Psycho: A Classic (Pink Collar Crime)

Movie buffs refer to Psycho as a classic Hitchcock movie. The setup involves a theme that Hitchcock used again and again: The guilt of the ordinary person trapped in a criminal situation. Marion Crane does steal $40,000, but still, she fits the Hitchcock mold of an innocent to crime ( 

I was always scared hearing about Psycho and the shower scene. Not until this year did I watch the movie. And that was only after I “Googled” embezzlement and movie and woman. The first hit was Psycho. So I decided to watch it. The movie is all about #pinkcollarcrime. I couldn’t believe it. So in September 1960, Hitchcock dealt with pink collar crime. Who would have guessed?  

Psycho has been analyzed so many times over the years. I haven’t seen the term pink collar crime in reviews but Marion Crane played by Janet Leigh so perfectly fits the typical pink collar criminal: honest, trustworthy and facing a choice. Marion chose to steal when provided with the opportunity.  

The fraud triangle was there. Pressure came from her desire to be with her boyfriend. He just happened to be divorced and was having to pay alimony. They couldn’t be together without the money. Rationalization came in the form of Mr. Cassidy. Many people probably think he deserved to be stolen from after all he admits to skimming from the IRS. He flirted with Janet Leigh and was pretty obnoxious to her. Opportunity was the weekend and all the cash right in front of her.  

Even her boyfriend could not believe she could be capable of stealing. She didn’t fit the profile of a “bad guy” who would steal. Her boss also said “I still can’t believe. A girl who works for you for ten years.”  

As she stated “We all go a little mad sometimes… Just one time can be enough.” Spoiler alert: before Norman stabbed her she said: “I stepped into a private trap and I would like to go back and fix it.” I hear this from women who have stolen. They know what they did was wrong. They also want to fix it and avoid jail. This is when you get the confession.  

The next #pinkcollarcrime movie I need to watch is Marnie, also by Hitchcock. He must have known about pink-collar crime to feature it in at least two movies I am now aware of. 

Kelly Paxton