Flickchart Comment #18: Psycho (1960) over Sunset Blvd. (1950)

Psycho (1960) Dir: Alfred Hitchcock - Currently ranked #9 on my Flickchart list
Sunset Blvd. (1950) Dir: Sunset Blvd. - Currently ranked #33 on my Flickchart list

Both films are ensconced in my Top 50 (at the writing of this comment) and I have watched both too many times to count. My love for both films is boundless. However, Flickchart is all about ranking, and there are no ties to be had. This is when it becomes personal.

In my teens, as I slowly developed a fascination with cinema, I scoured our high school library's arts and entertainment section for any book that was even tangentially film-related. On the shelves I eventually found a series of books edited by Richard Anobile which essentially laid down the foundation of my early film study. They were nothing more than photo books showing each revelatory frame in the film with the dialogue (in the case of the talkies) underneath the frame. In the early days of video, with many of the classic films not yet available to the public, forcing film fans to wait for television viewings or theatrical revivals, these books were cheap but invaluable reference books.

The titles that I pored through lunch after lunch for a couple of years included Frankenstein, Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon, all of which I memorized long before I ever saw these films. But the two most important volumes to me were Keaton's The General and Psycho. Psycho's cachet with me was largely built on the more forbidden aspect of that notorious shower scene, even then a thing of legend amongst youthful horror fans. Through this volume more than any viewing, I became an instant Hitchcock acolyte.

It's an amazingly solid bond that was created in me, and as a result, I will have to choose Psycho.

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