Psycho (1960), Act 04
Mary goes out of the parlor. We see her, from Norman’s viewpoint, as she crosses the small office, goes out into the night. Norman turns and looks at the table, and we see his face now. It is bright with that drunken-like look of determination and encouragement and like resolve. He starts to clean up the table, pauses as he hears the closing of Mary’s door in the cabin next door.
He holds still, listens. He goes into the office and looks at the book.
C.U. – THE NAME “SAMUELS”
M.S. – NORMAN
He goes back into the parlor with a mystified expression. The sound of Mary moving about her room come over, soft sounds, somehow intimate in the night quiet. Norman turns his ear from the direction of the sounds, seems to be fighting an impulse to listen, or more than listen.
But slowly, he is forced to surrender to the impulse and, resisting himself, he goes to the wall, presses the side of his head against it. The sounds come louder, as if we too had our ear pressed against the wall. Now Norman looks at a picture hanging on the far end of the wall he is leaning against. Slowly he starts toward it.
He reaches it, touches it, and reluctantly lifts the small frame off the wall. A tiny circle of light hits Norman’s face, coming from the hole in the wall behind the picture. This end of the room is very dim and thus we are able to see clearly the light striking Norman’s face. We move close to Norman, extremely close, until his profile fills the screen. The tiny spot of light hits his eye. See the small hole through which the light comes. Norman peeps through.
Through the hole we look into Mary’s cabin, see Mary undressing. She is in her bra and half-slip. She stoops over a bit, places her hands behind her upper back, begins to unhook her bra.
NORMAN – ECU
He watches as Mary removes her bra. We see his eye run up and down the unseen figure of Mary.
Mary, just slipping into a robe, covering her complete nudity.
He turns from the hole, faces us for a moment, continues turning until he can look out the small parlor window.
We see, as he sees …
THE HOUSE IN THE BACKGROUND
He turns his face away, quickly, resentfully. In his face we see anger and anguish. And then resolve.
Quickly, precisely, he rehangs the picture over the hole in the wall, turns, starts out of the parlor. We see him go through the office and out onto the porch, not even bothering to close the door behind him.
EXT. THE MOTEL OFFICE PORCH – (NIGHT)
Norman walking along the porch, in the direction of the big house. Once on the path he pauses, looks up at the light in the bedroom window, then pulls himself up, squares his shoulders, strides manfully up the path.
Camera follows behind him. He opens the door of the house, enters. We see him pause at the foot of the stairway, look up at the bedroom door just at the head of the stair. He holds for a moment, and then his resolve and courage evaporates. His shoulders slump, sadly, mournfully. He by-passes the stairs and slowly makes his way to the kitchen.
At the far end of the hall. He enters the kitchen, drops wearily into a chair. After a moment, he stretches out a leg and gently pushes the kitchen door closed.
INT. MARY’S MOTEL ROOM – (NIGHT)
Mary is seated at the small desk, engrossed in figuring in a small notebook. We see from these figures a calculation which indicates her intention to make a restitution of the money she has used of the forty thousand dollars. We see, too, her bankbook. The paper reads thus: top figure, 40,000; directly beneath it 500, the amount used for the new car; total after subtraction, 39,500. In another spot we see a figure which matches the balance in her bankbook; 624.00.
Beneath this is the figure 500, and the amount after subtraction, 124.00. She studies the figures, sighs, not wearily but with a certain satisfaction, with the pleasure that comes when one knows that at any cost one is going to continue doing the right thing. After a moment she tears the page out of the notebook and, rising, begins to rip it into small pieces. She goes into the bathroom, drops the pieces into the toilet bowl, and flushes the toilet. Then she drops her robe and steps into the tub and turns the shower on.
INT. MARY IN SHOWER
Over the bar on which hangs the shower curtain, we can see the bathroom door, not entirely closed. For a moment we watch Mary as she washes and soaps herself. There is still a small worry in her eyes, but generally she looks somewhat relieved.
Now we see the bathroom door being pushed slowly open. The noise of the shower drowns out any sound. The door is then slowly and carefully closed.
And we see the shadow of a woman fall across the shower curtain. Mary’s back is turned to the curtain. The white brightness of the bathroom is almost blinding.
Suddenly we see the hand reach up, grasp the shower curtain, rip it aside.
MARY – ECU
As she turns in response to the feel and sound of the shower curtain being torn aside. A look of pure horror erupts in her face. A low terrible groan begins to rise up out of her throat. A hand comes into the shot. The hand holds an enormous bread knife. The flint of the blade shatters the screen to an almost total, silver blankness.
An impression of a knife slashing, as if tearing at the very screen, ripping the film. Over it the brief gulps of screaming. And then silence. And then the dreadful thump as
Mary’s body falls in the tub.
The blank whiteness, the blur of the shower water, the hand pulling the shower curtain back. We catch one flicker of a glimpse of the murderer. A woman, her face contorted with madness, her head wild with hair, as if she were wearing a fright-wig. And then we see only the curtain, closed across the tub, and hear the rush of the shower water. Above the shower-bar we see the bathroom door open again and after a moment we hear the sound of the front door slamming.
THE DEAD BODY
Lying half in, half out of the tub, the head tumbled over, touching the floor, the hair wet, one eye wide open as if popped, one arm lying limp and wet along the tile floor.
Coming down the side of the tub, running thick and dark along the porcelain, we see many small threads of blood.
Camera follows away from the body, travels slowly across the bathroom, past the toilet, out into the bedroom. As camera approaches the bed, we see the folded newspaper as Mary placed it on the bedside table.
CLOSE UP – THE NEWSPAPER
Beside the bed. The camera now moves away over to the window and looks up to the house, and as it gets there we hear, coming from within the house, the sound of Norman’s fearful, shocked voice.
“Mother! Oh God, what… blood, blood… mother…!”
We cannot entirely distinguish these exclamations. After a moment or two of silence, Norman emerges from the front door, dashes down the path toward the motel.
QUICK CUT TO:
EXT. THE PATH – (NIGHT)
Norman is coming at camera, running head-on. He dashes into an extreme close up and we see the terror and fear ripe in his face. Camera pans as Norman races past, holds as Norman runs to the porch and quickly along it and directly to Mary’s room.
INT. MARY’S CABIN – (NIGHT)
Norman pauses a moment in the doorway, glances about the room, hears the shower going, sees the bathroom door is open. He goes to the bathroom, looks in, and sees the body.
Slowly, almost carefully, he raises his hands to his face, covers his eyes, and turns his face away. Then he crosses to the window, looks out at the house. Shot is so angled that we see the bedside table with the newspaper on it.
After a moment, Norman moves from the window, sinks onto the edge of the bed.
FRESH ANGLE – BEHIND NORMAN
Norman sitting on bed, the bathroom in b.g. of shot. We can see only the hand of the dead girl, lying along the tile floor. Norman presses his eyes, fights to find a way out of his dilemma. Slowly, a kind of settling comes upon him, the peace that comes with decision.
Norman rises, goes to the window, looks out, and then, with resolution, closes the window and draws the curtain across it. Then he crosses to the front window, facing the porch, and draws those curtains closed. Then he switches off the bedroom light, leaving the room lit only by the spill from the bathroom. He opens the front door, goes out.
EXT. THE HOTEL PORCH – (NIGHT)
Norman comes out of Mary’s cabin, closes the door carefully behind him, goes along the porch to his office, and goes in. We stay outside. Immediately, the “Vacancy” sign goes off, and then the motel sign goes off. As the camera goes closer to the office, the lights within go off and we hear a closet door opening and then the sound of a pail being picked up. Norman comes out of office, closes door, looks cautiously about, goes along porch, carrying pail with mop in it, and goes into Mary’s cabin, closing the door after him.
INT. MARY’S CABIN
With the paper in the foreground, Norman enters. We can see him in the dim spill of light. He pauses by the door, then gathers his strength and goes into the bathroom. We hear him set the pail on the tiled floor, and then we hear the shower being turned off. And there is total silence.
The camera moves forward so that we can see into bathroom. The camera is angled so that we see Norman only from the waist up. Quickly and deftly he unhooks the shower curtain, emerges with it into the bedroom. The camera pans down and we see him spread the shower curtain on the bedroom floor, just outside the bathroom door. He spreads the curtain so that one end of it comes up against the bathroom threshold and slightly over and onto the tile floor. Again he goes into the bathroom and the camera tilts up so that we see only the upper half of Norman.
He works carefully, with his arms extended away from his body, slowly pulls the dead body out of the tub, and drags it across the tile floor and onto the spread-out shower curtain in the bedroom. Having arranged the body, he straightens up, examines his hands, and sees bloodstains on them. He returns to the bathroom, goes to the hand-basin.
We see his hands being washed, see the bloodstains being diluted and washed away by the gush of the faucet water.
We see Norman shake his hands free of the water, then turn to the job of cleaning the bathroom. He places the pail in the tub, runs water into it, dips the mop in, and swabs the tile floor. With a towel he wipes off the wall over the tub and the edges and sides of the tub and even the shower curtain rod. Then he takes a second towel and goes over the cleaned areas, carefully drying them. Finally he rinses and squeezes out the mop, empties the pail, cleans out the tub, and goes out into the bedroom.
INT. MARY’S BEDROOM
Norman steps carefully around the unseen body, crosses to the desk, starts going through Mary’s handbag, in search of her car keys. He suddenly notices them lying on the desk, where he’d thrown them after parking her car. He picks up the keys, crosses the room, and goes out.
EXT. THE PORCH
We see Norman pauses at the door, check cautiously, then hurry across the porch and into Mary’s car. He circle-turns the car, so that its trunk is backed up to the turns porch, directly opposite Mary’s door, as close as it can go. Then he alights, goes to the trunk, opens it with the key and, leaving the trunk lid raised, and goes back into the cabin.
INT. MARY’S ROOM
From a raised angle, we see Norman bend down and begin to wrap the shower curtain around the body. We see the edges of the curtain as they are raised and laid down again. Then he picks up the wrapped body, crosses to the door, uses his foot to pull the door open, and, leaving the door open behind him, goes quickly across the porch and gently lays the body in the trunk. He closes the lid then, but does not lock it. He comes back into the cabin, closes the door completely, and flicks on the light. Again the newspaper is in the foreground. For a moment he pauses, closes his eyes against the realization of what he is doing, then quickly pushes all thoughts away, continues with his work. With the room lighted, he now proceeds to gather up all Mary’s articles and toss them into the suitcase. He checks all drawers and the closet, gets down and checks under bed and bureau, goes into the bathroom, checks that room again, comes back into the bedroom, looks about carefully, spots Mary’s handbag, throws even that into the suitcase, is finally satisfied that all traces of the girl are gone from the room. Then he closes Mary’s suitcase, picks it up.
With his free hand he picks up the pail, in which are the mop and the used towels. He crosses to the door, switches off the light with his shoulder, pulls open the door, starts out.
EXT. THE PORCH
As Norman stands in the doorway, he is suddenly and blindingly lit by the bright headlights of a passing car. The flash of the lights and the sound of the speeding car are over in a flicker of a moment, but it takes a few seconds for Norman to regain his former tense composure. Then he goes to the car trunk, raises it with his foot, throws the suitcase and the pail into it, and slams it shut. He pauses a moment, then realizes he has left the bathroom light on in Mary’s cabin. He returns to cabin. As he enters, his eye is caught by the newspaper on the bedside table. He goes to it, takes the newspaper, and looks once again into the bathroom. His glance goes right over the toilet bowl.
He turns out the lights, crosses the darkened cabin, and goes out onto the porch.
He reopens the trunk, tosses in the newspaper and closes it. He goes around and jumps into the car and starts away. We hold on the trunk, follow it for a while, then …
EXT. THE SWAMP – (NIGHT)
The car pulls away from a close angle on the trunk and as the camera holds we see that we are now in a swamp area. It is quiet except for the irritating noises of night insects.
Norman stops the car at the very edge of the swamp, turns off the lights, and gets out, leaving door open. He looks at the swamp, seems doubtful of its ability to swallow up the car, and realizes he has no choice. He leans into the car, releases the emergency brake, starts to push. The front of the car begins to roll into the swamp.
We’re lulled sidewise, momentarily, into introspection. By an old wives’ tale of the Victorian era. If your intent is to kill a lunatic, make sure that you cut their head off. Attributing supernatural abilities to the insane?
Suddenly there is the low, throbbing sound of a motor. Norman freezes, listens. The sound grows louder and Norman realizes it is an airplane flying overhead. The car is rolling quickly now.
Norman jumps away, slams the door shut, and stands tense. The sound of the plane overhead grows louder.
Norman looks up.
NORMAN’S VIEWPOINT – THE BLACK SKY
We see no plane. The sound of the motor is beginning to diminish.
CUT BACK TO:
We see the relief in his face. He looks at the car. More than two-thirds of it have already sunk into the swamp. The trunk alone seems to hold poised above the sand and slime, as if refusing to go the rest of the way. Norman begins to panic, he steps dangerously close, pushes with his foot. And slowly the car sinks, until finally it is gone and we hear only the gentle plop of the swamp’s final gulp, and see only the small after-bubble, like a visual burp.
Norman waits a moment, then begins stamping out the tire marks, so obvious in the wet ground around the swamp.
He stamps and drags his feet over the markings as we:
CLOSE UP NORMAN
Standing on the porch of the motel, leaning against a post. He is staring out into the night, a look of guarded, casual innocence on his face, as if he were taking one last moment of peaceful night air before retiring. Then he glances down and the camera follows his gaze. A hose is lying on the ground outside Mary’s cabin, its stream of water obliterating the tire marks.
After a moment, Norman’s hand comes into shot, picks up hose, and places it in a new position. As the camera pulls back, we see that the water from the hose has erased and rearranged the road markings so that it would be impossible to tell that a car had been parked here.
After a short wait, Norman goes to the hose-faucet, turns it off, and unscrews the hose. As he rolls the hose, he walks away from the spot, past the office, heading for the path that leads to the house. He goes up the path, pauses at the steps of the house, tosses the curled hose onto the lawn, and goes up the steps and into the house. The camera follows him in, pauses as he pauses at the foot of the stairs. Norman goes up the stairs.
On the landing he stops. The door to his mother’s room is closed. Lying in a heap outside the door are a blood-stained dress and a pair of elderly-woman’s shoes. From an extremely high angle, we look down on Norman as he bends to pick up the stained dress and shoes.
He rolls the shoes into the dress, tucks the small, neat bundle under his arm, and starts down the stairs, heading for the basement.
EXT. A LONG SHOT OF THE OLD HOUSE – (NIGHT)
It stands silhouetted against the sky. There is a long wait. Then, slowly, a curl of smoke comes out of the chimney.
INT. BACK ROOM OF SAM’S HARDWARE STORE IN FAIRVALE – (DAY)
Sam is seated at his desk, writing a letter. Sequence begins with the camera in close, over Sam’s shoulder, and we can read as much as he has written of the letter. The letterhead reads “Sam Loomis – Hardware,” and the letter reads: “Dearest right-as-always Mary: I’m sitting in this tiny back room which isn’t big enough for both of us, and suddenly it looks big enough for both of us. So what if we’re poor and cramped and miserable, at least we’ll be happy! If you haven’t come to your senses, and still want to …”
The camera begins pulling away as Sam turns the sheet of paper over, continues backing away out of the small back room and heads, backwards, down the corridor, we see a young clerk, Bob Summerfield, Sam’s assistant, standing behind the counter, a look of handsome patience on his face. He is waiting on a meticulous, elderly woman customer, who is holding and examining a large can of insecticide. As camera passes:
“They tell you what its ingredients are and how it’s guaranteed to exterminate any insect in the world, but they do not tell you whether or not it’s painless. And I say insect or man, death should always be painless.”
The camera, by this has reached the front door of the hardware store and we now see a girl standing just inside the door. She is an attractive girl with a rather definite manner, a look of purposefulness. She carries a handbag and a small overnight case. She is Mary’s sister, Lila Crane.
Bob Summerfield has noticed Lila, smiles brightly at her, gives her an I’ll-be-with-you-in-a-moment nod.
Lila starts to walk toward the counter, never taking her eyes off Bob. As she approaches, she asks quietly:
“You want to see Sam?”
Yelling toward back room.
“Sam! Lady wants to see you!”
Lila looks to the back room. The woman customer goes on worriedly examining the fine print of the insecticide can. Sam comes to the door of his room, pauses, looks at Lila a moment, starts toward her, his expression indicating that he does not know her. Lila studies him with a quiet, worried expression.
“May I talk to you?”
A bit mystified.
Lila glances at the customer and the clerk, turns, starts toward the front of the store. Sam holds a moment, then follows. As he reaches her, she turns, her eyes studying him intently as she says:
“I’m Mary’s sister.”
“Is Mary here?”
Sam is mystified, and is also aware of the worried, hostile expression on Lila’s face. He studies her for a quiet moment.
Behind them is a display of various size carving knives. There is also a display of vintage Liston dissection knives, one of which is missing.
“Is something wrong?”
“I want to know if my sister is here.”
“I don’t know where. In your store, somewhere in your town … anywhere.”
“What’s the matter?”
“Don’t you know?”
As Sam is about to speak, the woman customer comes sailing past, speaking as she goes and wearing a satisfied smile.
“All I can do is hope if it isn’t painless, it’s quick!”
She speaks “quick” with a kind of delicious bite, nods happily, and goes on out of the store. Sam is now staring apprehensively at Lila.
“What should I know?”
“To begin with, where Mary is. Do you?”
“No. I take it you don’t either?”
As Lila shakes her head.
“Last Friday. She left work, and home … I was in Tucson over the weekend … I haven’t heard from her, not even a phone call.”
“And you thought she’d come up here, to me? If she had, what reason would she have for not calling you?”
“A good reason, I suppose.”
“Well what do you think, we eloped or something? Or we’re living in sin and …”
“Mr. Loomis, you’re so busy being defensive that you haven’t even reacted to the most serious fact of all. Mary is missing.”
“I was getting to that!”
“What do you know about it?”
“Nothing! You’re putting me on the defensive.”
“Look, if you two are in this thing together, I don’t care, it’s none of my business … But I want to see Mary. I want her to tell me she’s all right and it’s none of my business. Then I’ll go back to Phoenix and …”
She stops, the anxiety and fear building up in her, her eyes beginning to fill with worried tears. Sam studies her for a moment, then turns and calls:
“Bob? Run out and get yourself some lunch.”
“It’s okay, Sam, I brought it with me.”
“Run out and eat it.”
Bob gets the message, goes out through the back way. Sam goes closer to Lila, speaks with soft seriousness.
“What thing could we be in together?”
“I hate tears.”
Takes out hankie.
“Is Mary … in trouble?”
“Well why didn’t she come to me … call me …?”
“Not that kind …”
Almost a smile.
“You men and your egos.”
“Never mind my ego. Let’s talk about Mary.”
Their attention is distracted by a man who has strolled quietly into the room. He ignores them, walks past them, goes behind the counter, takes down a sign reading “CLOSED FOR LUNCH,” walks back to the door, closes door, hangs the sign across the door window, locks the door, turns to Sam and Lila, folds his arms, smiles a particularly unfriendly smile.
“Let’s all talk about Mary.”
“Who are you, friend?”
“Milt Arbogast, Private Investigator.”
“Where is she, Miss Crane?”
“I don’t know.”
“Wouldn’t have been able to tail you if you did.”
“What’s your interest?”
There is a moment’s silence and then, unable to tolerate the sudden frightening happenings, Sam explodes.
“Somebody better tell me what’s going on and tell me fast! I can take so much and then …”
“Your girlfriend stole forty thousand dollars.”
Sam looks at Arbogast in utter shock and in that state asks one of those seemingly ridiculous questions.
An almost amused smile.
“Must’ve needed it.”
“What are you talking about?”
“What is this?”
“She was supposed to bank it, on Friday, for her boss. She didn’t. And no one has seen her since.”
Looking at Sam.
“Someone has seen her. Someone always sees a girl with forty thousand dollars.”
“She is your girlfriend, isn’t she?”
“Sam, they don’t want to prosecute, they just want the money back. It was all in cash …”
Correcting with Cassidy’s word.
“Sam, if she’s here …”
A real look of anguish comes into Lila’s face. And Arbogast studies it, then speaks.
“You came up here on a hunch, Miss Crane? Nothing more? No phone call … from him, or from your sister herself?”
“Not even a hunch. Just hope.”
“With a little checking, I could get to believe you.”
“I don’t care if you do or … I want to see Mary … before she gets in any deeper …”
“Did you check in Phoenix … hospitals … maybe she had an accident … a hold-up …”
“She was seen leaving town in her car. Seen by her very victims, I might add.”
After a moment.
“I don’t believe it.”
To Lila, slowly.
A thoughtful pause.
“Yes … I just … did. The moment they told me …”
“You might have doubted for say five minutes or so, Sister.”
Lila turns from Sam, a flush of guilt and regret in her face. Arbogast looks at her, quiet sympathetically.
“We’re always quickest to doubt people who have a record for being honest. I think she’s here, Miss Crane. Where there’s a boyfriend … “
Trails off, smiles encouragingly.
“She won’t be back there among the nuts and bolts … but she’ll be in this town … somewhere. I’ll find her.”
He nods, takes down the closed-for-lunch sign, sails it to the counter, opens door, goes out into the street.
After a quiet moment:
“I just listened … and believed everything they told me. ‘She stole the money.’ ‘We don’t want to get her in trouble.’ ‘No don’t bring the police in’ …”
“It was her boss’ idea not to report it to the police?”
“No. The man whose money she … he talked so loud and fast, and I … I should’ve called the police.”
“He must have had a darn good reason for wanting them kept out of it … All that cash …”
“I ought to call the police right now!”
“Why not? Sam, is she hiding here? Are you two planning to go away with the money?”
“How could I go away? I’m in debt up to my …”
Smiles at the incongruity of his reply, then goes serious.
“If she did steal that money … It’s hard to believe she did because it’s hard to see why she would. Unless she had some wild idea that it would help me … us …”
“She haven’t even called you?”
“I didn’t see her… and I didn’t hear from her! Believe that!”
“I need to … I need to believe something. This is the first time I’ve ever come up against anything I couldn’t… understand.”
“You’ve led a charmed life.”
“No. I just think … anything can be explained. But Mary, doing a thing like this … I don’t know how to handle …”
“Maybe we can handle it together.”
He smiles encouragingly.
A rueful shrug.
“I came flying up here expecting to get some explanation … for all I know, she may be trying to get in touch with me, at home. I’d better go home.”
A thoughtful pause.
“I think she’ll contact me if she contacts anybody. Why don’t you stay here? When she shows up … or calls … be here.”
A long study, her suspicion of him evaporating.
“You want me to stay here?”
“She’ll need both of us.”
“Where … can I stay?”
“First rate hotel, fifty yards up the street. Come on.”
As he reaches for the closed-for-lunch sign.
“After we check you in we’ll go to the drugstore and get you a sandwich. Then we’ll come back here … and wait.”
He hangs the sign on the door, ushers Lila out, and closes the door behind him.