changes are:
(1). The Norman Bates Character
In the Psycho novel Norman Bates is middle aged, overweight and unstable - in book Norman Bytes is unsympathetic. Stefano transformed Norman Bates more interesting to viewer by stopping him drinking alcohol, by reducing Bate’s interests in spiritualism, occult and pornography.
(2). Changes in the beginning of Psycho
The Psycho novel begins with Norman Bates reading a history book in screenplay the Psycho film starts with scenes in Marion’s life and Norman Bates is introduced after the 20th minute of the film.
(3). The Book of Norman Bates
At the last part of the film we can see Lila Crane searching Norman’s room, she opens a book with black cover, audience is not allowed to see the content of the book. According to Psycho novel the book was full of pornographic images. Stefano and Alfred Hitchcock wanted to create the impression that there is something wrong, something strange and unexplained.
(4). The Relationship between Sam and Lila
In Psycho novel there was a budding romance between Sam and Lila. But from Hitchcock’s point of view there was the need to focus the audience attention on the solution to mysterious killing of Marion.
(5). The Explanation about Norman’s Chronic Psychosis
On Psycho novel, Sam explains to Lila the pathological - mental disorder of Norman Bates. In Psycho film the explanation is given by a psychiatrist.
(6). The level of violence
Psycho novel is very violent, there are more blood and violent actions like the Shower Scene, in Psycho novel Marrion Crane is heheaded in the film is being stabbed to death. Hitchock in shower scene wanted to show less and to create the motivate to audience to imagine the rest.
(7). The Killing of Arbogast
In Psycho novel Arbogast is being killed to foyer but Hitchcock wanted to create suspense, to make capture audience and to create an unforgettable twist - end. In Psycho film was a need to hide the face of Norman Bate’s mother so Arbogast is being killed on the stairwell. Obviously a killing scene on the stairwell offers more possible choices to Alfred Hitchcock for camera creativity.
(8). Marrion’s telltale earring - as object to increase dramatic fiction
In Psycho novel Lila finds the Marrion’s telltale earring in Norman Bates hotel, in Psycho film Lila finds a scrap of paper failed to flush down the toilet. There is a need to mention that toilet’s were not used to be filmed, so, the scene in toilet created a first sock to audience.