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December 1, 2023

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Psycho 63 years ago, Psycho 25 years ago

I see a friend’s film “Psycho” from 1960 and immediately afterwards the remake by Gus van Sant from 1998. Regarding the technology of the film screening: The film is projected onto a screen using a projector. At the beginning you can see the file names of the films, they look like file sharing file names. An air filter device runs throughout the entire film evening, which is a big improvement regardless of Corona, because on these film evenings there are a lot of people in a very small room and the air used to be cut. Now you hardly notice the crowd anymore, and the noise of the filter device is a small price to pay for it.

The remake is almost shot for shot identical to the original. This makes it easy to compare the existing technology:

The other spectators, who are younger than me, laugh at the first appearance of the sister of the murdered Marion Crane. I’ll ask why later. One says she was wearing Walkman headphones. He also had that as a child, but it was funny to him to see something like that on an adult. I didn’t even notice that she was wearing headphones. There was also apparently a moment where she says that she still needs to get her Walkman, and in the original, something else is picked up at this point. But I missed that in both versions (other than the headphones due to inattention and not because the technology was too inconspicuous for me).

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In 1960, the private detective gets out of his car on the right, even though the steering wheel is on the left. I assume there is a continuous bench and he wants to go to the right (where the motel is). It looks like a very easy exit process without any contortions. Surprisingly, the same is true in 1998. Unfortunately, I didn’t pay attention to whether the private detective drives a vintage car for this purpose.

In both films, this private investigator uses a phone booth to call Marion Crane’s boyfriend and her sister. In both cases he inserts coins, only the first telephone has a rotary dial. It is labeled with letters on the outside, similar to the buttons on old cell phones. I’ve never seen this before, but you probably needed it to call vanity numbers in the US. The 1998 phone no longer has a rotary dial, but buttons. Theoretically, everyone could have had cell phones, but they don’t. That would be a problem with a third remake, someone says at the film evening, because then the plot would no longer work in various places. But the person doesn’t elaborate.

In 1960, the sheriff’s wife calls a telephone operator and says that the sheriff wants to be connected to the Bates Motel. The conversation takes place immediately. This is still the case in 1998, although manual brokerage probably no longer existed in rural areas of the USA at that time.

I don’t remember any technology that existed in 1998 (apart from cars) from the remake. I think there was a TV in the new motel room. Everything at the front desk was still done without a computer, and I think Marion Crane’s company did the same.

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(Kathrin Passig)

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