Happy Birthday, Alfred Hitchcock! The director, who died in 1980, was born 119 years ago today. Here are a few words from the auteur himself to mark the occasion.
1. ON EGGS
"I’m frightened of eggs, worse than frightened; they revolt me. That round white thing without any holes, and when you break it, inside there’s that yellow thing, round, without any holes… Brrr! 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."
—From a 1963 interview, via Alfred Hitchcock: Interviews.
2. ON VIOLENCE IN MOVIES
"Violence on the screen increases violence in people only if those people already have sick minds. I once read somewhere that a man admitted killing three women and he said he had killed the third woman after having seen Psycho. Well, I wanted to ask him what movie he had seen before he killed the second woman. And then we'd ban that movie, don't you see? And then if we found out that he'd had a glass of milk before he killed the first woman, why then we'd have to outlaw milk, too, wouldn't we? At a screening of Psycho a young boy came up to me—he was about 9 or 10—and he said to me, 'What did you use for blood—chicken blood?' And I said, 'No, I used chocolate sauce.' ... The point is that he said what did you use. He knew it was a movie, that it was pretend."
—From a 1969 interview with The New York Times.
3. ON HIS WIFE
"Had the beautiful Ms. 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. I share my award, as I have my life, with her."
From his speech accepting the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award in 1979.
4. ON PSYCHO
"I once made a movie, rather tongue-in-cheek, called Psycho. The content was, I felt, rather amusing and it was a big joke. I was horrified to find some people took it seriously. It was intended to make people scream and yell and so forth—but no more than screaming and yelling on a switchback railway (rollercoaster). I'm possibly in some respects the man who says in constructing it, 'how steep can we make the first dip?' If you make the dip too deep, the screams will continue as the car goes over the edge and destroys everyone. Therefore you mustn't go too far because you do want them to get off the switchback railway, giggling with pleasure."
—From a 1964 interview with the English TV show Monitor, via Daily Mail
5. ON PUNS
"Puns are the highest form of literature."
—From a 1972 television interview with Dick Cavett
6. ON THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MYSTERY AND SUSPENSE
"The two things are absolutely miles apart. A mystery is an intellectual process, like in a whodunit. But suspense is essentially an emotional process. Therefore, you can only get the suspense element going by giving the audience information. And I daresay you've seen many films which have mysterious goings on, you don't know why the man is doing that, and you're about a third of the way through the film before you realize what it's all about. And to me, that's complete wasted footage, because there's no emotion to it."
—From a 1970 AFI Seminar
7. ON BEING HAPPY
"My wife is an excellent cook, and I could die eating. The things that make me happiest in the world are eating, drinking, and sleeping. I sleep like a newborn babe. I drink like a fish, have you seen what a red face I have? And I eat like a pig. Even if it does make me look more and more like a porker myself."
—From a 1963 interview with Oriana Fallaci, via Alfred Hitchcock: Interviews
8. ON WHY PEOPLE KILL
"Years ago, it was economic, really. Especially in England. First of all, divorce was very hard to get, and it cost a lot of money. ... They do it in desperation. Absolute desperation. They have nowhere to go, there were no motels in those days, and they’d have to go behind the bushes in the park. And in desperation they would murder. ... [Mass murderers] are psychotics, you see. They’re absolutely psychotic. They’re very often impotent. As I showed in Frenzy. The man was completely impotent until he murdered and that’s how he got his kicks. But today of course, with the Age of the Revolver, as one might call it, I think there is more use of guns in the home than there is in the streets. You know? And men lose their heads?"
—From an interview with Andy Warhol in the September 1974 issue of Interview, via Filmmaker IQ
9. ON YOUTH
"I am pro-young. I wrote my first script at the age of 22 and directed my first film at 25. So I'm for the young. And when people today say I'm 70, I say that's a confounded lie. I'm twice 35, that's all. Twice 35."
—From a 1969 interview with The New York Times
10. ON DRAMA
"What is drama, after all, but life with the dull bits cut out."
—From Hitchcock by François Truffaut