continued from {75.


you have expectations. you have scepticisms. you have doubts and you are not just a cold. neutral audience. That‘s why I personally think sequels are attractive and satisfying and provocative to work on. You know. the secret ofany sequel is W. H.N. What Happened Next. Why tell a sequel? There‘s only one reason; a story to tell. a reason to involve yourselfagain. It‘s like sitting around a camp fire listening to people swap stories. If they‘re listening and curious and enthusiastic then it‘s not based on anything to do with business. it‘s to do with. “And then‘.’ And then what happened?”‘

Perkins is 54 and claims to have made his professional bow in 1947. He has directed for the stage. co-wrote the screenplay for The Last ofShei/u ( 1973) with Stephen Sondheim and briefly took over behind the camera from an indisposed Orson Welles when they were filming The Trial in 1962. Psycho [I] however. marks his full-blooded cinematic directorial debut. Along the highways and byways of-forty years acting experience he has accumulated some good sense from his more illustrious directors. ‘From Welles I learned the enthusiasm and the fun ofit all: the feeling of. “What a great day it is to direct a film.“ You know. I think Andy Warhol was wrong in the future everyone will direct a movie and it‘ll be great for everybody. It is a wonderfully exhausting day‘s work. From Hitchcock I learned how to be calm and not to let the thing overwhelm you. Nothing bothered him and there was nothing that couldn‘t be solved. When things got hectic he slowed down and became almost meditative. It was a beautiful characteristic.’

As a novice director Perkins wisely chose to lead from his strengths. He may have known little about the technical language of moviemaking but he knew a lot about acting. ‘That was probably one ofthe things that I had more confidence with.‘ he confides. 'because actors do know how to talk to other actors. Sometimes you‘ll watch a director come in and. with all the authority and all the goodwill in the world. he‘ll drape an arm over the actor‘s


shoulder and talk at them for five minutes. It‘s too long. Let‘s make it the right words for thirty seconds; it‘s going to be more instructive than the vague words for five minutes. I think I knew the thirty seconds worth of words.‘

The result of Perkins handiwork is a rather stylish instalment of the Psycho saga. He has chosen some creative technical collaborators. including Clint Eastwood‘s regular cameraman Bruce Surtees. and created a rainswept gothic suspense story that neatly mixes its gore and giggles in a manner that Hitchcock may have admired. Perkins was particularly keen not to make his violence overtly graphic. ‘Suggestibility is a much hotter item.‘ be avers. ‘They came to me with their little collection ofexploding rubber heads and wires that you put together which cause blood to spurt out and trick knives with folding blades. I said. “With all due respect to the excellence of this material. we won‘t be using any of this. We‘ll only use what the eye can be fooled by. In the phone booth sequence we used a real knife and a real girl and the actor playing mother just simply twisted his wrist so that the blade didn‘t come anywhere close to her. That was my way of following Hitchcock not using gimmicks. I think we‘ve seen all those bloody gimmicks and they leave us cold. There are no new ways to rig up murderous action sequences. We can‘t blow up any more heads. Cronenberg did all that in Scunners.‘

A recent survey showed that 90% of Americans over the age of twelve were familiar with the Psycho story. There are now several generations. it seems. who are happy to keep watching with mother. How does Perkins account for the public‘s perennial interest in. and affection for. a character who is basically a deeply disturbed. homicidal maniac? ‘Norman is not a flake. Norman is trying to improve the world and improve his own situation which is one of the reasons why people find him appealing. In the second film he tries to re-paint the motel and start over and ifhe‘d been left alone and kept away from the revengeful family ofthe late Marion Crane everything would have been alright. Norman would have succeeded. He is not someone who is willing to give up, and give in to his own insecurities and his own obsessions. He is a person ofoptimism and people would like to see him overcome his problems.‘

Inevitably the question arises of whether there will be a Psycho IV. Perkins dismisses discussion of the subject as ‘undignified and inappropriate‘. However. Psycho III concludes on a triumphantly ambiguous note that will certainly leave audiences pondering W.H.N. One suspects that the world has not heard the last of Norman Bates and that the motel vacancies sign will once more flicker in the night to lure the unsuspecting traveller.

Psycho [11 opens a! the A BC, Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow and ABC, Edinburgh on 21 November.-


This year Ballet Rambert‘s Diamond Jubilee season has now been nominated for an Olivier Award. Alice Bain talks to Richard Alston. bringing it to Scotland.

When Ballet Rambert entered its Diamond Jubilee year this year. it was a case ofout with the old. in with the new. Richard Alston. last year‘s Company Choreographer became this year‘s Artistic Director. Robert North. his predecessor. was out in the cold. ‘It was a great shock for all ofus‘ remembers Alston of that difficult period. "l‘here was a difference ofopinion between the former director and the board and we all needed to pull together. I was the only person who could step in at that time and keep it going.‘ Manoeuvring the company out of crisis. ‘stepping in' became ‘staying on‘ and Alston now looks to the future as leader.

In recent years he admits that

Rambert has been showing signs of becoming set in its ways. A creative rut loomed ahead. ‘We‘ve done some marvellous pieces. but they‘ve been around for an awfully long time. There wasn‘t a huge range of work coming into the repertoire. There‘s also a lot of pressure in the present political climate to do jolly. friendly things that don‘t interfere with people‘s thoughts.‘ But Alston is determined that at ()0. Rambert was not going to collect its pension and simply become a grand old lady of modern dance.‘ The dancers in this company are extraordinary and are not afraid of doing work which is not most easily popular and. he adds. ‘they love to work directly with choreographers.‘

5 The List 14— 27 November