Well that might be a stretch, but the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is getting ready to kick off its Friday Night at the Movies series. The orchestra will perform Bernard Herrmann’s bone chilling film score from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho on November 19 at 8 p.m. The complete film will be shown on the big screen overhead, with veteran movie and television conductor Richard Kaufman on the podium. The Friday Night at the Movies series, now entering its seventh year, offers audiences the opportunity to not only see film masterworks, but also to hear the music that is such an important part of cinema history performed live by one of the world’s best orchestras.
Hitchcock’s Psycho, which turned 50 this year, is one of the most iconic and terrifying movies of all time, and its sensational score by Bernard Herrmann is both instantly recognizable and vitally important to the success of the film. Starring Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles and John Gavin, Psycho portrays the dramatic and murderous encounter between Marion Crane, a secretary who is in hiding at the Bates Motel after embezzling from her employer, and the psychologically disturbed motel owner, Norman Bates.
The film contains some of the most memorable and notorious footage ever to appear on the silver screen, and although initial critical reaction was mixed, tremendous box office returns led to overwhelming praise and four Academy Award nominations (including best director for Hitchcock and best supporting actress for Leigh). The American Film Institute ranks Psycho as the number-one thriller in American cinema.
Composer Bernard Herrmann’s radical approach to film scoring redefined the relationship between image and sound, resulting in some of the most influential and suspenseful movies ever made. He and Hitchcock carried on a fascinating 11-year, nine-film collaboration—including Psycho, North by Northwest, The Man Who Knew Too Much and Vertigo—that also was an unusual one, as the men’s personalities were virtually opposite. Yet their shared meticulous approach and eccentrically tragic view of the world brought about an extraordinarily successful partnership, in which music became as important as action and dialog. With his brilliant talent and a dramatic imagination for clever orchestration and unusual textures, Herrmann contributed some of the most emotionally resonant and enduring music of 20th-century cinema.
The extraordinarily popular Friday Night at the Movies series continues January 21 at Symphony Center with Charlie Chaplin’s hilarious classic The Gold Rush, conducted by Timothy Brock, and concludes with a very special tribute concert to Roger Ebert on February 25, featuring music from the favorite films of Chicago’s own Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic, including Casablanca, The Third Man and others, led by Richard Kaufman.
For ticket information and availability visit CSO.org. Tickets prices range from $34-$125. Psycho is rated R.