The shower scene is for sure in Hitchcock's cinema the most famous one (not to say one of the most famous of the whole cinema).As the Master says, this is the most violent scene of the picture.As the film unfolds, there is less violence because the harrowing memory of this initial killing carries over to the suspenseful passages that come later. The whole scene lasts 45 seconds and it required 7 days of shots and 70 camera positions!
A model doubled Janet Leigh for some shots;
as script supervisor Marshal Schlom states:
In the shower scene, Mr. Hitchcock wanted to suggest, not to show , the nudity, but if you stop-frame and magnify it, there are definitely a couple of frames showing a bare breast and nipple.
Hitchcock explains the shooting:
"We only showed Miss Leigh's hands,shoulders, and head.All the rest was the stand-in.I shot some of the body in slow motion so as to cover the breasts.The slow shots were not accelerated later on because they were inserted in the montage so as to give an impression of normal speed."
Audience's surprise is increased by Bernard Herrmann's music
(the well known violins).
Hitchcock wanted only the noise of the shower and, by the way, Marion's scream.
Herrmann convinced Hitchcock to use shrieking violins to increase the frightening side of the scene...
The violins AU 34 Kb.
The spectator is more surprised than he was at the beginning of the scene, when he has the "voyeur" role (as Norman).
The time of happiness (for Marion and the audience, too!)
Mother arrives, and Herrmann starts with his violins...
Marion screams, and we too!
Famous image and extraordinarily dramatic: Marion, stabbed to death, slides along the wall.
Blood flows.This part was accused to be one of the most shocking and Hitchcock was accused to use the noise of the water falling down a w.c. Wonderful cross-fading on Marion's dead eye
and after on her face flattened on the floor.
Of course this is much better in video:
Worried by Marion's screams, Norman discovers with horror his mother's murder.
So he cleans all the blood stains, removes all Marion's objects from the room and he gets rid of the car, the corpse and the money in a nearly swamp.
In his essay, Robin Wood explains audience identification with Norman.