SPOILER: At the end of the shower scene, the first few seconds of the camera pull-back from Janet Leigh's face is a freeze-frame. Alfred Hitchcock did this because, while viewing the rushes, his wife noticed the pulse in Leigh's neck throbbing.
SPOILER: Alfred Hitchcock received several letters from ophthalmologists who noted that Janet Leigh's eyes were still contracted during the extreme closeups after her character's death. The pupils of a true corpse dilate after death. They told Hitchcock he could achieve a proper dead-eye effect by using belladonna drops. Hitchcock did so in all his later films.
SPOILER: In the Collector's Edition DVD documentary, Janet Leigh says that a nude body double was used in portions of the shower scene. The DVD notes include a quote from Alfred Hitchcock, in an interview with 'Francois Truffaut', in which he says the same thing.
# # SPOILER: Alfred Hitchcock (and his cinematographer) may actually have put one over on the censors. If you watch the sequence of the hand clutching around the shower curtain, you will see the curtain on the left side of the frame, the hand comes in center frame and diverts you from what can just been seen out of focus in the background right of the frame. If you increase the contrast on your monitor (particularly effective by tilting the monitor of a portable DVD player) the background visual information clearly resolves itself into a pair of naked breasts. Janet Leigh claims that she was not nude during the filming of this scene and was actually wearing a moleskin suit for the shot where she falls forward over the side of the tub. This is not disputed, but there was a nude model used for overhead and insert shots; this would be the case for the breast shot in question. Leigh insisted to her death that no nude woman, herself or a stand-in, was used in the actual filming, but modern video technology, including frame-by-frame advance, reveals one, in profile so as to expose no "private parts" and with the top of the frame at shoulder level so as to prevent identification.
SPOILER: Alfred Hitchcock even had a canvas chair with "Mrs. Bates" written on the back prominently placed and displayed on the set throughout shooting. This further added to the enigma surrounding who was the actress playing Mrs. Bates.
SPOILER: Janet Leigh wore moleskin adhesive patches covering her private parts when she acted out the shower scene so she would not really be nude and the camera would not pick up anything supposedly obscene. However, after the warm water of the shower washed off the moleskin, Alfred Hitchcock still did one more take. The take was used in the finished film.
# # SPOILER: Joseph Stefano and Alfred Hitchcock deliberately layered-in certain risqué elements as a ruse to divert the censors from more crucial concerns - like the action that takes place in the bedroom in the beginning and the shower murder. The censors reviewed the script and censored the "unimportant" extra material and Hitchcock managed to sneak in his "important" material.
SPOILER: Janet Leigh only had three weeks to work on the movie and spent the whole of one of those weeks filming the shower sequence.
SPOILER: The MPAA objected to the use of the term "transvestite" to describe Norman Bates in the final wrap-up. They insisted it be removed until Joseph Stefano proved to them it was a clinical psychology term. They thought he was trying to get one over on them and place a vulgarity in the picture.
SPOILER: Controversy arose years later when Saul Bass made claims that he had done the complete planning, and even directed the famous shower scene. Those who worked on the film have refuted this claim.
SPOILER: When Alfred Hitchcock was off due to illness, the crew shot the sequence of Arbogast inside the house going up the stairs. When Hitchcock saw the footage, he complimented those responsible but said the sequence had to be re-shot. Their version made it appear as if Arbogast was going up the stairs to commit a murder. Hitchcock re-shot the sequence.
SPOILER: The stabbing scene in the shower is reported to have taken seven days to shoot using 70 different camera angles but only lasts 45 seconds in the movie.
SPOILER: The novel upon which the film is based was inspired by the true story of Ed Gein, a serial killer who was also the inspiration for Deranged (1974), The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), and The Silence of the Lambs (1991).
# # SPOILER: Immediately prior to the closing sequence of Norman Bates in his jail cell, as the camera moves down the hallway to where police have confined him, the uniformed guard at the cell door is Ted Knight, best remembered as pompous, dim-witted news anchor Ted Baxter on "Mary Tyler Moore" (1970).
# # SPOILER: In Robert Bloch's novel, Norman Bates is short, fat, older, and very dislikable. It was Alfred Hitchcock who decided to have him be young, handsome, and sympathetic. Norman is also more of a main character in the novel. The story opens with him and Mother fighting rather than following Marion from the start.