The murder of Janet Leigh's character in the shower is the film's pivotal scene and one of the best-known scenes in all of cinema history. As such, it spawned numerous myths and legends. It was shot from December 17 to December 23, 1959, and features 77 different camera angles. Most of the shots are extreme close-ups, except for medium shots in the shower directly before and directly after the murder. The combination of the close shots with their short duration makes the sequence feel more subjective than it would have been if the images were presented alone or in a wider angle.
In order to capture the straight-on shot of the shower head, the camera had to be equipped with a long lens. The inner holes on the spout were blocked and the camera placed farther back, so that the water appears to be hitting the lens but actually went around and past it.
The soundtrack of screeching violins, violas, and cellos was an original all-strings piece by composer Bernard Herrmann entitled "The Murder].The blood in the scene is in fact chocolate syrup which shows up better on black-and-white film, and has more realistic density than stage blood. The sound of the knife entering flesh was created by plunging a knife into a casaba melon.
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