If “North By Northwest” has not aged well, it is because Alfred Hitchcock’s large scale, big budget chases are not and were never his strongest suit. Hitchcock made “Psycho” a year later in black and white with a fraction of “North By Northwest’s” budget and no special effects or extravagant chases to think of. Yet “Psycho” has not aged one bit.
“Psycho” is a masterpiece. It is one of the greatest films ever made and beyond that, one of the most influential. I could spend a thousand words discussing the film’s legacy and place in cinema history and never actually talk about the film or the masterful craft that went into it.
But the reason “Psycho” has not aged a day whereas “North by Northwest,” one of his most popular and well known films has, is because “Psycho” is Hitchcock’s expression of “pure cinema,” a term countless critics, and Hitch himself, have thrown around when talking about the film. To make the film, he ditched the crew he used for “Northwest” and enlisted the one that produced his television show “Alfred Hitchcock Presents.” They built the set of the Bates Motel on the still standing soundstage at Universal Studios and did not use any on location shooting. Their budget was a grand total of $800,000. Cary Grant received over $400,000 alone for shooting “North by Northwest.” Continue reading “Psycho (1960)”