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Section Header
Composed and Produced by:
Danny Elfman

Conducted by:
Rick Wentworth

Orchestrated by:
Steve Bartek
Edgardo Simone

Sony Classical

Release Date:
December 4th, 2012

Also See:
Psycho (1998)

Audio Clips:
3. The Premiere (0:32):
WMA (213K)  MP3 (269K)
Real Audio (189K)

4. Paramount/Out the Gate (0:30):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

13. Celery (0:31):
WMA (204K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

24. Home at Last (0:30):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

Regular U.S. release.


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Sales Rank: 163053

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Buy it... if you seek a throwback to Danny Elfman's early orchestral works of fiendish humor, his personality implanted well upon the topic despite limited opportunities to develop his effective themes for the famed director and his wife.

Avoid it... if you wish to hear Elfman channel Bernard Herrmann for the entirety of Hitchcock, for while he certainly rolls out such nods several times, this remains a score saturated with Elfman's own style.

Hitchcock: (Danny Elfman) Based on Stephen Rebello's non-fiction book "Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho," director Sacha Gervasi's 2012 biographical examination of the famed Hitchcock during his process of preparing for and making the movie Psycho in 1959 is largely a revelation about his working and personal relationship with his wife, Alma Reville. While it was Hitchcock who initiated the project after discovering his fascination with the Wisconsin mass murderer that inspired the character of Norman Bates, Reville was largely responsible for assisting the director in guiding some of the most important aspects of its production, including the story and score, and ultimately caught bloopers in Psycho's shower scene that were edited out at the last minute. With respect and admiration, Hitchcock doesn't shy away from the perverse sense of humor often associated with the iconic filmmaker, its length littered with hilarious one-liners from the director. Unfortunately, while the secondary cast members in Hitchcock do an exemplary job emulating the real-life crew, the casting of Anthony Hopkins as Hitchcock himself has led to some dissatisfaction; his voice is so distinct to the actor that, in one scene during which he describes severed body parts with glee at a press lunch, hints of Hannibal Lector can be heard. Still, the highlights of Hitchcock are worthy of a few good laughs, and film score fans will be enthused about television actor Paul Schackman's performance as Bernard Herrmann. Obsessed with both Hitchcock and Herrmann is composer Danny Elfman, who was not only inspired by Herrmann early in his career but re-recorded the classic Psycho score for Gus Van Sant's 1998 shot-for-shot remake of the film. In an interview with CinemaNerdz, Gervasi stated that he was shooting a scene for Hitchcock and "suddenly I turned around and there was this sort of curious looking ginger-haired gentleman with headphones watching the monitor. And he was quite in an odd mode at that particular moment. He was looking like a bit of a mad person that day. Someone said, 'That's Danny Elfman.' I was like, 'What the hell is Danny Elfman doing here?' And they said, 'Well he's interested in doing the score.' And I was like, 'What?'"

Elfman's schedule in 2012 was extraordinarily busy. He had already pulled out of Hunger Games to tackle five other assignments, but his self-propelled enthusiasm for Hitchcock caused him to squeeze it into the schedule. Not surprisingly, some vintage music is used as source or tribute material, most notably the screeching shower sequence from Psycho heard after the argument between Hitchcock and Herrmann (it's possible, given the sound quality of this material, that Elfman simply accessed his 1998 recording of the cue) and the "Funeral March for a Marionette" by Charles Gounod, Hitchcock's personal theme in living, arranged by Elfman for a fresh recording here. The original score for Hitchcock consists of a partial orchestra (seemingly minus brass) and a few notable accents, a solo piano and various string contributors carrying the bulk of the load. While Elfman's take on the film is distinctly his own, sounding very much like the late 1980's/early 1990's mannerisms of the composer, he does make some obvious nods to Herrmann's style along the way. The best among these emulations may be "Impulses," a mock horror cue that resurrects Herrmann's churning cello techniques, and "Explosion," in which glassy percussion interrupts another string horror outburst. Outside of these moments, however, listeners may be surprised by just how thoroughly Elfman's own musical personality dominates Hitchcock. Make no mistake about it; this is very much an Elfman score rather than an extensive Herrmann tribute. His two main themes and minor motifs are all comfortable when placed amongst his early orchestral works, his own sense of humor informing several buoyant cues as well. The primary theme in Hitchcock is one of affection between Hitchcock and his wife, a whiny at times but ultimately satisfying and almost melancholy and tired representation of love. Introduced on high strings in "Theme from Hitchcock," the idea takes most of the score to establish itself, recurring with lament on solo piano in "Fantasy Smashed" and on dramatic strings in middle of "Finally." Perhaps the most redemptive performance of the idea come at the very end of the score, with plaintive string performances in "Home at Last" and longer treatment on piano and strings throughout the subdued "End Credits #2."

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Don't expect the love theme to compete well with the other major identity in Hitchcock, the one for the director himself. Elfman gives it dual personalities and sometimes prefaces it with a direct quote from a supporting motif in Batman. This prelude of sorts introduces a hint of the Hitchcock theme in "Logos," a cue that may as well be from either of Elfman's Batman scores after the harp references to Herrmann in the opening bars. More of this reference can be heard in "Paramount/Out the Gate" (opening the cue whimsically and returning on woodwinds later) and with subtlety in the middle of "Suspicion." The darker variant of the theme for Hitchcock himself is a bit sinister and supports the vital "Saving the House" cue (leading into the Herrmann argument scene) before Elfman allows it to flourish with wicked solo violin performances surrounded by tumult in "End Credits #1." Opposing the grisly side of this theme are the perky and vibrant performances representing the director's humor and larger-than-life persona. While a little closer to the "Funeral March" in personality, this version is actually a lively waltz seemingly derived from an old song about sunshine and mornings, exploding early in "Paramount," closing out "The Swim," flourishing at the start of "Walk With Hitch" (the exuberant side of an equivalent opening to "It's a Wrap"), and really let loose with upbeat retro jazz style in "Selling Psycho." Three singular cues merit specific mentioning outside of obvious thematic applications, the first which the absolutely riotous tribute to Scrooged that occupies all of the short cue, "The Premiere." A flurry of piano suspense at the end of "Celery" is especially gripping and may even have a slight electric guitar contribution in the background. The opening of "Finally" expresses relief through an elongated, expansive dramatic interlude for strings in almost John Barry fashion. Overall, Hitchcock is a fun score for the Elfman enthusiast and contains enough substance to justify its rather short album presentation. The themes do seem slightly underutilized, especially in how Elfman alternates between the darker and upbeat variations on the identity for the titular character. Then again, many of the film's best conversational moments exist without any music spotted in them, so the composer may have been restricted a bit in his opportunities for deeper development. Elfman collectors will be especially thrilled by how much of the composer's own musical personality thrives in this context, further connecting him with the Hitchcock and Herrmann legacy. *** Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For Danny Elfman reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.2 (in 65 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.25 (in 118,832 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 3.09 Stars
Smart Average: 3.04 Stars*
***** 34 
**** 40 
*** 46 
** 40 
* 25 
  (View results for all titles)
    * Smart Average only includes
         40% of 5-star and 1-star votes
              to counterbalance fringe voting.
   Hannibal Lector in Hitchcock?
  Kent Chambers -- 7/2/13 (2:53 p.m.)
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 Track Listings: Total Time: 38:42

• 1. Logos (0:49)
• 2. Theme From "Hitchcock" (1:22)
• 3. The Premiere (0:40)
• 4. Paramount/Out the Gate (1:56)
• 5. Mommy Dearest (0:58)
• 6. In Bed (0:36)
• 7. Impulses (1:29)
• 8. The Censor (0:59)
• 9. The Swim (2:03)
• 10. Peeping (0:36)
• 11. Sacrifices (1:16)
• 12. Walk With Hitch (0:56)
• 13. Celery (1:59)
• 14. Telephone (1:08)
• 15. Suspicion (2:30)
• 16. Explosion (3:11)
• 17. Selling Psycho (1:38)
• 18. Fantasy Smashed (1:30)
• 19. The Sand (1:22)
• 20. It's a Wrap (1:05)
• 21. Busted (0:58)
• 22. Saving the House (1:01)
• 23. Finally (1:46)
• 24. Home at Last (0:59)
• 25. End Credit #1 (2:33)
• 26. End Credit #2 (2:25)
• 27. Funeral March for a Marionette* (0:53)

* composed by Charles Gounod

 Notes and Quotes:  

The insert includes a note from the director about working with Elfman.

  All artwork and sound clips from Hitchcock are Copyright © 2012, Sony Classical. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 12/4/12 (and not updated significantly since). Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2012-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.