We’re finally in the spooky month of October, the time of year where TV networks of all stripes start broadcasting horror films. One filmmaker whose work is a staple of the annual celebration of the macabre is the master of suspense himself, Alfred Hitchcock. Earlier this week, a 20-minute interview from 1966 with the British director surfaced online and it not only showcases Hitchcock’s deadpan wit, but also has some great quotes like, “I deal in nightmares.”
Although many pretend otherwise, the migration of high-caliber, world-class filmmakers like Steven Soderbergh, David Fincher and Jane Campion to the small screen isn’t entirely without precedent. During the same time period that he released films like “To Catch a Thief,” “Vertigo,” “North by Northwest” and “Psycho,” Hitchcock helmed 17 episodes for his eponymous TV show, “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” between 1955 and 1961. Indeed, in the interview Hitchcock says that he applied some of the lessons he learned from his experience on the TV show to his feature films. He uses “Psycho” as an example of where he worked at TV speed—nine completed minutes of the finished film a day—for the dialogue scenes and slowed down considerably for the more “cinematic moments” like the iconic shower scene, which took 70 separate camera setups over seven days for what amounted to 45 seconds in the final cut.
The whole interview is worth a watch and filled with his thoughts on set lighting, studio execs insistence in using stars (“[The] suits] like to treble the odds”), the (then) new school of actors improvising (spoiler: he’s not a fan of either) and other great quotes like, “I deal in nightmares and nightmares have to be awfully vivid.”
Watch the interview below and have yourself a little Hitchcock marathon this weekend. [Eyes On Cinema]