Bad day for Baddies

Three of the great, if not the greatest, Hitchcock baddies passed away on the 12th September…

Anthony Perkins (Norman Bates in “Psycho“, died 12/Sep/1992)

Hitchcock deliberately cast Perkins against type — all the better to keep us from realising that Norman isn’t normal, but is really Norma (Norm’s ma?)! Psycho bears out repeated viewings, if only to pick up on some of the very subtle acting from Perkins — the hesitation in picking which cabin key to give Marion, the way he reaches out and starts carressing one of his stuffed birds in the parlour…

Raymond Burr (Lars Thorwald in “Rear Window“, died 12/Sep/1993)

A number of sources claim that Burr was made-up to look like David O Selznick, the memo-pushing producer who pretty much controlled Hitchcock’s first 8 years in Hollywood.

No matter how many times I watch the film, the moment when Thorwald finally realises that he’s being watched (by James Stewart and by us, the audience) and turns to stare directly into the camera still sends a shiver down my spine :-D

Tom Helmore (Gavin Elster in “Vertigo“, died 12/Sep/1995)

Hitchcock often said it’s what you don’t see that is the most effective, and it’s only after repeated viewings that you begin to realise that Elster’s invisible hand is there throughout the first half of the film — — carefully deceiving both Scottie and “Madeleine” to ensure that he’ll get away with the murder of his real wife (who is seen only as the falling corpse).

Elster is surely the most cold-hearted and manipulative of all the Hitchcock baddies…

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