Hitchcock and the Moral-Religious Criticism of Art

 

Have you listened to my new movie podcast about Psycho? During the discussion of the moral concerns and conservative intentions of the movie-making, we tried to bring in the objects of art, and suggested that Hitchcock shows the audience certain important juxtapositions of movie plot and works of art, of settings–like the imposing residence–and societies–liberalism. I want to show you the works of art and to discuss their importance to the movie’s moral concerns. I’ll discuss them in the order in which they appear.

1. The Bates house, a very stately, old-fashioned kind of California architecture. The design is taken from Ed Hopper’s House by a railroad.

You can see that it’s viewed from the same direction in the movie, except, of course that it’s perched on a hill, which makes it look more imposing.

Part of what I’m trying to show in the discussion is that this is somehow tied up with the dark side of respectability, first because it conceals something–it removes awareness of the dark passions of the soul.

Secondly, because it tends toward an open show of the dangers that lurk in the soul, which is nevertheless ignored. The connection between beauty and sexual desire, between beholding and holding, is supposed to be utterly severed. There’s no risk to nudity in paintings, sculptures, etc.

It makes sense, therefore, to turn, in a horror story, respectability on its head.

Here’s a screenshot of Anthony Perkins looking at the picture Hitchcock amusingly called, “of great importance” in his presentation of the movie.

He’s not very concerned with spoilers and he treats it all as a trifle. He obviously banked on the effect the movie itself would have. Then again, there’s something to Hitchcock’s famous remark that it was a comedy, or a very funny movie. There is such a thing as tragic irony and, in this movie, horror irony.

2. The painting you see in that screenshot–van Mieris’s painting of Susanna and the elders, the Biblical story in Daniel 13. This was a great subject of painting in the Renaissance and well into the nineteenth century.

The painting conceals the peep hole that allows Norman Bates to spy on his guests.

He moves it to see and so does the movie–we get to see his eye at the peep hole and to spy on the very attractive Janet Leigh in various states of undress along with him.

As a warning against shamelessly looking upon shameful things, the painting is a very weak obstacle. It seems to conceal and help the shameful deeds by making the peep hole invisible.

Although, again, you could see a certain irony in hiding a peep hole behind a picture of peeping men trying to rape a woman…

But the work of art is also a symbol–it makes a certain argument. Even if you dismiss the moral or ending of the Biblical story depicted in the painting: the lustful, shameless old men who attempt to achieve a murder with the forms of law on their side are punished themselves to be killed–there is still something to be said for the movie itself: we tend to want to go beyond the surface of things, to look behind, to pry into what’s secret or, indeed, invisible. The movie itself ends with two versions of the invisible–the soul of Norman Bates. But instead we should stare at the surface more carefully, instead of trying to remove it.

As with the horror irony of Norman Bates’s unwitting self-disclosure whenever he opens his mouth, much is hiding in plain sight. The warning of the painting seems to be that respectability can become a weapon turned against any innocence left when shame becomes shameless. Weakness turns into corruption in that way. The movie is supposed to use the immoral desires that get people to the theater to ward against a worse immorality. Normality might be more bearable if respectability wasn’t turned into an attack on what’s not respectable. Curiosity is surely a vice, but there is something more dangerous in a situation where normality is defended by ignorance–an uninnocent defense, because it requires a complete blindness to the possibility of evil.

3. The other two paintings in the parlor. Here’s a painting by a Frenchman, Boucher: Venus consoling Amor. The way this seems to fit into the story is to announce the possible corruption of nurturing mother love into a kind of stifling of eroticism.

The shift between the two kinds of intimacy, that at some level does great violence to the soul, is the psychological problem of the story and it emerges thematically only in the conclusion, when the psychiatrist and the insane Norman give two accounts of what’s going on in his soul.

This extends the moral-religious criticism of art implicit in the story. First, of course, a parlor at a motel-by-the-highway near some small town in California would not be boasting such art. You could say, well, there could be prints – but these are all paintings. It’s not plausible that there would be replicas.

The impossibility of the presence of the paintings at first seems to reveal to the attentive viewer ‘what’s wrong with the picture’–with Norman and his mother. It does do that: the parlor with all these paintings is opened right after Marion Crane hears the ‘argument’ between Norma and Norman in the second-floor room of the house.

4. The other painting recognized by insistent viewers and scholars is a Titian: Venus with a mirror. What you see in the parlor thus also seems to announce the plot. Psychologically, this would be the self-love of the mother who tyrannizes over the child. You see eros always as a child in these paintings, as in the sculpture which is the first thing you see entering the house. That’s part of the infantilizing iconography of classical and Renaissance art. But Venus/Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty, as opposed to eros, is always an adult and dominates the space and the story of the paintings. This offers the psychological possibility conveyed by the movie–eros impotent before beauty.

This seems to also announce the later scene where Marion’s sister, Lila, is shocked by her own reflection in the set of parallel mirrors. In this other comparison of the scene in the painting and movie scene, you see the different possibilities of thinking about the power of beauty.

This leads to the deeper meaning of the presence of these works of art that just cannot be there–if you pay more attention to the superficial stuff rather than to the less obvious, more sophisticated thinking that connecs plot, psychology, and paintings. These works of art put beauty under control in a certain way and pretend at the same time that it’s innocuous. Beauty is tame in them. To hold the painting and behold it has no effects on who you are or how you live.

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  1. Profile photo of James Gawron Thatcher

    Titus,

    Given that Bates, the sexually repressed lunatic murderer, represents the moral-religious character, don’t you think that you should have entitled your post “Hitchcock and Art’s criticism of the Moral-Religious”?

    Just a thought.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #1
    • June 19, 2017 at 11:12 am
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  2. Profile photo of Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera Post author

    Hello, Mr. Gawron–of course, I don’t think Norman Bates is the ‘moral-religious character!’ If you’ve time, do say some more about this idea!

    • #2
    • June 19, 2017 at 11:16 am
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  3. Profile photo of RightAngles Member

    Thanks, Titus. I must admit that all of this went right over my head when I watched the movie haha

    • #3
    • June 19, 2017 at 11:26 am
    • Like4 likes
  4. Profile photo of Hang On Member

    2 cent alternative:

    I wouldn’t call the Bates house old-California architecture (that would be Spanish). It is Victorian gingerbread. Which implies both respectable and repressive as far as sexuality. It is also isolated and run down.

    Marion Crane’s crime is theft of money. That is easily understood.

    Anthony Hopkin’s initial crime is homosexuality which leads him to murder women. Truly weird and twisted. The rape in Susanna and the Elders is a crime Anthony Hopkins could not commit but is a foreshadowing of an even worse crime.

    The other paintings are just some of Hitchcock’s MacGuffins.

    • #4
    • June 19, 2017 at 11:31 am
    • Like3 likes
  5. Profile photo of Hang On Member

    RightAngles (View Comment):
    Thanks, Titus. I must admit that all of this went right over my head when I watched the movie haha

    Hard not to focus on the screeching strings and the shower. And stay away from showers for a long time.

    • #5
    • June 19, 2017 at 11:33 am
    • Like2 likes
  6. Profile photo of Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera Post author

    RightAngles (View Comment):
    Thanks, Titus. I must admit that all of this went right over my head when I watched the movie haha

    That’s perfectly ok. It did the same with me. I think it’s supposed to. But if the man’s sufficiently ingenious & lucky, people will watch a second time, so to speak–think the movie memorable–it will linger one way or another. Then people like me can do a bit of work…

    • #6
    • June 19, 2017 at 11:33 am
    • Like3 likes
  7. Profile photo of Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera Post author

    Hang On (View Comment):

    RightAngles (View Comment):
    Thanks, Titus. I must admit that all of this went right over my head when I watched the movie haha

    Hard not to focus on the screeching strings and the shower. And stay away from showers for a long time.

    Hitchcock joke–some guy wrote to him that this movie scared his daughter about showers & I forget which other movie scared her from baths: Take her to the dry cleaner’s!

    • #7
    • June 19, 2017 at 11:34 am
    • Like3 likes
  8. Profile photo of James Gawron Thatcher

    Titus Techera (View Comment):
    Hello, Mr. Gawron–of course, I don’t think Norman Bates is the ‘moral-religious character!’ If you’ve time, do say some more about this idea!

    Titus,

    It’s his painting. He’s the leecher. Of course, he really isn’t moral-religious. He is Freud’s stereotype of the sexually repressed moral-religious. He has a severe classical Oedipal Complex with the mother. From WWII to the late sixties Freud is at the top of the chart for American intellectuals. Hitch is reaping the rewards and you could call Psycho a Freudian exploitation film.

    Believe me, Hitch is easily that sophisticated to have thought of it in exactly that way.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #8
    • June 19, 2017 at 11:38 am
    • Like1 like
  9. Profile photo of Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera Post author

    Hang On (View Comment):
    2 cent alternative:

    I wouldn’t call the Bates house old-California architecture (that would be Spanish). It is Victorian gingerbread. Which implies both respectable and repressive as far as sexuality. It is also isolated and run down.

    Sure, I agree. But it also makes a kind of important claim that nothing in Phoenix does.

    Marion Crane’s crime is theft of money. That is easily understood.

    Well, she herself is ashamed of herself for other, sexual reasons–not being married. Her boyfriend jokes about her having him over in her apartment & turning her mother’s picture to the wall. There are other things there.

    Her coworker mentions tranquilizing herself through her wedding night.

    The movie builds up a fairly broad view of the potential for erotic tragedy.

    The other paintings are just some of Hitchcock’s MacGuffins.

    I’m not quite sure that could make sense: A MacGuffin is the thing people chase in a story to get the plot moving. I’m unpersuaded by that theory, myself, at least so long as the plot does make sense…

    • #9
    • June 19, 2017 at 11:39 am
    • Like1 like
  10. Profile photo of Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera Post author

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Titus Techera (View Comment):
    Hello, Mr. Gawron–of course, I don’t think Norman Bates is the ‘moral-religious character!’ If you’ve time, do say some more about this idea!

    Titus,

    It’s his painting. He’s the leecher. Of course, he really isn’t moral-religious. He is Freud’s stereotype of the sexually repressed moral-religious. He has a severe classical Oedipal Complex with the mother. From WWII to the late sixties Freud is at the top of the chart for American intellectuals. Hitch is reaping the rewards and you could call Psycho a Freudian exploitation film.

    Believe me, Hitch is easily that sophisticated to have thought of it in exactly that way.

    Regards,

    Jim

    I agree about Hitchcock knowing that Freud then had his hey-day. We know because he gives us a pop-Freudian shrink character who dares to speak histrionically & authoritatively to authorities he obviously thinsk yokels. But the movie obviously shows him up right after his big scene. His name is Richman.

    Hitchcock is sophisticated enough to see through the pop-Freudianism, to take Freud himself somewhat more seriously, & to offer a view of erotic tragedy in the family that’s serious…

    Part of the movie is introducing these pictures which obviously cannot belong to a boy who never left the home where they were brought. No American could own them anyway. They’re there to teach certain things, not for plausibility, but for insight…

    • #10
    • June 19, 2017 at 11:42 am
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  11. Profile photo of Hang On Member

    I’m going to have to go look at this movie again. It definitely made an impression, but I haven’t seen it for over 20 years. And I love Hitchcock movies.

    • #11
    • June 19, 2017 at 11:43 am
    • Like1 like
  12. Profile photo of Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera Post author

    Hang On (View Comment):
    I’m going to have to go look at this movie again. It definitely made an impression, but I haven’t seen it for over 20 years. And I love Hitchcock movies.

    Do! If I do nothing more than contribute to the rewatching, that’s still something.

    Listen to my podcast when once you’re done. I hope it’ll show Hitchcock’s great achievement–what great attention for detail & sophistication of story-telling, building up act after act…

    • #12
    • June 19, 2017 at 11:47 am
    • Like1 like
  13. Profile photo of James Gawron Thatcher

    Titus Techera (View Comment):

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Titus Techera (View Comment):
    Hello, Mr. Gawron–of course, I don’t think Norman Bates is the ‘moral-religious character!’ If you’ve time, do say some more about this idea!

    Titus,

    It’s his painting. He’s the leecher. Of course, he really isn’t moral-religious. He is Freud’s stereotype of the sexually repressed moral-religious. He has a severe classical Oedipal Complex with the mother. From WWII to the late sixties Freud is at the top of the chart for American intellectuals. Hitch is reaping the rewards and you could call Psycho a Freudian exploitation film.

    Believe me, Hitch is easily that sophisticated to have thought of it in exactly that way.

    Regards,

    Jim

    I agree about Hitchcock knowing that Freud then had his hey-day. We know because he gives us a pop-Freudian shrink character who dares to speak histrionically & authoritatively to authorities he obviously thinsk yokels. But the movie obviously shows him up right after his big scene. His name is Richman.

    Hitchcock is sophisticated enough to see through the pop-Freudianism, to take Freud himself somewhat more seriously, & to offer a view of erotic tragedy in the family that’s serious…

    Part of the movie is introducing these pictures which obviously cannot belong to a boy who never left the home where they were brought. No American could own them anyway. They’re there to teach certain things, not for plausibility, but for insight…

    Titus,

    I grant you that Hitch is creative enough to have brought his own thoughts which are deeper than pop-Freudianism. However, I still think Hitch was also chuckling under his breath on the way to the bank with the proceeds.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #13
    • June 19, 2017 at 11:51 am
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  14. Profile photo of RightAngles Member

    I thought he was attracted to the woman. I thought that he knew his mother wouldn’t approve, so he killed the woman while dressed as his mother. Or something.

    • #14
    • June 19, 2017 at 11:53 am
    • Like1 like
  15. Profile photo of Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera Post author

    Mr. Gawron, it was by no means obvious that this was going to be a big hit, much less his biggest ever, nor that he would be almost forced into a deal that left him with 60% of the profits instead of a salary. Much less on the small budget he was given & very little studio support.

    I for one cannot bring myself to think without great evidence that using a fad to make a fortune was a guiding concern for Hitchcock…

    • #15
    • June 19, 2017 at 11:54 am
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  16. Profile photo of Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera Post author

    RightAngles (View Comment):
    I thought he was attracted to the woman. I thought that he knew his mother wouldn’t approve, so he killed the woman while dressed as his mother. Or something.

    Yes, yes, & yes-

    • #16
    • June 19, 2017 at 11:55 am
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  17. Profile photo of Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera Post author

    Which should not be construed as any kind of approval!

    • #17
    • June 19, 2017 at 11:56 am
    • Like3 likes
  18. Profile photo of James Gawron Thatcher

    Titus Techera (View Comment):
    Mr. Gawron, it was by no means obvious that this was going to be a big hit, much less his biggest ever, nor that he would be almost forced into a deal that left him with 60% of the profits instead of a salary. Much less on the small budget he was given & very little studio support.

    I for one cannot bring myself to think without great evidence that using a fad to make a fortune was a guiding concern for Hitchcock…

    Titus,

    If Freudianism is a fad it is one of the greatest fads of the 20th century. Hitch harpooned the White Whale and went for a Nantucket sleigh ride. That nobody else was of his intellectual caliber and couldn’t see it is not surprising. I’m not criticizing Hitch. To make a successful film one must be both a consummate artist and a shrewd businessman. Hitchcock was both.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #18
    • June 19, 2017 at 12:07 pm
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  19. Profile photo of RightAngles Member

    Did anyone see the A&E series Bates Motel? It went for several seasons. I liked it.

    Image result for Bates MOtel series

    • #19
    • June 19, 2017 at 12:36 pm
    • Like1 like
  20. Profile photo of Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera Post author

    I heard that it was quite good, but I didn’t get to it…

    • #20
    • June 19, 2017 at 12:50 pm
    • Like1 like
  21. Profile photo of RightAngles Member

    Titus Techera (View Comment):
    I heard that it was quite good, but I didn’t get to it…

    It would be a fun binge-watch when you have the time. The British actor who played Norman was perfect for it.

    • #21
    • June 19, 2017 at 1:13 pm
    • Like1 like
  22. Profile photo of RightAngles Member

    When I was in 6th grade, the movie Psycho was due to be aired on TV one weekend, but Senator Percy’s daughter was brutally stabbed to death that week, and they canceled it.

    • #22
    • June 19, 2017 at 1:25 pm
    • Like2 likes
  23. Profile photo of Rightfromthestart Thatcher

    ‘Anthony Hopkin’s initial crime is homosexuality which leads him to murder women.’

    Of course, we’re talking about Anthony Perkins.

    • #23
    • June 19, 2017 at 8:57 pm
    • Like3 likes
  24. Profile photo of Ansonia Member

    Re # 14

    Prior to the podcast, that’s what I thought about why Norman killed Marion. But I saw the movie without noticing the painting in which Norman has his peephole, the painting depicting a scene from a story about a woman two men tried to murder (through lies designed to bring about her execution) after they failed to control her.

    • #24
    • June 19, 2017 at 9:37 pm
    • Like1 like
  25. Profile photo of St. Salieri / Eric Cook Member

    Titus Techera (View Comment):

    Hang On (View Comment):
    2 cent alternative:

    I wouldn’t call the Bates house old-California architecture (that would be Spanish). It is Victorian gingerbread. Which implies both respectable and repressive as far as sexuality. It is also isolated and run down.

    Sure, I agree. But it also makes a kind of important claim that nothing in Phoenix does.

    Marion Crane’s crime is theft of money. That is easily understood.

    Well, she herself is ashamed of herself for other, sexual reasons–not being married. Her boyfriend jokes about her having him over in her apartment & turning her mother’s picture to the wall. There are other things there.

    Her coworker mentions tranquilizing herself through her wedding night.

    The movie builds up a fairly broad view of the potential for erotic tragedy.

    The other paintings are just some of Hitchcock’s MacGuffins.

    I’m not quite sure that could make sense: A MacGuffin is the thing people chase in a story to get the plot moving. I’m unpersuaded by that theory, myself, at least so long as the plot does make sense…

    The house, is, of course, Americanized, French Second Empire, and Hitchcock noted that he found these decaying houses up and down California (I think he talks about it in the Truffaut interviews), and in some ways, they are related to California’s own second “Imperial” period. The sort of time that is explored in the novels of Frank Norris around 1900. They were certainly symbolic of the Anglo period of agricultural development and wealth of the state that supplanted the Spanish-Mexican culture before it, and then, in turn, it had been displaced by newer more scientific farming and industrial development. Of course, this gave way to Hollywood, and modern chic in people’s popular conception of the state, and Hitchcock contrasted that older America with the current period in the picture.

    I do think the pictures are very telling. They all tie directly into the themes of the film. In Hitchcock’s McGuffins, they are an empty vessel for the plot – but I think they (the antique commercial copies of these famous paintings) are far too strongly tied to the material he is developing to dismiss. Although I can see why it is tempting to think he is pulling our leg, he was rather good at that!

    • #25
    • June 21, 2017 at 7:22 am
    • Like2 likes
  26. Profile photo of Ansonia Member

    I agree with Titus and Eric’s idea ( This is how I heard them.) that (1) Norman’s paintings and Marion’s photographs both reveal and represent the truth about these two people and (2) the paintings and photographs imply that it isn’t because the truth about ourselves and our actions is hidden from us that we don’t see it.

    We learn this through her lover’s joking remark: to waste her time having an affair, Marion has to avoid the photograph that reminds her the affair is, at least, offensive to her moral sentiments and a betrayal of her deepest desire. (Marion wants to be married.)

    To peep at people as if they were nothing more than bugs under a magnifying glass, Norman looks through or behind—not at— Susanna and the peeping elders.

    What Tom (Better half. He’s suddenly not thrilled with his name.) and I want to do is watch again that scene of the last conversation between Marion and Norman. In light of what Titus and Eric are saying, I want to find out if I also think, in that scene, Marion does make a kind of oblique confession to Norman; and if, in addition to finally wanting food after that disclosure, she also, in that scene, actually seems to be really seeing one of Norman’s paintings for the first time. If I’m not misremembering that this is the case, the implication is that we can’t really see the truth about others until we face the truth about ourselves. The blindness caused by the beam in one’s own eye can be fatal.

    It’s too bad we don’t all have more time. It might be interesting to see and discuss what, if anything, the remake of the movie tells us about changes in the culture since 1960; also, if it’s getting harder to get the 1960 movie from public libraries and, if so, why ? (I just had a strange phone conversation during the process of getting a young woman at my public library to discover that the library did, in fact, have the 1960 movie. At first, she said they didn’t have it. She discouraged getting it by inter library loan, saying it would take much longer that way than it usually does, due to some kind of reorganization going on. When I asked her if I could donate a copy of the movie to the library, after buying it new on Amazon, she immediately remembered where in the library to look for it. This conversation took place after Tom went to the library and couldn’t find the movie there, even though we took it out of the same library, two or three years ago, to watch it for the first time.)

    • #26
    • June 21, 2017 at 12:31 pm
    • Like1 like
  27. Profile photo of Theodoric of Freiberg Member

    Excellent podcast! I can’t wait for the next one on “The Birds.”

    You say that Marion doesn’t eat until she makes her “confession” to Norman, but she begins eating very soon after they sit down in the parlor before they really begin to talk. It is a strange meal. Her first bite is a very small piece of deli meat. Norman remarks that she eats like a bird. As they talk, she slowly butters a single slice of bread and breaks it into smaller pieces. She eats most of a half slice and places the rest back on the plate just before she makes her confession. Could this be seen as Marion partaking in half of the holy communion, eating the bread as the body of Christ but not drinking wine as His blood? The blood shows up after the baptism in the shower scene. When seen in this way the murder is even more horrifying.

    • #27
    • June 21, 2017 at 6:53 pm
    • Like5 likes
  28. Profile photo of Theodoric of Freiberg Member

    I saw Psycho for the first time in the 70s. Being a Hitchcock fan, I felt it was a good film, but not great — surely not one of his best. It seemed like a fairly superficial horror movie. Now I believe that is what Hitchcock wanted you to think upon your first viewing.

    Over the years, I’ve seen it several more times and my appreciation has grown, however I never read anything about the picture past a review by Roger Ebert. The podcast by Titus and Eric opened my eyes to so many new possibilities!

    From my first viewing, I regarded the parlor scene as the film’s best. Most viewers would choose the shower scene and some might select the discovery of mother in the fruit cellar. That makes sense because they are so shocking. But the parlor scene is Shakespearian. And now, with the additional information about the works of art within that room, it becomes even more interesting.

    To expand on my previous post about the parlor scene, I think that Norman can be seen as a priest (or more precisely, a false priest) administering the sacrament of Holy Communion and hearing Marion’s confession. Here’s my reasoning:

    At this point, the audience believes Norman to be a nice, “All-American Boy” who certainly looks like he could be a priest. He’s so nice, he can’t even say the word “bathroom” to Marion when showing the amenities in her motel room. He brings her dinner on a tray consisting of meat, bread and a pitcher of milk. Besides her eating a small piece of meat at the beginning of her meal, the only food that is visible is a large stack of bread. The milk cannot be seen because it is in an opaque pitcher from which Marion never partakes. We only know the pitcher’s contents because Norman tells her dinner will just be “milk and sandwiches.” So the bread is the dominant item on the tray and the only food that Marion really eats. Norman has brought her half of what is necessary for Holy Communion along with milk instead of the necessary wine. Half of Holy Communion is no Holy Communion. There is obviously something wrong with this “priest” and the shortcuts to salvation that he and the modern world prescribe.

    During their talk, Norman unwittingly draws out Marion’s “confession” and, for the first time, reveals that he is mentally unstable with his angry response to Marion’s suggestion that he put his mother “someplace.” He then somewhat recovers his veneer of normalcy, but Marion and the audience now know for certain that something is wrong with him.

    Once Marion leaves, the audience finds out that there is more than “something wrong.” We find out that the “priest” is corrupt when Norman spies on Marion undressing. Evil is concealed behind the respectability represented by this nice, “All-American Boy,” who looks like he could be a priest.

    • #28
    • June 22, 2017 at 1:51 pm
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  29. Profile photo of Ansonia Member

    Theodoric of Freiberg,

    Your last comment got me to watch the DVD we finally pulled out of the library.

    In the parlor scene, more than he is like a false priest, Norman—with his 12 empty rooms instead of 12 apostles—is like a false Jesus. He brings Marion her “last supper”. Marion, instead of the false Jesus, breaks the bread. The dominant item on the tray is the pitcher containing milk that—We realize this later.—may have been poisoned with strychnine. (I think it’s hinted that Norman may not have intended to kill Marion so quickly.)

    Titus and Eric are right. Without telling him anything about what she did, Marion clearly and deliberately acknowledges her “sin” and “repents” in front of Norman. (It’s significant that she doesn’t do this when he still appears to be someone she’d like to know better. Marion “confesses” to Norman after he appears to her to be a pathetic nut she intends to leave and forget. Then—recognizing only that he’s crazy and not sensing evil—she gives him what he was really prodding her to give him when he appeared to be questioning her out of compassion and concern. She gives him a reason to think she left no trail back to people who care about her—a name different from the one she put in the book, her real name.)

    • #29
    • June 23, 2017 at 8:52 am
    • Like4 likes
  30. Profile photo of CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member

    This is great stuff. It’s taken me three or four days but I’ve finally listened to the whole podcast — really fun gentlemen, thank you for your erudition and thoughtfulness.

    • #30
    • June 23, 2017 at 9:11 am
    • Like3 likes
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