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Psycho: Behind the Scenes of the Classic Thriller

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Psycho, the low-budget Alfred Hitchcock film with a monumental reputation, is the standard by which decades of thrillers have been measured. Oddly, one of Hitchcock’s stars has little to say about it. Janet Leigh refers to ”the secrets of the house behind the Bates Motel,” but there don’t seem to be any, and there’s not much ”behind-the-scenes” material, despite Psycho: Behind the Scenes of the Classic Thriller subtitle. There are amusing bits: Ted Knight’s tiny role, Hitch’s bad breath, censorship crises, loony ”fan” mail, and how such high-minded publications as The New York Times panned the film when it came out (”a blot on an honorable career”) but later dubbed it one of the year’s 10 best. It’s all mildly amusing gossip and chatter — but barely worthy of the film, Leigh’s costars, or her own indelible performance in it. C