Back in the Day
The Shower Scene That Changed the World
Where would Amerca be without Psycho?
Thomson, who is best known as a film critic and the author of the quintessential A Biographical Dictionary of Film, wields an impressive erudition, offering an analytical point of view in the most useful kind of commentaryplacing the objects of his investigation in their cultural contexts. Which is to say that even if you are not a fan of slasher films or celebrity starlets (e.g., Nicole Kidman), there is great value in Thomson’s monographs as well as his compendia. In this case, we are provided with the facts of Hitchcock’s production including his battle with studio censors, as well as Samurai cineaste Thomson’s argument that Psychoan unusually violent film for 1960s America (who doesn’t know the archetypal shower scene?) profoundly changed movies and America forever. It not only altered what films could show but our expectations of them.