Hitchcock’s Psycho Changed Its Star’s Life Forever With a Single Scene
A piece of cinematic history that has changed lives.
In the world of cinema, there are moments that transcend the screen and leave their mark not only on the audience but on the lives of those involved in their creation. One such indelible moment can be found in Alfred Hitchcock's iconic masterpiece, Psycho, which would forever change the life of its star, Janet Leigh.
Janet Leigh's portrayal of Marion Crane in Hitchcock's 1960s horror classic may have been brief, but more than 60 years later it remains the role for which the actress is most celebrated.
Leigh has left an enduring legacy within the horror genre, and that legacy is inseparable from the unforgettable shower scene in which Marion meets her untimely demise at the hands of Norman Bates.
The scene takes place at the Bates Motel, where Janet Leigh's character, Marion Crane, checks in under a false identity, seeking refuge after stealing a significant sum of money. Her life takes a sinister turn when she enters room number 1 and never leaves it again.
When Marion decides to take a shower, as she stands under the running water, the door to the bathroom slowly opens and a shadowy figure appears. In a hectic and terrifying sequence, the figure begins to stab Marion repeatedly to the accompaniment of screeching violins in Bernard Herrmann's score.
Though the filming of Psycho was a seamless process, thanks to Mr. Hitchcock's meticulous preparation, as Janet Leigh would later acknowledge, it was this unforgettable shower scene that truly changed the actress's life.
In a testament to the power of suggestion and film's ability to blur the lines between reality and fiction, Janet Leigh's account of her life after Psycho revealed that the actress stopped showering and only took a bath after filming that life-changing scene.
When she had to take a shower in real life, Leigh took meticulous precautions, locking doors and windows, leaving the bathroom door half-open, and keeping the shower curtain open, constantly guarding the entrance.
It was the lingering paranoia from the suspenseful nature of the scene that prompted these measures and forever impacted the actress' mind (via Woman's World).
As a testament to the enduring impact of cinema on its actors, Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho is more than just a classic film. It not only changed Janet Leigh's life, it redefined the horror genre, all within the confines of one iconic scene.
Source: Woman’s World