Psycho was similarly daring.
Hinged on another legendary mid-film twist, it taunted the censors with ahead-of-its-time material, from its post-coital opening to the flushing of a toilet.
Hitch extended his capacity for control beyond the set, too.
The trailer featured the director guiding audiences around the motel and Hitch even issued guidelines to cinemas (entitled The Care And Handling Of Psycho), archly instructing each cinema manager “at the risk of his life not to admit to the theatre any person after the picture starts.”
During this period, Hitch also became deified by French critics and filmmakers as an auteur, the young enthusiasts arguing that Hitch remade popular cinema in his own image.
After interviewing the director first-hand, one of François Truffaut’s many insights was this:
“The man who excels at filming fear is himself a very fearful person and I suspect this trait of his personality has a direct bearing on his success...
“How better to defend oneself than to become the director no actor will question, to become one’s own producer and to know more about technique than the technicians?”
Next: The End