22
Mar
13

psycho filming locations, a then and now look at Hitchcock’s 1960 masterpiece. part 4


Hitchcock on the set

Hitchcock on the set

Today’s installment takes us from Arizona to a little California truck stop town called Gorman. If your taking the 5 freeway from LA to either San  Francisco or Bakersfield you will traverse up a long steep grade to a little summit truck stop town called Gorman.  Gorman is the stop just before you descend into the valley flats through a tretchous pass called the Grapevine. In 1960 the 5 freeway was called the 99 and it would take you directly into Bakesfield. The 5 freeway has replaced this portion of the 99 through the pass and is a massive thouroughfare compared to what it once was. In regards to Psycho I came across this area by chance  because I lived nearby. I would take this back route to work and one day I didn’t make it to the gas station in Gorman and was stuck on the side of the road waiting for AAA to come by. I was on a side street called Gorman Post Road. which Parrealled the 5 freeway. Anyways I was sitting there looking at the landscape and I was thinking that it looked so very familiar. I was in the middle of pulling the frame grabs for the Pheonix locations at this same time. Later that eveneing when I was going over the shots I got to the point in the film Where Janet Leigh has pulled over to take a nap. Her car is parked by a telephone pole in a smooth hilly country side setting. HMMMM looks  like the same place I ran out of gas today I thought.. As ironic as it sounds it was the same place I had run out of gas.. Holly smokes this is wear the road side shots were done.. I had read that Psycho was filmed in PHX, Gorman, and Bakersfield, but I had no idea that this was the spot… The Pheonix locations were the only thing I was wanteing to recreate at this time and everything else hadnt really been something I could accomplish.  I had looked at Gorman earlier on in my search but I was on the other side of the town and nothing was lining up.. It appeared that the entire area had been renovated and that most likly the old locations no longer existed so I didn’t pursue the matter any further. This little gas accident put new light on the subject so I made frame grabs of this entire section of the film. The following Saturday I was on Gorman Post road and started to line up the then and now shots. The first few were fairly easy but it was clear to see that the roads closer to Gorman were not the same. Hitchcock used about a mile and a half of roadway for this segement and today only about 3/4 of a mile of the original 1960 roads still exist.. I had to make severel trips back to make the locations line up. manytimes hanging over fences and standing in the middle of the freeway… Thankfully the hilly landscape and a majority of the fence posts are still there so I had a lot of reference to line up the shots. All and all I was able to match up a great deal of what Hitchcock had filmed although there are a few more I would have liked to have been able to do. The attempts were there but they were long grasps as far as making a worthy then and now representation. The one I wanted the most is an over the shoulder shot looking at Janet Leigh as she watches the patrolman exit the freeway in her rear window. For one reason the camera is to low to match up the hillside, and the other is that the  freeway exit has been moved by about a quarter mile so this shot sadly could not be done.  Some of the more fun images to do were the rear view mirror shots. I quickly found that both the view out the window and the view in the mirror were never in the same place and a lot of backtracking was needed to get the right spots to line up. I was able to get all but one of the mirror shots recreated and next time I am out I’ll shoot what I need to make the last. So with all that said here is about as complete of a then and now as I could put together for this area, so sit on back and enjoy Gorman CA from a Psycho’s point of view.

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4 Responses to “psycho filming locations, a then and now look at Hitchcock’s 1960 masterpiece. part 4”


  1. 1 Marc Fraley
    March 25, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    This is another amazing set of then and now pictures! You’re like a temporal detective John! Very interesting to witness the changes over the past 50 plus years….

    • 2 johneaves
      March 25, 2013 at 8:34 pm

      Thanks Marc.. I guess there was a lot of detective work going on, HAAA! Yeah i am shocked at how many things have changed and by so much too.

  2. 3 Dan Sneed
    April 18, 2013 at 10:49 am

    Terrific work. Amazing how little accidents can lead to wonderful results like yours. Congrats on a great job on a difficult subject. Psycho fanatics like me truly appreciate your work.

    • 4 johneaves
      April 22, 2013 at 8:13 am

      Thanks Dan!!!!! I have always loved this masterpiece and the search for these locations was like finding treasure under the rainbow!


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