Psycho was an industry-altering movie. How Alfred Hitchcock got his shocking, iconic film approved by censors is also legendary. The well-known tale says the director submitted a strategic first cut he knew would be denied. It included dialogue and shots he never intended to leave in anyway. Hitchcock then used those elements as a negotiating tactic with the censors, agreeing to cut them while they let him leave in elements he did want. It worked like a charm. And his psychological thriller went on to become an influential smash hit of lasting importance. But what happened to that first version he submitted? What did it look like? We might finally get a chance to find out. For the first time ever his “uncut” Psycho is getting an American release.
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has announced a new box set, The Alfred Hitchcock Classics Collection. (Which we first heard about at /Film). It comes with all-new 4K-versions of some of the director’s classic films. The collection includes Rear Window, Vertigo, The Birds, “hours of bonus features,” and “the original uncut version of Psycho for the first time ever.”
There are no other details about exactly what that means. But the collection’s back cover seen on Amazon suggests this is a version no one has ever seen before.
Psycho Uncut: “The extended version of the movie as seen in theaters in 1960 is exactly as intended by Alfred Hitchcock and now available with additional footage for the first time.”
The regular Psycho cut blurb is also telling.
“The most widely seen version of the movie was edited for content and subsequently used for TV broadcasts, theatrical re-releases and home entertainment over the last 60 years.”
The movie has had numerous edits, in various forms and in different countries, over the years. In 2018, Dread Central reported on an “uncut” Psycho release set for Germany. And a previous fan video shows differences between a 2010 TV German airing of the film and the well-known theatrical release.
We’ll have to wait to see this “uncut” version when it comes out on September 8, 2020, the film’s 70th anniversary, to know exactly how it differs from the movie that changed Hollywood. It might not be clear even then if we’re seeing the infamous cut shrewdly submitted to censors.
But that’s only fitting. Alfred Hitchcock always knew how to keep us in suspense.
Featured Image: Universal Pictures