Watch: Alfred Hitchcock Talks About His Career and Directing Audiences in This 1972 Interview
Whenever Alfred Hitchcock chose to communicate publicly with the outside world, whether through interviews, books, or some other means of mass media, people tended to listen. And not just back then, but now. Hitchcock is still such a pervasive voice in cinema that his words and insight still teach generations of young filmmakers, even after over 30 years since his departure. Check out this video of Alfred Hitchcock being interviewed about a selection of his works, his frustration with method actors, and how he dealt with his celebrity.
Hitchcock is a master of cinema. He understood pacing and tension like none before or after him, and did it all with the dark humor one could only expect from the beloved director. Books have been written about him. Classes have been centered around him. Everybody and their mother knows who Hitchcock was, and in the interview below, we see a side of Hitchcock often missed in the long texts about his work or the biopic documentaries about his life — we get to see him relaxed and simply chatting about his films and filmmaking in general.
There is so much to learn from this interview alone. First of all, Hitchcock was asked great questions by both interviewers (one of which was Pia Lindström, Ingrid Bergman’s daughter,) which he responded to with great candor and humor.
One point that I found interesting was when Hitchcock was asked how he distinguished the moment in which he stopped considering himself an amateur filmmaker and started considering himself a professional. He says:
I think actually the difference would be that in the original Man Who Knew Too Much, I wasn’t audience conscious, whereas in the 2nd one I was.
This idea of “audience consciousness”, Hitchcock describes, is a realization he had that helped him develop one of the techniques he was famous for: directing the audience rather than his actors.
He talks about how in his film The Lady Vanishes, the glass of drugged wine is a prime example of this. Instead of directing his actors in such a way to inspire dread or tension, either through dialog or character interactions, Hitchcock focuses on the glass to keep the audience reminded of the danger. This, essentially, was Hitchcock directing his audience.
What do you think? Did you learn anything from the Hitchcock interview? What’s your favorite Hitchcock film? Let us know in the comments.