100 Movies in 100 Days / Movies

100 Years of Movies in 100 Days – Day 51 – Psycho/The Bad Sleep Well (1960)

Janet Leigh, meet Norman Bates.

Janet Leigh, meet Norman Bates.

I tried to sit thru my first Akira Kurosawa movie of this marathon, The Bad Sleep Well, but the bad/missing translation combined with this oppressive heat just irritated me to no end. I wasn’t going to sit thru two hours plus of this horrible half-assed translation. So I switched to the classic Hitchcock suspense movie, Psycho and now I probably won’t be able to take a shower for a while. Great.

I guess since I watched a portion of the Kurosawa movie, I should at least comment on what it’s about, at least the amount that I watched. The story, in general, is about a bunch of corrupt businessmen (there’s an oxymoron) getting their come-uppance. The movie begins at a wedding and Kurosawa does an excellent job of putting in the pit with a bunch of journalists who are observing this “interesting” wedding. That’s about as far as I got. Like I said, the translation was horrible and even though I can understand a majority of what the actors were saying, seeing the F.O.B. translation at the bottom got annoying. The rest of the movie is about the young man who marries this woman, who happens to be the daughter of one of these corrupt S.O.B.s and (is cripple) and how the young man uses her to avenge his father’s suicide.

Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura in Akira Kurosawa's "The Bad Sleep Well"

Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura in Akira Kurosawa's "The Bad Sleep Well"

So then Psycho. In the two movies that I’ve watched Janet Leigh in so far, she’s been carrying a briefcase. Just an observation. In Touch of Evil, she’s holding Charlie Heston’s briefcase that carries his gun that ends up being used in a murder. In Psycho, she’s stolen $40,000 and absconds to the lovely Bates Motel, where the caretaker has Mommy issues and, well, I’m not going to ruin that part for you.

The shower scene is, of course classic, but equally tense is the staircase scene toward the end as Leigh enters the Bates Motel. The shadows, the music, the atmosphere. It’s all top-notch. I do however need to break away from using Hitch as a crutch. Similarly to Chaplin’s movies in the early part of this sojourn, Hitch’s movies, while great, have been my fall back one too many times.

Norman Bates = "Psycho"

Norman Bates = "Psycho"

Other movies from 1960 include Spartacus, the Jack Lemmon classic The Apartment, the French New Wave crime drama Breathless, Fellini’s La Dolce Vita and The Magnificent Seven, a blatant rip-off of Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai. Tomorrow, Paul Newman. Jackie Gleason. A pool table and an epic/classic showdown.

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