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Some of these pictures, thanks to well-placed cuts and clever camera movements, only look unedited. The best-known of these comes from no less a craftsman than Alfred Hitchcock, who built 1948's Rope out of ten seemingly cut-free segments, each internal splice meticulously disguised. Twelve years later, he would make his most overt and memorable use of editing in Psycho . In the clip at the top of this post , Hitchcock himself explains the importance of editing — or, in his preferred term, assembly . He breaks down the structure of Psycho 's famous shower scene . "Now, as you know, you could not take the camera and just show a nude woman being stabbed to death. It had to be done impressionistically. It was done with little pieces of the film: the head, the hand, parts of the torso, shadow on the curtain, the shower itself. In that scene there were 78 pieces of film in about 45 seconds." Say what you will about the content-restricting Hays Code ; its limitations could sometimes drive to new heights the visual creativity of our best cinematic minds.
When Psycho hit theaters, Hitchcock controlled the promotion . The stars -- Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh -- didn't make the usual rounds in the media. Critics weren't given private screenings. And Hitchcock created buzz for the film when he exerted directorial control over the viewing experience of the audience. Showings of the film began on a tightly-controlled schedule in theatres in New York, Chicago, Boston, and Philadelphia. And a firm "no late admission" policy was put in place. You either saw the film from the very beginning, or you didn't see it all. Signs appeared in front of cinemas reading: