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Random thoughts about sound and vision.

Coming Attractions: PSYCHO (1960)

Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho broke new ground in so many ways - its craftsmanship, its defiance of movie taboos, its use of shocking imagery...and also in its marketing. Hitchcock, realising how important it was to carefully prepare an audience, was involved in much of its advertising and particularly, with its unique teaser trailer.

As well as being known as a director of top-notch thrillers, Hitchcock had in recent years become a celebrity in his own right. His eagerly awaited cameo appearances in his own films paved the way to a career on the other side of the camera, in the emerging arena of television . In 1955, he launched Alfred Hitchcock Presents, presenting brief monologues at the start of each weekly episode in his own inimitable dry style.

His mastery of the technique by 1960 can be seen in the specially-made teaser trailer for Psycho. Strolling around the movie's sets, "the fabulous" Mr Hitchcock plays the avuncular host - dispensing cryptic explanations, red herrings and clues as he goes. Unusually for a trailer, which due to time constraints often have to use music from other films, you can hear Bernard Herrmann's actual score playing in the background.

Clocking in at nearly six and a half minutes, this proved to be a highly effective way of introducing the audience to what lay ahead in Psycho. Hitchcock was determined that no actual footage from the film appear in its trailers, so he spent three days towards the end of the film's production on making this classic teaser trailer.

As a piece of trivia, have a closer look at the screaming woman behind the shower curtain. No, it's not Janet Leigh recreating her famous demise - it's Vera Miles in a blonde wig. Another of Hitchcock's jokes at our expense, it usefully hid who in his cast was actually going to fall victim to the knife.