Alfred Hitchcock Poster

Quotes (61)

  • 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: A Story of the London Fog (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.
  • [on Michelangelo Antonioni and his film Blowup (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.
  • [on 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.
  • [on 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 his publicity campaign prior to the 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.
  • [on 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. Blowup (1966) and 8½ (1963) are bloody masterpieces. [1978]
  • [to an interviewer on why he does not make comedies] But every film I made IS a comedy!
  • [1972] Puns are the highest form of literature.
  • [1955, as host of his television 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.
  • It is terribly embarrassing to be sick. and ones own death is so undignified.
  • [on Mary Anderson in Lifeboat (1944)]One of the young ladies in the boat had great ambitions to become a film star. And I discovered that she was stuffing kleenex into her brassiere to build herself up. And one day she said to me, "Oh Mr. Hitchcock, which do you think is my best side?" And I said, "You're sitting on it, my dear."
  • [In North by Northwest (1959) he wanted to avoid clichés in the scene where Thornhill is chased, so instead of setting it in dark, wet moonlit streets with pursuit by a black limousine, he instead set it in the open on a sunny day, with pursuit by crop-duster plane. However this has now been copied in other films] What was once the avoidance of a cliché has become a cliché.
  • Films should not be photographs of people talking.