Alfred Hitchcock’s wife Alma and his daughter Patricia both played a part in the making of Psycho.
An important theme in Alfred Hitchcock’s movies is the instability and unhappiness of marriage, so it is somewhat ironic that Hitchcock himself appears to have had a very stable marriage. Unlike many Hollywood marriages which are often short-lived, Alfred’s lasted over fifty years. He married Alma Reville in 1926 and remained her husband until his death in 1980. Many say Alma was his most trusted professional advisor.
Alma Reville was a talented screenwriter and editor who actually started her career in the film industry before Alfred did. Her name appears in the credits of sixteen of his films. She worked together with him on writing the scripts and doing the editing for many of his movies. By the time Psycho was filmed she was not playing as active a role in her husband’s career but there is a story about how she may have ‘saved’ Alfred from shipping Psycho to the distributors with a flaw.
Actor Norman Lloyd who had roles in several Hitchcock’s films and was an executive producer of the Hitchcock television series, said in an interview that Alfred Hitchcock never signed off on a picture until he and Alma had watched it and she had said everything in the film was okay. When the lights came up in the projection room after Alfred and Alma had their final showing of Psycho, Alma told her husband he still needed to do some editing before he shipped the film. She had noticed that when the dead character Marion Crane was lying on the bathroom floor she swallowed once. No one else working on the picture had noticed that swallow, but Alma did and Alfred cut out the frame with the ‘swallow’, before shipping the movie to his distributors.
Alfred’s daughter Patricia has a role in the movie Psycho as a receptionist and secretary in Marion Crane’s office. She offers to share the tranquilizers she took to get through her wedding night with Marion and seems almost disappointed that a wealthy client doesn’t flirt with her the way he does with Marion. She plays a perfect foil for Marion.
Patricia had small roles in three of her father’s films and ten of his television shows before getting married, having three daughters and retiring from the movie industry. She co-authored a book about her mother so people would know what an important role Alma played in Alfred Hitchcock’s work. The book contains many stories about the Hitchcock’s family life. Patricia claims that despite her father’s notoriety, she had a very normal and happy childhood.
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