The University of Iowa

Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’ screening Feb. 17 – Film After Noir series

February 10th, 2011

The “Film After Noir,” series (the Spring 2011 Proseminar in Cinema and Culture) continues this Thursday, Feb. 17, with a screening of Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960, 109 min.), starting at 7 p.m. in 101 BCSB.

On impulse, office secretary Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) steals $40,000 from her employer and decides to drive from Phoenix, AZ to northern California, in order to start a new life with her lover, Sam Loomis (John Gavin). Pulling over at night during a rainstorm, she meets a friendly young man named Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), who runs a motel while caring for his mother. Crane accepts the man’s offer of a sandwich and they talk for a while. The talk with Bates convinces Crane to drive back to Phoenix the next day and return the money. She goes to her room to take a shower before retiring for the night.

Psycho (1960, 109 min.) broke period taboos by its depictions of sex and violence in a mainstream commercial feature. The film was adapted from Robert Bloch’s 1959 novel inspired by a series of grisly murders in and around the town of Plainfield, Wisconsin. Paramount Pictures released it only after director Alfred Hitchcock agreed to shoot it on the lot of another studio and finance part of it against future earnings. (Hitchcock’s eventual earnings came to $4 million.)

Psycho was nominated for four Oscars, including Best Director. It inspired three sequels and Gus Van Sant’s 1998 shot-by-shot remake. Keep your ears open for composer Bernard Hermann’s high-intensity musical score and watch for Hitchcock’s obligatory cameo wearing a cowboy hat outside a realtor’s office.

This film series focuses on films produced between 1950 and 2000 that display or revise elements of classic noir. All screenings are free and open to the public.

Steven Ungar, UI professor of French and Comparative Literature, will lead post-screening discussions.

The series is sponsored by UI International Programs, the Institute for Cinema and Culture and the Department of Cinema and Comparative Literature in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For more information, contact Ungar at or 319-335-0330.