When it comes to Psycho, everyone always talk about the first half of the film, in which Marion Crane steals the money, gets interrogated by the highway patrolman, meets Norman Bates, and eventually takes that fateful shower.
Those are all great scenes that are wonderfully acted and directed. But they’re also the scenes that always get shared whenever anyone shares something about Psycho. So, for today’s scene that I love, I’m sharing a scene from the 2nd half of the film. In this scene, Milton Arborgast (Martin Balsam) attempts to question Norman (Anthony Perkins, of course!) about whether or not Marion came by the motel. Detective Arborgast thinks that Norman is hiding something. Norman thinks that he can out talk the detective.
This scene is a master class in great acting. Balsam and Perkins are like two tennis players, just knocking the ball back and forth without missing a beat. What I love is that both men are pretending as if they’re having a friendly conversation, whereas they both know that they’re not. Of course, when audience saw this movie for the first time (before the famous ending became common knowledge), they probably thought that Norman was trying to protect Arborgast from his mother.
Anyway, here’s the scene. It’s Arborgast vs. Bates, Balsam vs. Perkins, and it’s rather brilliant: