Film Studies: Hitchcock Interview

Topics: Alfred Hitchcock, Nuclear weapon, Fiction Pages: 7 (1658 words) Published: May 13, 2014

hitchcock by truffaut
Elaine Cardoso 491994

What does H say about dialogue (and between titles)?
Hitchcock: “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. “ “When we tell a story in cinema, we should resort to dialogue only when it's impossible to do otherwise.” “In writing a screenplay, it is essential to separate clearly the dialogue from the visual elements and, whenever possible, to rely more on the visual than on the dialogue. Whichever way you choose to stage the action, your main concern is to hold the audience's fullest attention. Summing it up, one might say that the screen rectangle must be charged with emotion.”

What does H say about the star being a bad guy? Why?
Hitchcock: “The problems we face with the star system. Very often the story line is jeopardized because a star cannot be a villain. “

What is visual story telling (give an example from Easy Virtue)? Visual story telling can be simply translated as: communicating visually in forms that can be read or looked upon. In cinema a story is most visual when ideas and emotions are expressed through performance and aesthetics as opposed to dialogue. The camera moves around just like someone view’s perspective. The plot is revealed by showing images. Hitchcock was avant- garde of making the use of the camera in this way. This technique invites viewers to engage in a form of voyeurism.

Easy virtue example: John gets an answer from Larita, off-screen – but the telephone operator is listening in.

What does H say about literature as a source for a film?
A film cannot be compared to a book. A book can be compared to a serie; where the viewer has time enough to know the character deep inside. A film can be compared to a short story; where the writer has to engage the readers with limited information. Hitchcock: “There's been a lot of talk about the way in which Hollywood directors distort literary masterpieces. I'll have no part of that! What I do is to read a story only once, and if I like the basic idea, I just forget all about the book and start to create cinema. Today I would be unable to tell you the story of Daphne du Maurier's The Birds. I read it only once, and very quick at that.”

What does H say about suspense and how does it work?
The doubt of that is going to happen next is very intriguing and exciting. The most powerful medium of captivating engagement is suspense. Suspense is playing with information. Hitchcock: “For me, suspense doesn’t have any value unless it’s balanced by humor,”

As reported by Hitchcock, humor does not weaken the potency of suspense. Actually he believe that humor improves the contrast making it even more persuasive.

What does H say about the ‘whodunit’?
Hitchcock: “A whodunit generates a curiosity that is void of emotion and emotion is an essential ingredient of suspense. Mystery is seldom suspenseful.” “I generally avoid this genre, because as a rule all of the interest is concentrated at the ending.”

Watch a whodunit movie is like to play “Cluedo”. Something happened and the the audience is given the opportunity to engage in the same process of deduction as the protagonist throughout the investigation. The viewer is provided with the clues and it can be deduced by the viewer before the story provides the revelation itself.

What does H say about the ‘probability’ of a film story? (chapter 1-4) Hitchcock: “Plausibility for the sake of plausibility doesn’t help it is a waste of time, if you want to analyse everything in terms of plausibility, then you end up doing a documentary. It is like asking me to be a representative painter. There is a great difference between creating a motion picture as appose to a documentary. In a documentary God has created the basic material for you. But in the fiction area, you must create life, in the creation of this comes matters of...
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