Collecting Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho Movie Posters and Memorabilia
Sir Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980) is duly recognized as the grand master of filmmaking. Hitchcock's 1960 horror movie classic Psycho remains one of his most popular films, with collectors willing to pay big dollars for all Psycho film posters, lobby cards and other memorabilia.
Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho: A Horror Movie Classic
Psycho is based on the 1959 novel of the same name by Robert Bloch (1917-1994). Joseph Stefano penned the screenplay for Shamley Productions and Paramount Pictures, with Alfred Hitchcock high atop the director's chair. Bernard Hermann crafted the eerie music score and John L. Russell served up the brilliant cinematography.
Anthony Perkins (Norman Bates), Vera Miles (Lila Crane), John Gavin (Sam Loomis) and Janet Leigh (Marion Crane) head the strong cast. Other players include Martin Balsam (Milton Arbogast), John McIntire (Deputy Sheriff Al Chambers), Simon Oakland (Dr. Fred Richmond), Vaughn Taylor (George Lowery), Frank Albertson (Tom Cassidy), Lurene Tuttle (Mrs. Chambers) and Patricia Hitchcock (Caroline). Alfred Hitchcock makes his customary cameo appearance as a man outside a real estate office.
Original Psycho (1960) still $107.50
Psycho Opens in New York City
Psycho tells the story of Marion Crane, who pilfers $40,000 from her employer and hits the open road. Marion lands at the sinister Bates Motel, where she is murdered while taking a shower. Taking up Marion's trail is private investigator Milton Arbogast, who traces her last movements back to the motel and its creepy proprietor Norman Bates.
Psycho premiered at New York City's DeMille and Baronet Theaters on June 16, 1960.
"You had better have a pretty strong stomach and be prepared for a couple of grisly shocks when you go to see Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, which a great many people are sure to do. For Mr. Hitchcock, an old hand at frightening people, comes at you with a club in this frankly intended bloodcurdler..." warned Bosley Crowther of The New York Times (6/17/60).
Psycho garnered four Academy Award nominations: Best Director, Best Supporting Actress (Leigh), Best B/W Cinematography, Best B/W Art Direction-Set Decoration. The film won an Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Motion Picture.
Original Psycho Movie Posters, Lobby Cards
The big attraction for many collectors is Psycho's standard one sheet poster (27x41-inches), which rates as one of Hollywood's greatest cinematic works of art. One of these posters brought a top bid of $1,314.50 in a 2009 auction.
Also popular is the Psycho three sheet poster (41x81-inches). Featuring the tagline "It Plunges The Screen Into A New – And Altogether Different – Screen Entertainment!!!," a big three sheet poster sold for $896.25 in 2009.
And there's more, including the Psycho half sheet poster (22x28-inches). One example in the brighter style A format fetched $836.50 at auction.
Psycho lobby cards – so named because they were displayed in theater lobbies as promotional items – can also bring big bucks. A complete set of eight Psycho lobbies garnered a winning bid of $2,151 in 2009. An individual lobby card #3 picturing the gothic Bates mansion fetched $776.75 while an autographed lobby from deceased star Janet Leigh topped out at auction for $298.75.
Original Psycho (1960) one sheet poster $1,314.50
Foreign Psycho Movie Posters and Reissue Posters
Foreign Psycho movie posters are also extremely coveted, as their designs differ from their American counterparts. For starters, look for the handsome British quad poster (30x40-inches) style B, which features Alfred Hitchcock pointing to his wristwatch. One example brought $1,314.50 in a 2008 auction.
Another sought-after item is the Italian 4 folio poster (55x78-inches). One of these posters sold for $358.50 at auction. In that same vein, a set of six Italian photobustas posters (17.5x25-inches) brought a top bid of $388.38.
Psycho was re-released in 1965 and 1969. For those who do not want to spend the big dollars for a 1960 original release Psycho poster, reissue posters from these years can fit the bill. Reissue one sheet Psycho posters from 1965 and 1969 sold at auction for $95.60 and $79, respectively.
Original Psycho (1960) British quad poster style B $1,314.50
Psycho Pressbook, Promotional Stills
The Psycho pressbook is a huge favorite with many collectors. These paper treasures were issued to theater owners and contain the movie's entire promotional campaign in the form of illustrations of sample film posters and lobby cards which could be ordered from National Screen Service. One uncut example in very good condition sold in 2009 for a respectable $95.60.
Original 8x10 b/w promotional stills will also attract collectors. A lot of eight stills featuring a variety of scenes – Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins, Alfred Hitchcock posing in the water, Hitchcock directing Perkins, etc. – brought a top bid of $191.20 in 2009. Keep an eye out for the rarer double weight keybook promo stills, which carry punched holes at the top for insertion into an album. Two Psycho keybook stills featuring Tony Perkins as Norman Bates sold for $262.90 in 2009.
Original Psycho (1960) lobby card #3 picturing the Bates mansion $776.75
Psycho Sequels and Remakes
Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 version of Psycho generated a spate of sequels: Psycho II (1983), Psycho III (1986) and the TV movie Psycho IV: The Beginning (1990). Director Gus Van Sant remade Psycho in 1998 starring Vince Vaughn, Anne Heche and Julianne Moore. Posters, lobby cards and other memorabilia from these films are avidly pursued as well, but it's the original Psycho that gets the blood pumping in the collecting community.
Auction and Image Source
- Heritage Auctions
- Movie Collector's World
Copyright © 2013 William J. Felchner. All rights reserved.