Friday, March 22, 2013

Alfred Hitchcock Quotes

1. (on how to properly build suspense) Four people are sitting around a table talking about baseball or whatever you like. Five minutes of it. Very dull. Suddenly, a bomb goes off. Blows the people to smithereens. What does the audience have? Ten seconds of shock. Now take the same scene and tell the audience there is a bomb under that table and will go off in five minutes. The whole emotion of the audience is totally different because you've given them that information. In five minutes time that bomb will go off. Now the conversation about baseball becomes very vital. Because they're saying to you: "Don't be ridiculous. Stop talking about baseball. There's a bomb under there." You've got the audience working.

2. I was an uncommonly unattractive young man.


3. (on Michelangelo Antonioni and Federico Fellini - 1978) Those Italian fellows are a hundred years ahead of us. "Blow-Up" and "8½" are bloody masterpieces.


4. Everything's perverted in a different way.

5. (to an interviewer on why he doesn't make comedies) But every film I made IS a comedy!


6. Television is like the invention of indoor plumbing. It didn't change people's habits. It just kept them inside the house.




7. (in 1955 as host of his TV series "Alfred Hitchcock Presents") For those of you watching this show in the year 2000, write us a letter and tell us how things are going where you are.

8. I like stories with lots of psychology.


9. It's only a movie, and, after all, we're all grossly overpaid.







10. There is a dreadful story that I hate actors. Imagine anyone hating James Stewart…Jack L. Warner. I can't imagine how such a rumor began. Of course it may possibly be because I was once quoted as saying that actors are cattle. My actor friends know I would never be capable of such a thoughtless, rude and unfeeling remark, that I would never call them cattle…What I probably said was that actors should be treated like cattle.


11. Man does not live by murder alone. He needs affection, approval, encouragement and, occasionally, a hearty meal.



12. Puns are the highest form of literature.

13. (about Claude Jade, who starred in "Topaz") Claude Jade is a brave nice young lady. But I don't give any guarantee what she will do on a taxi's back seat.


14. (on his cameos) One of the earliest of these was in "The Lodger", the story of Jack the Ripper. My appearance called for me to walk up the stairs of the rooming house. Since my walk-ons in subsequent pictures would be equally strenuous - boarding buses, playing chess, etc. - I asked for a stunt man. Casting, with an unusual lack of perception, hired this fat man!

15. (on directing Charles Laughton) You can't direct a Laughton picture. The best you can hope for is to referee.

16. The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder.

17. Film your murders like love scenes, and film your love scenes like murders.

18. To me "Psycho" was a big comedy. Had to be.


19. (regarding "The Birds") You know, I've often wondered what the Audubon Society's attitude might be to this picture.

20. The only way to get rid of my fears is to make films about them.

21. Cary Grant is the only actor I ever loved in my whole life.

22. Revenge is sweet and not fattening.


23. I don't understand why we have to experiment with film. I think everything should be done on paper. A musician has to do it, a composer. He puts a lot of dots down and beautiful music comes out. And I think that students should be taught to visualize. That's the one thing missing in all this. The one thing that the student has got to do is to learn that there is a rectangle up there - a white rectangle in a theater - and it has to be filled.

24. There is nothing quite so good as burial at sea. It is simple, tidy, and not very incriminating.

25. To make a great film you need three things - the script, the script and the script.

26. When an actor comes to me and wants to discuss his character, I say: "It's in the script." If he says: "But what's my motivation?," I say: "Your salary."


27. (on "North by Northwest") Our original title, you know, was "The Man in Lincoln's Nose". Couldn't use it, though. They also wouldn't let us shoot people on Mount Rushmore. Can't deface a national monument. And it's a pity, too, because I had a wonderful shot in mind of Cary Grant hiding in Lincon's nose and having a sneezing fit.

28. I'm not against the police; I'm just afraid of them.


29. (on his lifelong fear of eggs ("ovophobia")) I'm frightened of eggs, worse than frightened, they revolt me. That white round thing without any holes...have you ever seen anything more revolting than an egg yolk breaking and spilling its yellow liquid? Blood is jolly, red. But egg yolk is yellow, revolting. I've never tasted it.

30. Even my failures make money and become classics a year after I make them.

31. (When asked by a member of the press why, at his advanced age, it took so long for the British government to grant him the title of Knight) I think it's just a matter of carelessness.


32. A good film is when the price of the dinner, the theatre admission and the babysitter were worth it.

33. Some of our most exquisite murders have been domestic, performed with tenderness in simple, homey places like the kitchen table.


34. (Part of publicity campaign prior to release of "Psycho") It has been rumored that "Psycho" is so terrifying that it will scare some people speechless. Some of my men hopefully sent their wives to a screening. The women emerged badly shaken but still vigorously vocal.

35. Dialogue should simply be a sound among other sounds, just something that comes out of the mouths of people whose eyes tell the story in visual terms.

36. All love scenes started on the set are continued in the dressing room.

37. Reality is something that none of us can stand, at any time.


38. (when accepting the American Film Institute Life Achievement award) I beg permission to mention by name only four people who have given me the most affection, appreciation, and encouragement, and constant collaboration. The first of the four is a film editor, the second is a scriptwriter, the third is the mother of my daughter Pat (Patricia Hitchcock), and the fourth is as fine a cook as ever performed miracles in a domestic kitchen. And their names are Alma Reville.

39. The more successful the villain, the more successful the picture.


40. Drama is life with the dull bits cut out.

41. (on his history as a practical joker) I once gave a dinner party, oh many years ago, where all the food was blue.

42. (about Michelangelo Antonioni and his film "Blow-Up") This young Italian guy is starting to worry me.


43. There is nothing to winning, really. That is, if you happen to be blessed with a keen eye, an agile mind, and no scruples whatsoever.







44. I enjoy playing the audience like a piano.

45. (talking about the making of "Psycho" and a fake torso made by the special effects department that spurted blood when stabbed with a knife) But I never used it. It was all unnecessary because the cocking of the knife, the girl's face and the feet and everything was so rapid that there were 78 separate pieces of film in 45 seconds.


46. Always make the audience suffer as much as possible.


47. I wanted once to do a scene, for "North by Northwest" by the way, and I couldn't get it in there. I wanted it to be in Detroit, and two men walking along in front of an assembly line. And behind them you see the automobile being put together. It starts with a frame, and you just take the camera along, the two men are talking. And you know all those cars are eventually driven off the line, they load them with gas and everything. And one of the men goes forward, mind you you've seen a car from nothing, just a frame, opens the door and a dead body falls out.

48. (to Ingrid Bergman when she told him that she couldn't play a certain character the way he wanted because "I don't feel like that, I don't think I can give you that kind of emotion.") Ingrid - fake it!


49. Disney has the best casting. If he doesn't like an actor he just tears him up.


50. (A portion of his AFI Lifetime Achievement Award acceptance speech) Had the beautiful Ms. Reville (his wife Alma Reville) not accepted a lifetime contract without options as Mrs. Alfred Hitchcock some 53 years ago, Mr. Alfred Hitchcock might be in this room tonight, not at this table but as one of the slower waiters on the floor.

51. Blondes make the best victims. They're like virgin snow that shows up the bloody footprints.






52. I am a typed director. If I made Cinderella, the audience would immediately be looking for a body in the coach.

53. These are bagpipes. I understand the inventor of the bagpipes was inspired when he saw a man carrying an indignant, asthmatic pig under his arm. Unfortunately, the man-made sound never equalled the purity of the sound achieved by the pig.


54. Seeing a murder on television can help work off one's antagonisms. And if you haven't any antagonisms, the commercials will give you some.

55. Luck is everything…My good luck in life was to be a really frightened person. I'm fortunate to be a coward, to have a low threshold of fear, because a hero couldn't make a good suspense film.

56. Self-plagiarism is style.


57. I have a perfect cure for a sore throat: cut it.





58. Television has done much for psychiatry by spreading information about it, as well as contributing to the need for it.

59. If it's a good movie, the sound could go off and the audience would still have a perfectly clear idea of what was going on.


60. Television is like the American toaster, you push the button and the same thing pops up everytime.


61. In feature films the director is God; in documentary films God is the director.

62. Suspense is like a woman. The more left to the imagination, the more the excitement…The conventional big-bosomed blonde is not mysterious. And what could be more obvious than the old black velvet and pearls type? The perfect "woman of mystery" is one who is blonde, subtle and Nordic…Although I do not profess to be an authority on women, I fear that the perfect title (for a movie), like the perfect woman is difficult to find.


63. This award is meaningful because it comes from my fellow dealers in celluloid.


64. A lot of movies are about life, mine are like a slice of cake.

65. Really, the novelist has the best casting since he doesn't have to cope with the actors and all the rest.

66. We seem to have a compulsion these days to bury time capsules in order to give those people living in the next century or so some idea of what we are like. I have prepared one of my own. I have placed some rather large samples of dynamite, gunpowder, and nitroglycerin. My time capsule is set to go off in the year 3000. It will show them what we are really like.


67. Give them pleasure - the same pleasure they have when they wake up from a nightmare.


68. Television has brought back murder into the home - where it belongs.

69. I never said all actors are cattle; what I said was all actors should be treated like cattle.

70. Fear isn't so difficult to understand. After all, weren't we all frightened as children? Nothing has changed since Little Red Riding Hood faced the big bad wolf. What frightens us today is exactly the same sort of thing that frightened us yesterday. It's just a different wolf. This fright complex is rooted in every individual.


71. There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.

72. I've never been very keen on women who hang their sex round their neck like baubles. I think it should be discovered. It's more interesting to discover the sex in a woman than it is to have it thrown at you, like a Marilyn Monroe or those types. To me they are rather vulgar and obvious.

73. I'm full of fears and I do my best to avoid difficulties and any kind of complications. I like everything around me to be clear as crystal and completely calm.


74. I'm a writer and, therefore, automatically a suspicious character.

75. In films murders are always very clean. I show how difficult it is and what a messy thing it is to kill a man.



76. The paperback is very interesting but I find it will never replace the hardcover book - it makes a very poor doorstop.

77. I am to provide the public with beneficial shocks.


78. I am scared easily, here is a list of my adrenaline - production: 1: small children, 2: policemen, 3: high places, 4: that my next movie will not be as good as the last one.




79. I can't read fiction without visualizing every scene. The result is it becomes a series of pictures rather than a book.

80. Someone once told me that every minute a murder occurs, so I don't want to waste your time, I know you want to go back to work.


What do you think of Alfred Hitchcock's quotes?


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