78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene (2017) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
21 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
it's not about the money
ferguson-612 October 2017
Greetings again from the darkness. Does it make sense to create an entire movie about a single scene from another movie? Director Alexandre O. Philippe answers with a resounding "Yes" and proves it with thorough and varied analysis of the infamous and iconic shower scene from Alfred Hitchcock's classic PSYCHO.

"The death of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetical topic in the world."

That quote from Edgar Allan Poe opens the film, and reminds us that the hullabaloo surrounding PSYCHO would never have been possible if Janet Leigh hadn't been a beautiful movie star … and if Hitchcock hadn't shocked us with the timing … and if so many other pieces hadn't fallen into place. It's those pieces that are the focus of Mr. Philippe's expository on the immediate and lasting impact of the scene.

The film's title comes from the 78 pieces of film and 52 cuts that make up the 3 minute sequence being adored, admired and argued here. The interviews and insight come fast and passionately from filmmakers, writers, educators, film historians, and actors. We meet the ultra-charming Marli Renfro, who was Janet Leigh's body-double for the film – and also graced the September 1960 cover of Playboy. There is also Tere Carrubba, Mr. Hitchcock's granddaughter and the daughter of Patricia Hitchcock, who has a minor role in PSYCHO. A few of the others who discuss the scene and film's influence include directors Peter Bogdanovich, Guillermo del Toro, and Karyn Kusama (JENNIFER'S BODY); and writers Leigh Whannell (SAW, INSIDIOUS) and Bret Easton Ellis (AMERICAN PSYCHO).

True technical analysis and peek behind the mysterious filmmaking curtain kicks into high gear when Walter Murch speaks. Mr. Murch is a 3-time Oscar winner and 9-time nominee for such timeless films as APOCALYPSE NOW and THE CONVERSATION. He is an expert on sound and film editing, two vital components to the shower scene, and he literally guides us through the individual cuts. Most fans of the film know of the chocolate syrup, but the casaba melon and the painting on the wall might be new territory. The film ties together, like never before, the script of Joseph Stefano, the storyboard of Saul Bass, the editing of George Tomasini, and the scene score of Bernard Hermann … all giants of the industry.

Whether you are a film lover, Hitchcock fanatic, or film theorist, you are likely to find something new here. The film represents so many "firsts" and was truly a turning point in the film industry, while also being a cultural phenomenon. When Martin Scorcese talks about the PSYCHO influence on RAGING BULL, it's the culmination of a blissful 90 minutes.
18 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A Must-Watch For Psycho Fans (Or Film Junkies In General)
zkonedog11 November 2017
Considering that "Psycho" has long been a "top movie of all-time" in my book, I knew I would be watching this documentary when I first saw the trailer. Considering how many times I've seen the movie and how many stories I've already heard from it, perhaps the most impressive thing I gleaned from "78/52" was how it was able to approach the topic from such a new, fresh perspective.

Basically, this documentary looks at "Psycho" from the perspective of its now-infamous "shower scene". While other topics are discussed and other stories are told, the narrative always shifts back to the construction of that sequence, which was truly momentous both in its time and even today. It completely changed the game of American cinema forever.

I really liked how this documentary was basically just a whole bunch of film geeks and/or industry insiders sitting around watching/talking about certain scenes. I mean, that's what it's all about, right? As movie fans, a large part of the fun of the experience is to discuss it with others after the fact, and that is the tone that "78/52" hits on. I felt like I was sitting around discussing the shower scene and everything that springs forth from it with family or friends.

So, I highly recommend "78/52" to any fans of "Psycho", obviously, but also for those who just love to discuss movies! It's technical enough to be enlightening, but not technical enough to keep it from being a great discussion/history of certain aspects of the scene, "Psycho" as a whole, & Hitchcock (and Co.) in general.
10 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Extremely investing analysis but underwhelming commentary to a beloved classic
williammjeffery1 July 2017
A 91-minute analysis of the famous shower scene from Hitchcock's 'Psycho' and how it changed the course of cinema. The first of its kind, a feature length documentary on one scene. The film gets its name '78/52' from 52 shots in a 78 second sequence. It's very entertaining and incredibly rich with goodies you never considered went into the making of the famous scene. I loved the archival Hitchcock commentary they recovered. Though, as I personally feel the movie horror scene has drastically changed (you can decide for the better or for worse), to have young horror film makers (of some damn awful films) and irrelevant actors interviewed to share their thoughts in quite enthusiastic ways suggests that Hitchcock's achievement is less pioneering than the film makes it seem. That aside, I'm surprised they pulled it off, you can tell the director (who is obviously a massive Hitchcock nerd) adores the content and it really shows.
14 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
If you can't go to film class, be instructed and delighted by this informative and entertaining doc.
jdesando5 November 2017
Let's say you don't have the time for a film class; do you have 1/2 hours to spend to learn a major chunk about film, let's say theme, editing, and auteurism? Then see 78/52, a superb analysis of Hitchcock's famous shower scene.

Wayne Miller, who knows more about Hitch than anyone else I know and regularly visits as guest host on It's Movie Time, gave it thumbs up with the observation that the doc was replete with facts and observations he didn't even know.

Here is a perfect example of the ideal educational mantra: to teach and delight.
11 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Excellent Look at "The" Scene
Michael_Elliott8 November 2017
78/52 (2017)

**** (out of 4)

The shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock's PSYCHO lasted for less than a minute yet it took seven days to shoot. This wonderfully entertaining documentary takes a look at that minute worth of footage and breaks everything down from the score, to the edits, to the violence and certain things throughout the movie that foreshadows it.

78/52 is a highly entertaining documentary that fans of PSYCHO are going to really enjoy. A lot of documentaries (like the one on THE SHINING) are a bit far-fetched in their ideas but that's not the case here as everyone interviewed is basically a fan and we break the sequence down in so many ways that you'll be seeing things for the first time. I've seen this movie countless times in my life and yet I learned a few new things here.

The people interviewed include: Peter Bogdanovich, Jamie Lee Curtis, Guillermo del Toro, Alan Barnette, Justin Benson, Danny Elfman, Bret Easton Ellis, Jeffrey Ford, Mick Garris, Neil Marshall, Bob Murawski, Elijah Wood and Richard Stanley. We also get archival interviews with Alfred Hitchcock, Janet Leigh and Joseph Stefano. Also interviewed is Marli Renfro who was Leigh's body double during the shower sequence.

The documentary does a really great job at showing how marvelous the sequence was. We get to watch it slowed down as well as getting comments on various edits, why the edits were done and countless other stories. This documentary covers a lot of ground in its running time and there's really not a weak moment to be found. If you're a fan of PSYCHO then I'm sure you've seen other documentaries on the sequence but this one here takes it to a new level.

Of course, one of the biggest highlights is having Renfro discuss how she got the part, what Hitchcock was like and how the shooting of the scene went. She was certainly a major player in this sequence so it was great getting to hear from her and get her stories.
7 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Puts The Hitchcock Classic Under the Microscope
gavin694220 July 2017
An unprecedented look at the iconic shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" (1960), the "man behind the curtain", and the screen murder that profoundly changed the course of world cinema.

While it might seem like quite a feat to devote 90 minutes of coverage to a one-minute segment of a film, this documentary pulls it off. By exploring every possible angle -- the sounds, the editing, the casting -- we see just how much went into getting the notorious shower scene just right. Most interesting is how many clues are in the film leading up to this moment that may not be obvious, but were sprinkled there by Hitchcock with a knowing wink.

"78/52" is playing on July 20, 2017 at the Fantasia International Film Festival. In this golden age of documentaries, this film still stands out as the cream of the crop.
8 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Cuts like a knife - epic film about an iconic scene
george.schmidt15 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
78/52 (2017) **** In depth and informative doc on the making of the infamous/notorious shower sequence of Alfred Hitchcock's classic horror film "Psycho" (the title refers to the 78 camera set ups and 52 edit/cuts for the scene) and its forever influence on filmmaking and pop culture. Talking heads include filmmakers Peter Bogdanovich, Guillermo del Toro, Mick Garris and actors Jamie Lee Curtis and Oz Perkins (her mom Janet Leigh and his dad Anthony were the stars of the film), Elijah Wood and composer Danny Elfman (who forever was in debt to the film's composer Bernard Herrmann's indelible and iconic shrieking score). For film hounds a valentine to an epic film and to the newbies and scholars quintessential viewing of how to create a true cinematic moment forever. (Dir: Alexandre O. Philippe)
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
lacking any new insight...
MichaelJDorr15 October 2017
As a Hitchcock fan, the premise of 78/52 really excited me. Like many cinephiles, I love Psycho...for its boldness, brilliant pacing and unforgettable performances.

One thing I enjoyed about 78/52 was the collective passion for the subject matter (the famous Psycho "shower scene"). The excitement from the filmmaker and interviewees was quite contagious; making the film very watchable from beginning to end.

I enjoyed the film's exploration of the shower scene's impact on cinema; specifically, its influence on Scorsese (and Raging Bull) as well as how the scene inspired an entire genre of subsequent 'slasher' films.

BUT...with that said, I struggled to find "new news". There is extensive research and discussion on Hitchcock and Psycho. A lot has already been explored. I found that 78/52 fell short of offering any fresh insight. Maybe it is because the documentary's interviews (mostly with with film editors) felt like a series of fanboys gushing over Hitchcock's brilliance. I found this to be quite tedious.

Lastly, I think the film needed to discuss Hitchcock's (unhealthy) relationship with women as an influence on his obsession with the shower scene. It is well-documented that Hitchcock subjected some of his actresses to forms of abuse (Tippi Hedren, Vera Miles). While Janet Leigh was always extremely professional/positive toward Hitchcock, I think the Psycho's shower scene desperately needs examination of Hitchcock, his own sexual obsessions with voyeurism and his general view of women.

If you're Hitchcock fan, I think you'll find 78/52 quite satisfying; even if it does fall a bit short of something new.
11 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
well, if you want to hear Elijah Wood gush about a movie then sure, watch this
cherold22 April 2019
The wide acclaim for this movie perplexes me. From the first scene poorly recreating a drive down the highway to the endless series of people gushing about the movie whose opinion's are of no interest to me, this movie seems utterly useless.

After about 20 minutes or celebrities telling me how awesome the shower scene is or Hitchcock is or offering some well known snippets about the famed director I started skipping ahead, trying to find something interesting. There was someone reading the shower passage from the book, and there's a story-boarded screenplay version that's somewhat different from what finally happened, and from what I hear there are some other interesting analytical things in there. But most of the time skipping forward would just give me another celebrity or filmmaker blathering on. Many of these people didn't even seem to have much knowledge or expertise; they just really, really liked the movie.

Should I watch a 90 minute movie in the hopes of finding 10 or 15 minutes of genuinely interesting content? I say no.
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
kosmasp25 May 2019
No it's not about any sport - if that was not included in the Box Set I bought I might not have known from the title alone what this would be about. But I reckon someone very knowledgeable about Psycho does know - if you don't or haven't seen Psycho: do not read on! And of course do not watch the documentary. Because the title of the documentary is of course something that is attached to a very special scene in Psycho.

And I'm talking about the shower scene. It may seem weird to make a documentary just about one scene in one movie (and it not even being the big twist at the end of the movie), but here it is. And it is a really good one. A lot of filmmakers and actors are in this and they talk about Psycho but also about Hitchcock in general. So you get some of his other movies mixed in here, while again primarily focussing on the shower scene. And it is a great one - still getting people excited or afraid. And when the actress from back then says she never showered again (true or not, only she knows), it's just amazing ...
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Unwatchable. Atrocious soundtrack.
karlzuri4 November 2018
I just managed to watch 15 minutes of this film. Then the appalling, annoying, atrocious soundtrack drove me away. Not only is this chamber quartet music grating and irksome, it is extraordinarily repetitive and, above all, much TOO LOUD! I could hardly make out half the spoken commentary. Whoever thought this would be a good idea, or, God help us, "arty" in any way, shape or form, should be summarily fired. At least, this terrible and tortuous soundtrack can serve as a bad example for film students. As the commentator sklemow said, if ever there is a release of this film without that totally obnoxious and offensive music, I'd happily watch it.
2 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
"Psycho" Revisited
StrictlyConfidential25 September 2018
As the story goes - In 1960's "Psycho" - It took director, Alfred Hitchcock (and his film crew) 78 camera set ups and 52 edits in order to capture just one particular 3-minute scene in the movie.

And, this, of course, was the now-famous "shower scene" where deranged transvestite, Norman Bates sliced and diced the naked and vulnerable Marion Crane (while strains of Bernard Herrmann's music-score screeched out at the top of its lungs).

Now - Nearly 60 years later - This documentary takes a microscopic look at this one praised and heralded slasher scene. And through interviews with various people, it completely dissects this sequence so that no stone is left unturned.

According to those who voiced their opinions in 78/52 - The overall execution of this one murder scene (though tame by today's "in-your-face" standards) has had a significant impact on all slasher films ever since.

Anyway - I found that 78/52 had both its fair share of good moments, as well as its not-so-good moments, too.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene
jboothmillard6 July 2018
Warning: Spoilers
The shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho is considered one of greatest, definitive and most ground-breaking in both horror and in cinema, this documentary look at its enduring legacy, and how it was achieved. Basically the scene in the film, where Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) is murdered by Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), took a week to film, requiring 78 set-ups and 52 cuts (hence the title of this film). This film really examines and deconstructs all aspects about the film, leading up to the murder, including things the audience would never have noticed or thought about before. This includes feeling empathy towards Bates rather than perhaps Crane, a painting specifically chosen to feature in the study scene, the iconic violin music score by Edward Herrmann, the audience using their imagination (the knife is never seen puncturing the body, only the noise (a knife piercing an apple), blood (chocolate sauce) and the stabbing), and the voyeurism (the shower being like a witness, and the plughole becoming Marion's eye). It references to Hitchcock's other works that led up to and followed Psycho, how this pivotal scene has inspired other works in horror and cinema (including homages and spoofs), and how early and continuing cinema has terrified audiences. With contributions from Peter Bogdanovich, Jamie Lee Curtis (who paid homage to her mother, Janet Leigh, recreating the shower scene in the TV show Scream Queens), Guillermo del Toro, Danny Elfman (who recreated Herrmann's score for the crap Gus van Sant remake), Sir Alfred Hitchcock (archive footage), Janet Leigh (archive footage), Eli Roth, Leigh Whannell and Elijah Wood. If you have always wanted to know how the famous scene of Psycho was achieved, what filmmakers and experts think of it, how it has maintained its legendary status, and how it has become so important in terms of how it arguably changed the course of cinema, then this is definitely a worthwhile documentary. Very good!
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Technical perfection.
garethcrook18 May 2018
Whether you like Hitchcock or not (you should) and whether you think Psycho was an important film for him or not (it was), this is a fantastic deep dive behind the shower curtain. If you know Hitchcock there might not be too many surprises here, yet for even the aficionados, the way this documentary is constructed is captivating. The shower scene is a film within a film. Technical perfection.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Boring commentary from incompetents.
NukeHollywood4 May 2019
A few minutes in you hear this bit of awful cliched praise:

'Before Psycho movies were ... relatively disposable.'

Most movies before 1960? How interesting.

The same kind of rubbish that is said about ... just any director/film that is under study. Before this there was nothing! Who are these people and why are they wasting everyone's time with this dull documentary?

15 minutes is enough.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Strictly for fans of Hitchcock.
Amyth4713 March 2019
My Rating : 7/10

This is certainly not bad as some other reviewers think. Yes - if you don't care much about Hitchcock's body of work then of course it's not for you as it digs into some details that only the fans would like to know more about. I am a diehard fan of Hitchcock so it's great to hear the behind-the-scenes trivia - I didn't know that there was an extra who was standing in as double for Janet Leigh in some of the shots - also it was not Anthony Perkins behind the shower curtains.

Not everyone will care for this - I'm glad I watched it being an avid fan of Hitchcock and movies in general.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
If only Bernard Herrmann could catch the composer in the shower...
sklemow27 September 2018
This is a mostly fascinating and entertaining documentary, especially for students and fans of Hitchcock, and the film Psycho in particular. It contains some surprising and novel analysis, and some cherished choices of interviewees (Marli Renfro, Danny Elfman, Illeana Douglas, Jamie Lee Curtis), amidst the familiar and somewhat stale contributions from Hitchcock sycophants like Peter Bodganovich and Eli Roth.

It's the sort of innovative documentary I would ordinarily enjoy rewatching time and again-were it not for the ghastly and ineffably inept inclusion of a relentless, grating, pseudo-Victorian string quartet that powders you with fleas from start to finish, while you're trying to listen to the insights of the otherwise dignified cast it is drowning out. It's the kind of misguided, sophomoric soundtrack that Bernard Herrmann would have furiously chucked right out the window, and I would have gladly helped him-especially if I could have thrown out Elijah Wood (?!?) along with it.

If I can ever find a copy with that sonic detritus removed, I'll watch it over and over. But someday I'd love to ask the producers of this otherwise brilliant effort what qualifications they thought Elijah Wood and Bret Easton Ellis had to offer to this subject-my only guess is that they were loafing around the studio hoping that someone would make them happen again...
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
tlyoungwirth15 November 2018
I for the life of me can't understand how this has gotten such a high rating. Unless you're someone who has the time and stamina to micro analys a film inch by painful inch, you're going to find this redundant and boring. My wife fell asleep first and then I turned it off and joined her.
1 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
No Truffaut
kevin c8 April 2018
Watched this on train journey back from Scotland.

It whiled away 90-minutes, but doesn't add a great deal. Made me want to watch Psycho, and frustratingly i was on a train!
1 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Slasher in the shower
Prismark1010 March 2018
This documentary about the infamous shower scene in Psycho has a technical title. 78 camera setups and 52 cuts that took seven days to film.

Contributors include Elijah Wood, Bret Easton Ellis, Peter Bogdanovich, David Thomson, Richard Stanley, Sam Raimi, Walter Murch, Eli Roth, Mick Garris, Guillermo del Toro and Jamie Curtis who talk about the shower scene and how it was put together. Bogdanovich also does his trademarked mimicry.

There are important aspects discussed such as how to get round the censors. Shooting in black and white helped as you do not see any red blood. We even find out how influential the violence in Psycho was for other films. Italian filmmakers took it to a visceral horror art level. Martin Scorsese even mirrored it in Raging Bull.

However at 90 minutes it does feel a bit overlong, there was a lot of waffle and Psycho has been examined to death already.
1 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Very interesting to know more about Hitchcock
victortokio11 January 2019
This documentary is really interesting in terms of knowing more about not just about to move it self but the film caree of Alfred Hitchcock. There are some very interesting news that I didn't know about which are very interesting as the body double who made that shower scene.
0 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed