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Alfred Hitchcock Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (19) | Trivia (68) | Personal Quotes (57) | Salary (8)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 13 August 1899Leytonstone, London, England, UK
Date of Death 29 April 1980Bel Air, Los Angeles, California, USA  (renal failure)
Birth NameAlfred Joseph Hitchcock
Nicknames Hitch
The Master of Suspense
Height 5' 7" (1.7 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was born in Leytonstone, Essex, England. He was the son of Emma Jane (Whelan; 1863 - 1942) and East End greengrocer William Hitchcock (1862 - 1914). His parents were both of half English and half Irish ancestry. He had two older siblings, William Hitchcock (born 1890) and Eileen Hitchcock (born 1892). Raised as a strict Catholic and attending Saint Ignatius College, a school run by Jesuits, Hitch had very much of a regular upbringing. His first job outside of the family business was in 1915 as an estimator for the Henley Telegraph and Cable Company. His interest in movies began at around this time, frequently visiting the cinema and reading US trade journals.

It was around 1920 when Hitchcock joined the film industry. He started off drawing the sets (he was a very skilled artist). It was there that he met Alma Reville, though they never really spoke to each other. It was only after the director for Always Tell Your Wife (1923) fell ill and Hitchcock was named director to complete the film that he and Reville began to collaborate. Hitchcock had his first real crack at directing a film, start to finish, in 1923 when he was hired to direct the film Number 13 (1922), though the production wasn't completed due to the studio's closure. Hitchcock didn't give up then. He directed a film called The Pleasure Garden (1925), a British/German production, which was very popular. Hitchcock made his first trademark film, The Lodger (1927) . In the same year, on the 2nd of December, Hitchcock married Alma Reville. They had one child, _Patricia Hitchcock_ who was born on July 7th, 1928. His success followed when he made a number of films in Britain such as The Lady Vanishes (1938) and Jamaica Inn (1939), some of which also gained him fame in the USA.

In 1940, the Hitchcock family moved to Hollywood, where _David O. Selznick_, an American producer at the time, hired him to direct an adaptation of 'Daphne du Maurier' (av) 's Rebecca (1940). It was after Saboteur (1942) was completed, as his fame as a director grew, that films companies began to refer to his films like Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960), Alfred Hitchcock's Family Plot (1976), Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy (1972). During the making of Frenzy (1972), Hitchcock's wife Alma suffered a paralyzing stroke which made her unable to walk very well at all. On March 7, 1979, Hitchcock was awarded the AFI Life Achievement Award, where he said this famous quote: "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, and the fourth is as fine a cook as ever performed miracles in a domestic kitchen and their names are Alma Reville." By this time, he was quite ill with angina and his kidneys had already started to fail. He started to write a screenplay with _Ernest Lehman_ called The Short Night but he fired Lehman and hired young writer David Freeman to rewrite the script. Due to Hitchcock's failing health the film was never made, but Freeman published the script after Hitchcock's death. In late 1979, Hitchcock was knighted, making him Sir Alfred Hitchcock. On the 29th April 1980, 9:17AM, he died peacefully in his sleep due to renal failure. His funeral was held in the Church of Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills. Father Thomas Sullivan led the service with over 600 people attended the service, among them were Mel Brooks (director of High Anxiety (1977), a comedy tribute to Hitchcock and his films), Louis Jourdan, Karl Malden, Tippi Hedren, Janet Leigh and François Truffaut.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Col Needham <col@imdb.com> and Samtroy

Spouse (1)

Alma Reville (2 December 1926 - 29 April 1980) (his death) (1 child)

Trade Mark (19)

[Cameo] Often has a quick cameo in his films. He eventually began making his appearances in the beginning of his films, because he knew viewers were watching for him and he didn't want to divert their attention away from the story's plot. He made a live cameo appearance in all of his movies beginning with The Lady Vanishes (1938) (Man in London Railway Station walking on the station train platform), Young and Innocent (1937) (Photographer Outside Courthouse) ... aka The Girl Was Young (USA), The 39 Steps (1935) (Passerby Near the Bus), Murder! (1930) (Man on Street), Blackmail (1929) (Man on subway), Easy Virtue (1928) (Man with stick near tennis court), The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927) (Extra in newspaper office) ... aka The Case of Jonathan Drew., excluding Lifeboat (1944), in which he appeared in a newspaper advertisement; Dial M for Murder (1954), in which he appeared in a class reunion photo; Rope (1948) in which his "appearance" is as a neon version of his famous caricature on a billboard outside the window in a night scene and Family Plot (1976) in which his "appearance" is as a silhouette of someone standing on the other side of a frosted glass door.
[Hair] Likes to insert shots of a woman's hairstyle, frequently in close-ups.
[Bathrooms] Often a plot device, a hiding place or a place where lovemaking is prepared for. Hitchcock also frequently used the letters "BM", which stand for "Bowel Movement".
Often used the "wrong man" or "mistaken identity" theme in his movies (Saboteur (1942), I Confess (1953), The Wrong Man (1956), North by Northwest (1959), Frenzy (1972)).
[Blondes] The most famous actresses in his filmography (mostly in leading roles) were Anny Ondra, Madeleine Carroll, Joan Fontaine, Ingrid Bergman, Grace Kelly, Eva Marie Saint, Kim Novak, Vera Miles, Janet Leigh and Tippi Hedren.
There is a recurrent motif of lost or assumed identity. While mistaken identity applies to a film like North by Northwest (1959), assumed identity applies to films such as The 39 Steps (1935), Vertigo (1958), Psycho (1960), and Marnie (1964) among others.
Always formally dressed, wearing a suit on film sets
In order to create suspense in his films, he would alternate between different shots to extend cinematic time (e.g., the climax of Saboteur (1942), the cropduster sequence in North by Northwest (1959), the shower scene in Psycho (1960), etc.) His driving sequences were also shot in this particular way. They would typically alternate between the character's point of view while driving and a close-up shot of those inside car from opposite direction. This technique kept the viewer 'inside' the car and made any danger encountered more richly felt.
[Profile] The famous profile sketch, most often associated with Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955) and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (1962). It was actually from a Christmas card Hitchcock designed himself while still living in England.
In a lot of his films (more noticeably in the early black and white American films), he used to create more shadows on the walls to create suspense and tension (e.g., the "Glowing Milk" scene in Suspicion (1941) or the ominous shadow during the opening credits of Saboteur (1942)).
Inspired the adjective "Hitchcockian" for suspense thrillers
His "MacGuffins" were objects or devices which drove the plot and were of great interest to the film's characters, but which to the audience were otherwise inconsequential and could be forgotten once they had served their purpose. The most notable examples include bottled uranium in Notorious (1946), the wedding ring in Rear Window (1954), the microfilm in North by Northwest (1959) and the $40,000 in the envelope in Psycho (1960).
He hated to shoot on location. He preferred to shoot at the studio where he could have full control of lighting and other factors. This is why even his later films contain special effects composite and rear screen shots.
Distinctively slow way of speaking, dark humor and dry wit, especially regarding murder
Frequent collaborators: actors 'James Stewart' and 'Cary Grant', editor George Tomasini, composer Bernard Herrmann, costume designer Edith Head and director of photography Robert Burks.
[Attribution] Name often appears before the film titles, as in "Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho".
Liked to use major stars in his films that the audience was familiar with, so he could dispense with character development and focus more on the plot.
Often makes the audience empathizes with the villain's plight, usually in a sequence where the villain is in danger of being caught.
Unusual subjective point of view shots

Trivia (68)

According to many people who knew Hitchcock, he couldn't stand to even look at his wife, Alma Reville, while she was pregnant.
He once dressed up in drag for a party he threw. Footage of this was kept in his office, but after his death, his office was cleaned out and the footage not found. It is not known if the footage still exists.
According to Hitchcock himself, he was required to stand at the foot of his mother's bed, and tell her what happened to him each day.
Was a close friend of Albert R. Broccoli, well known as the producer of the James Bond - 007 franchise. Hitchcock's North by Northwest (1959) was the influence for the helicopter scene in From Russia with Love (1963). Actors Sean Connery, Karin Dor and Anthony Dawson have appeared in both a Hitchcock film and a Bond film.
He appears on a 32-cent U.S. postage stamp, in the "Legends of Hollywood" series, that was released 8/3/98 in Los Angeles, California.
As a child, Hitchcock was sent to the local police station with a letter from his father. The desk sergeant read the letter and immediately locked the boy up for ten minutes. After that, the sergeant let young Alfred go, explaining, "This is what happens to people who do bad things." Hitchcock had a morbid fear of police from that day on. He also cited this phobia as the reason he never learned to drive (as a person who doesn't drive can never be pulled over and given a ticket). It was also cited as the reason for the recurring "wrong man" themes in his films.
On April 29, 1974, the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York sponsored a gala homage to Alfred Hitchcock and his contributions to the cinema. Three hours of film excerpts were shown that night. François Truffaut who had published a book of interviews with Hitchcock a few years earlier, was there that night to present "two brilliant sequences: the clash of the cymbals in the second version of The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) , and the plane attack on Cary Grant in North by Northwest (1959)." After the gala, Truffaut reflected again on what made Hitchcock unique and concluded: "It was impossible not to see that the love scenes were filmed like murder scenes, and the murder scenes like love scenes...It occurred to me that in Hitchcock's cinema...to make love and to die are one and the same.".
He never won a best director Oscar in competition, although he was awarded the Irving Thalberg Memorial Award at the 1967 Oscars.
Alma Reville and Hitchcock had one daughter, Patricia Hitchcock, who appeared in several of his movies: Stage Fright (1950), Strangers on a Train (1951) and Psycho (1960).
In the 1980 Queen's New Year's Honours list (only a few months before his death), he was named an Honorary (as he was a United States citizen) Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
From 1977 until his death, he worked with a succession of writers on a film to be known as "The Short Night". The majority of the writing was done by David Freeman, who published the final screenplay after Hitchcock's death.
His bridling under the heavy hand of producer David O. Selznick was exemplified by the final scene of Rebecca (1940). Selznick wanted his director to show smoke coming out of the burning house's chimney forming the letter 'R'. Hitchcock thought the touch lacked any subtlety; instead, he showed flames licking at a pillow embroidered with the letter 'R'.
First visited Hollywood in the late 1930s, but was turned down by virtually all major motion picture studios because they thought he could not make a Hollywood-style picture. He was finally offered a seven-year directing contract by producer David O. Selznick. His first project was supposed to be a film about the Titanic, but Selznick scrapped the project because he "couldn't find a boat to sink." Selznick assigned Hitch to direct Rebecca (1940) instead, which later won the best picture Oscar.
When finishing a cup of tea while on the set, he would often non-discriminatingly toss the cup and saucer over his shoulder, letting it fall (or break) wherever it may.
He was director William Girdler's idol. Girdler made Day of the Animals (1977) borrowing elements from Hitchcock's The Birds (1963).
Asked writers Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac to write a novel for him after Henri-Georges Clouzot had been faster in buying the rights for "Celle qui n'était plus" which became Diabolique (1955). The novel they wrote, "From Among the Dead", was shot as Vertigo (1958).
He delivered the shortest acceptance speech in Oscar history: while accepting the Irving Thalberg Memorial Award at the 1967 Oscars, he simply said "Thank you."
The Destiny (1921) by Fritz Lang was his declared favorite movie.
In a recent USC class on Hitchcock (fall of 2000), guest speaker Patricia Hitchcock revealed that two guilty pleasures of Hitch's were Smokey and the Bandit (1977) and Benji (1974)!
Lent his name and character to a series of adolescent books entitled "Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators" (circa late 1960s-early 1970s). The premise was that main character and crime-solver Jupiter Jones won the use of Mr. Hitchcock's limousine in a contest. Hitch also wrote forewords to this series of books. After his death, his famous silhouette was taken off the spine of the books, and the forewords (obviously) stopped appearing as well.
He was listed as the editor of a series of anthologies containing mysteries and thillers. However, he had little to do with them. Even the introductions, credited to him, were, like the introductions on his television series, written by others.
One of the most successful Hitchcock tie-ins is a pulp publication titled "Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine." The publication is highly respected and has become one of the longest running mystery anthologies. It continues to be published almost a quarter century after Hitchock's death.
He allegedly refused the British honour of CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in 1962.
When he won his Lifetime Achievement award in 1979, he joked with friends that he must be about to die soon. He died a year later.
Was voted the Greatest Director of all time by Entertainment Weekly. The same magazine's list of the 100 Greatest Films of all time includes more films directed by Hitchcock than by any other director, with four. On the list were his masterworks Psycho (1960) (#11), Vertigo (1958) (#19), North by Northwest (1959) (#44) and Notorious (1946) (#66).
Was at his heaviest in the late 1930s, when he weighed over 300 pounds. Although always overweight, he dieted and lost a considerable amount of weight in the early 1950s, with pictures from sets like To Catch a Thief (1955) showing a surprisingly thin Hitchcock. His weight continued to fluctuate throughout his life.
He had a hard time devising one of his signature walk-ons for Lifeboat (1944), a film about a small group of people trying to survive on a small boat. What he eventually came up with was to have his picture in a newspaper advertisement for weight loss that floated among some debris around the boat. He had happened to have lost a considerable amount of weight from dieting around that time, so he was seen in both the "Before" and the "After" pictures.
Often said that Shadow of a Doubt (1943) was his favorite film among those he had directed.
Supported West Ham United Football Club - told colleagues in Hollywood that he subscribed to English newspapers in order to keep track of their results.
He was infamous with cast and crews for his practical jokes. While some inspired laughs, such as suddenly showing up in a dress, most were said to have been a bit more scar than funny. Usually, he found out about somebody's phobias, such as mice or spiders, and in turn sent them a box full of them.
He almost never socialized when not shooting films, and spent most of his evenings quietly at home with his wife Alma Reville and daughter Patricia Hitchcock.
Directed the pilot episode of the radio series "Suspense" (1942-1962), and made a brief appearance at the end. It was an adaptation of his 1927 film The Lodger (1927) and starred Herbert Marshall and Edmund Gwenn , who reprised his brother Arthur Chesney 's role as Mr. Bunting.
He would work closely with screenwriters, giving them a series of scenes that he wanted in the films, thus closely controlling what he considered the most important aspect of the filmmaking process. Although the screenwriter would write the actual dialogue and blocking, many of the scripts for his films were rigidly based on his ideas.
Directed eight different actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, Judith Anderson, Albert Bassermann, Michael Chekhov, Claude Rains, Ethel Barrymore and Janet Leigh. Fontaine won an Oscar for Suspicion (1941).
Praised Luis Buñuel as the best director ever.
As with W.C. Fields and Arthur Godfrey before him, he was legendary for gently tweaking his sponsors during the run of his television show. One typical example runs, "We now interrupt our story for an important announcement. I needn't tell you to whom it will be most important of all.".
Ranked #2 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Greatest Directors Ever!" in 2005.
Education: St. Ignatius College, London, School of Engineering and Navigation (Studied mechanics, electricity, acoustics and navigation); University of London (Studied art).
Told François Truffaut that although he had made two films prior to The Lodger (1927), he considered that to be his first real film.
Due to his death in 1980, he never got to see Psycho II (1983) . It remains unsure as to whether or not he was approached regarding the second movie, or any other "Psycho (1960) - Expansion" motion picture.
Grandfather of Mary Stone, Tere Carrubba and Katie Fiala.
He was reportedly furious when Brian De Palma decided to make Obsession (1976), because he thought it was a virtual remake of Vertigo (1958). Ironically, De Palma stopped making mystery/adventure films after Hitchcock's death in 1980, with the possible exception of Body Double (1984).
Although some of the movie going public knew him, his fame really took off after 1955. That was when Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955) started. When the show was broadcast in homes week after week, it gave him a much bigger exposure in the public eye. He also became quite rich from the show when it was syndicated in the United States and overseas.
For Psycho (1960), he deferred his standard $250,000 salary in lieu of 60% of the film's net profits. His personal earnings from the film exceeded $15 million. Adjusted for inflation, that amount would now top $150 million in 2006 terms.
Is the "voice" of the "Jaws" ride at Universal Studios.
On August 2, 1968, he visited Finland to look filming locations for his next film "The Short Night". Of course, the film was never made. In the airport, he was interviewed by Finnish reporters. He was asked why his films were so popular. His answer was: "Everybody likes to be scared".
He was awarded 2 Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Motion Pictures at 6506 Hollywood Boulevard; and for Television at 7013 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
A statistical survey he did among audiences revealed that according to moviegoers the most frightening noise in films was the siren of a police patrol-car, followed by the crash of a road accident, cracklings of a burning forest, far galloping horses, howling dogs, the scream of a stabbed woman and the steps of a lame person in the dark.
Though he was Oscar-nominated five times as best director, DGA-nominated six times as best director, and received three nominations from Cannes, he never won in any of these competitive categories, a fact that surprises fans and film critics to this day.
He suggested some improvements to a scene in Gone with the Wind (1939) but the shots integrating his improvements weren't used.
He was naturalized as a United States citizen in 1956.
Walt Disney refused to allow him to film at Disneyland in the early 1960s because Hitchcock had made "that disgusting movie Psycho (1960)".
In addition to his fear of the police, Hitchcock possessed one other phobia: eggs.
As of the 5th edition of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die (edited by Steven Jay Schneider), Hitchcock is the most represented director, with 18 films. Included are his films Blackmail (1929), The 39 Steps (1935), Sabotage (1936), Rebecca (1940), Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Spellbound (1945), Notorious (1946), Rope (1948), Strangers on a Train (1951), Rear Window (1954), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), The Wrong Man (1956), Vertigo (1958), North by Northwest (1959), Psycho (1960), The Birds (1963), Marnie (1964) and Frenzy (1972).
As a longstanding friend of Sidney Bernstein (the pair had formed production company Transatlantic Pictures together in the 1940s) Hitch was the first celebrity visitor to the set of long-running UK soap opera Coronation Street (1960), during a June 1964 visit to the Manchester studios of Granada Television which Bernstein co-founded with his brother Cecil.
Tied with Robert Altman and Clarence Brown for the most nominations for best director (five) at the Academy Awards without a win. Martin Scorsese had been part of this group before his win for The Departed (2006) on his sixth nomination.
During production of Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955) he was said to have hid from producer Joan Harrison every time there was a problem with production. His favorite hiding place was behind the couch in his office.
Appears on a 44¢ USA commemorative postage stamp, issued 11 August 2009, in the Early TV Memories issue honoring Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955).
He directed nine of the American Film Institute's 100 Most Heart-Pounding Movies: Psycho (1960) at #1, North by Northwest (1959) at #4, The Birds (1963) at #7, Rear Window (1954) at #14, Vertigo (1958) at #18, Strangers on a Train (1951) at #32, Notorious (1946) at #38, Dial M for Murder (1954) at #48 and Rebecca (1940) at #80.
He appears momentarily in a trademark/cameo role in all of his movies. In addition the neon silhouette in Rope, he is seen walking down the street during the opening credits. During the movie, the characters of Mrs. Atwater and Janet are discussing a movie whose one-word title they can't remember. It was a plug for one of Hitchcock's other movies, "Notorious".
Hitchcock's wife, Alma Reville, was one day younger than him. They were born August 13 and August 14, 1899.
Many of Hitchcock's films have one-word titles: Blackmail (1929), Rebecca (1940), Suspicion (1941), Saboteur (1942), Lifeboat (1944), Spellbound (1945), Notorious (1946), Rope (1948), Vertigo (1958), Psycho (1960), Marnie (1964), Topaz (1969) and Frenzy (1972). He favored one-word titles because he felt that it was uncluttered, clean and easily remembered by the audience.
Donald Spoto wrote that Hitchcock hid behind the door when Bernard Herrmann went to see him after Torn Curtain (1966) break up. Herrmann's third wife Norma denied this in an interview with Gunther Kogebehn in June 2006. In June 2006 interview with Kogebehn, Norma Herrmann states that she and Bernard Herrmann "together" visited Alfred Hitchcock.
Is portrayed by Anthony Hopkins in Hitchcock (2012).
In the Press Conference for Family Plot (1976), Alfred Hitchcock revealed that his least favorite film out of all the films he directed was Champagne (1928).
From 1942 until his death, the Hitchcocks lived at 10957 Bellagio Road, Bel Air, California. They had been living at 609 St. Cloud Road in Bel Air in a home leased from friends Carole Lombard and Clark Gable.
Most successful director in IMDB Top 250 movies ever made with 9 entries - Rear Window (no 31.), Psycho (no. 32), North by Northwest (no. 61), Vertigo (no. 66), Rebecca (no. 138), Dial M for Murder (no. 163), Strangers on a Train (no. 194), Notorious (no. 198) and Rope (no. 242). [April 2014]

Personal Quotes (57)

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.
[on his cameos] One of the earliest of these was in The Lodger (1927), 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!
The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder.
There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.
To me Psycho (1960) was a big comedy. Had to be.
Even my failures make money and become classics a year after I make them.
Always make the audience suffer as much as possible.
Drama is life with the dull bits left out.
[His entire acceptance speech for the Irving Thalberg Memorial Award] Thank you.
[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.
[about Michelangelo Antonioni and his film Blow-Up (1966)] This young Italian guy is starting to worry me.
Some films are slices of life, mine are slices of cake.
I enjoy playing the audience like a piano.
[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!
I was an uncommonly unattractive young man.
It's only a movie, and, after all, we're all grossly overpaid.
There is nothing quite so good as a burial at sea. It is simple, tidy, and not very incriminating.
Man does not live by murder alone. He needs affection, approval, encouragement and, occasionally, a hearty meal.
[about Claude Jade, who starred in Topaz (1969)] 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.
[on directing Charles Laughton] You can't direct a Laughton picture. The best you can hope for is to referee.
The paperback is very interesting but I find it will never replace the hardcover book -- it makes a very poor doorstop.
Film your murders like love scenes, and film your love scenes like murders.
I am a typed director. If I made Cinderella (1937), the audience would immediately be looking for a body in the coach.
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.
A good film is when the price of the dinner, the theatre admission and the babysitter were worth it.
In feature films the director is God; in documentary films God is the director.
[regarding The Birds (1963)] You know, I've often wondered what the Audubon Society's attitude might be to this picture.
Cary Grant is the only actor I ever loved in my whole life.
[Walt Disney] has the best casting. If he doesn't like an actor he just tears him up.
Blondes make the best victims. They're like virgin snow that shows up the bloody footprints.
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.
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".
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.
To make a great film you need three things - the script, the script and the script.
[on North by Northwest (1959)] 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.
I made a remark a long time ago. I said I was very pleased that television was now showing murder stories, because it's bringing murder back into its rightful setting - in the home.
[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.
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.
[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.
[Part of publicity campaign prior to release of Psycho (1960)] 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.
All love scenes started on the set are continued in the dressing room.
[on his history as a practical joker] I once gave a dinner party, oh many years ago, where all the food was blue.
[talking about the making of Psycho (1960) 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.
I wanted once to do a scene, for North by Northwest (1959) 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.
[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.
Reality is something that none of us can stand, at any time.
I like stories with lots of psychology.
Everything's perverted in a different way.
Cartoonists have the best casting system. If they don't like an actor, they just tear him up.
The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder.
[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.
[on Michelangelo Antonioni and Federico Fellini] Those Italian fellows are a hundred years ahead of us. Blow-Up (1966) and (1963) are bloody masterpieces. [1978]
[to an interviewer on why he doesn't make comedies] But every film I made IS a comedy!
[1972] Puns are the highest form of literature.
[in 1955 as host of his TV series Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955)] 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.
I deny I ever said that actors are cattle. What I said was, 'Actors should be treated like cattle'.
If you've designed a picture correctly, the Japanese audience should scream at the same time as the Indian audience.

Salary (8)

The Lady Vanishes (1938) $50,000
Suspicion (1941) $2,500 /week
Notorious (1946) $7,000 /week
Rear Window (1954) $150,000 + 10% of the profits +film negative ownership
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) $150,000 + 10% of the profits +film negative ownership
Vertigo (1958) $150,000 + 10% of the profits +film negative ownership
North by Northwest (1959) $250,000 + 10% of the net profits.
Psycho (1960) 60% of the net profits (salary deferred)

See also

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