The original cut of Psycho
which Alfred Hitchcock delivered to Paramount ran just under nine
hours.  Hitchcock lobbied hard to have the film released at this
length, in a special day-long presentation with two intermissions, but
violent reactions from audience members who saw test screenings of
the nine-hour version (including, reportedly, at least two
unpublicized suicides) convinced the director to cut the film
drastically and release it at a normal length.

All prints of
the original cut were thought to have been destroyed — until early
this year when one somehow turned up in the basement of a house under
demolition in St. Louis.  The house had once belonged to a man
who owned a small chain of movie theaters in the Midwest, and apparently at least one
print had made it to one of those theaters, presumably for test

Robert Harris, who has restored several classic films, including Hitchcock's Vertigo, and will be restoring the uncut Psycho,
is one of the few people who's watched the new footage in its
entirety.  Harris reports that the famous shower scene runs to
forty-five minutes in Hitchcock's original cut and personally made him
sick to his stomach.  “It's film history,” says Harris, “and needs
to be preserved, but I can't say I'm happy that this new version has
survived.  The world would be a better place without it.”

negative and original sound elements for the new footage do not survive, so the
reconstruction will be uneven.  Universal, which now controls the film, plans to release the
Psycho in a three-disc special edition late in 2008.

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