Sir Alfred Hitchcock was born on August 13, 1899 in Leytonstone, England, and died in April 1980 in Los Angeles. He produced films that were laden with memorable scenes. He made inventive and artistic blends of intelligent plots, humour, witty dialogue, well orchestrated suspense and polite manners, and added a bit of entertaining mystery and murder.
Delicate thought was roused
Hitchcock had a habit of falling asleep at parties. One evening he was roused at a gathering by his wife. She had allowed him to sleep for several hours, and now suggested that it was time to go.
"But it's only one o'clock," Hitchcock replied, glancing at his watch. "They'll think we aren't enjoying ourselves."
Breaking a Taboo
In 1960 Alfred Hitchcock released a horror film that broke a long-standing Hollywood taboo: Psycho was the first film in history to show a toilet being flushed.
The scene showed Janet Leigh flushing a bunch of paper.
At a French airport one day, the customs official looked suspiciously at Alfred Hitchcock's passport; his occupation was listed simply as "Producer."
"What do you produce?" he asked.
"Gooseflesh," Hitchcock answered.
"I can hear them scream"
Alfred Hitchcock never watched his films in a real theatre setting. Once he was asked whether he missed the thrill of hearing audience members scream.
"No," replied Hitchcock. "I can hear them scream when I'm making the picture."
One day when Alfred Hitchcock was still a churchgoing Catholic, he was driving through a Swiss city when he suddenly pointed out of the car window and said, "That is the most frightening sight I have ever seen."
His companion was surprised to see nothing more alarming than a priest in conversation with a little boy, his hand on the child's shoulder.
"Run, little boy," cried Hitchcock, leaning out of the car. "Run for your life!"
Sir Alfred once tried to clarify something, "I didn't say actors are cattle. What I said was, actors should be treated like cattle."
Why people were fond of Alfred Hitchcock's thrillers: "Always make the audience suffer as much as possible".
Himself on his mission in life: "To simply scare the hell out of people."
I am to provide the public with beneficial shocks. [Alfred Hitchcock]
I . . . avoid difficulties and any kind of complications. I like everything around me to be clear as crystal and completely calm. [Alfred Hitchcock]
Sir Alfred, known to audiences as "master of suspense", also said: "Themes emerge as we go along."
I understand the inventor of the bagpipes was inspired when he saw a man carrying an indignant, asthmatic pig under his arm. [Alfred Hitchcock]
There is no terror in a bang, [but there surely is] in the anticipation of it. [With Alfred Hitchcock]
The more successful the villain, the more successful the picture. [Alfred Hitchcock]
Television has done much for psychiatry by spreading information about it, as well as contributing to the need for it. [Alfred Hitchcock]
I'm not against the police; I'm just afraid of them. [Alfred Hitchcock]
Drama is life with the dull bits cut out. [Alfred Hitchcock]
Cartoonists have the best casting system. If they don't like an actor, they just tear him up. (Disney, of course, has the best casting. If he doesn't like an actor, he just tears him up.) [Alfred Hitchcock]
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". [Alfred Hitchcock]
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. [Alfred Hitchcock]
Self-plagiarism is [close to] style. [With Alfred Hitchcock; defending repetition of his filming techniques]
Fadiman, Clifton, ed. The Little, Brown Book of Anecdotes. London: Little, Brown and Company, 1985.
Haeffner, Nicholas. Alfred Hitchcock. Harlow, UK: Pearson Education, 2005.
Duncan, Paul. Alfred Hitchcock. Harpenden, UK: Pocket Essentials, 2004.
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