Fantasia 2017: 78/52 (US – 2017)

78-52-s.jpg

for Cinetalk.net

78/52 is a film tribute to the infamous shower sequence in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960). Hitchcock devoted an entire week to film the three minutes iconic scene which required 78 camera setups and 52 cuts, hence the title of the documentary .

Director Alexandre O. Philippe (The people VS George Lucas) illustrates the influence of the segment with interviews, archival Hitchcock audio commentaries (some excerpt from the landmark Hitchcock/Truffaut tape) and simulations.

The spectator gets every angle (fact is you never see the blade penetrate the skin) from Saul Bass’ shot by shot storyboard comparison to great editor Walter Murch (Apocalypse Now) exposing its influence when he edited Coppola’s The Conversation (1974), to editor Amy Duddleston admittedly failed attempt (even when copying the original scrupulously) on the 1998’s remake. As sound is concern, we get the juicy stories about Hitchcock testing out the sound of slashed melons for added sound plus (of course) the celebrated string only music by the late Bernard Herrmann.

Through the male dominated speeches, there is nonetheless some strong female voices, namely Marli Renfro, the body double for Janet Leigh, and Leigh’s daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis, who also became iconic within the horror genre.
Not all is relevant regarding the lecture on the quasi social legacy of the film, especially the group interviews including Elijah Wood, and there is a lot of info thrown our way plus an added string score that would have angered Bernard Herrmann himself. But, overall,  78/52 is satisfying as it sums up its subject in a comprehensive and entertaining way.

 

Festival Screenings:
July 20 •10:00 PM  J.A. De Sève (Concordia University)
July 26 • 1:15 PM  J.A. De Sève (Concordia University)

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