Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

People We Like: Janet Leigh on Psycho

What a terrific photograph of Janet Leigh [photographer: Nocoletta Zalaffi] for a "Sight and Sound" interview with Janet back in 1969. Janet here expounds on her career in a very insightful interview, giving praise as she always did to those directors who really shaped her career: Von Sternberg, Welles, and of course Alfred Hitchcock. Also she discusses the making of MY SISTER EILEEN, that delightful Richard Quine musical from '55 with Bob Fosse (who remained a friend), and her work with Anthony Mann and John Frankenheimer.

Janet also wrote her autobiography "There Really Was A Hollywood" and two novels, and she had a happy lasting marriage (until her death aged 77 in 2004) after the Tony Curtis years (when they were always in the movie magazines). Of the Curtis films I particularly like THE VIKINGS and always have to tune in whenever its screened, though I have the dvd!. Janet was very prolific throughout the 50s in films good and bad (they don't get much worse than PRINCE VALIANT or THE BLACK SHIELD OF FALWORTH) but items like SAFARI or THE PERFECT FURLOUGH (STRICTLY FOR PLEASURE here in the UK, Furlough is not a word we use here...) were staples of one's childhood filmgoing in the '50s.

She also co-authored a book on the making of PSYCHO and she often told about how she and Hitch got on, and his sense of humour on the set. They had several meetings before starting PSYCHO and he told her he was not going to tell her how to act, as if he did not think she could act then he would not have her in his picture. He told her the qualities he needed and let her create the role - as long as her concept did not interfere with what he needed at certain points then she was free to do whatever she wanted! Its certainly one way of giving the actor freedom to contribute to the creative process! She went out and bought the kind of clothes Marion would have afforded on her salary and did her hair herself etc. She certainly delivers in PSYCHO as she outlines the curve of Marion's journey from stealing the money (only $40,000!) to her decision to go back and return it after her conversation with that strange young man at the motel. THE NAKED SPUR, TOUCH OF EVIL [more odd goings-on at a deserted motel... and she had her arm in a cast during the shoot!] and THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE are also highlights of Janet's hollywood years. She is also terrific in the 1963 comedy WIVES AND LOVERS.

It was always a pleasure to see Janet. My full appreciation on her is on IMDb at:

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