Alfred Hitchcock

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Television has done much for psychiatry by spreading information about it, as well as contributing to the need for it.

Alfred Hitchcock (13 August 1899 - 29 April 1980) was a British film director and producer, closely associated with the suspense thriller genre.


Dialogue should simply be a sound among other sounds, just something that comes out of the mouths of people whose eyes tell the story in visual terms.
  • The Birds could be the most terrifying motion picture I have ever made.
  • I am a typed director. If I made Cinderella, the audience would immediately be looking for a body in the coach.
    • Newsweek (11 June 1956)
  • Television has done much for psychiatry by spreading information about it, as well as contributing to the need for it.
  • 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.
    • News summaries (31 December 1963)
  • Television is like the invention of indoor plumbing. It didn’t change people’s habits. It just kept them inside the house.
    • NY Journal-American (25 August 1965)
  • One of television’s great contributions is that it brought murder back into the home, where it belongs.
    • National Observer (15 August 1966)
  • Seeing a murder on television can … help work off one’s antagonisms. And if you haven’t any antagonisms, the commercials will give you some.
    • National Observer (15 August 1966)
  • Dialogue should simply be a sound among other sounds, just something that comes out of the mouths of people whose eyes tell the story in visual terms.
    • As quoted in Hitchcock (1967) by Francois Truffaut
  • Give them pleasure — the same pleasure they have when they wake up from a nightmare.
    • on audiences, Asbury Park NJ Press, 13 Aug. 1974
  • Self-plagiarism is style.
    • defending repetition of his filming techniques, London Observer, 8 Aug. 1976
  • Blondes make the best victims. They’re like virgin snow that shows up the bloody footprints.
    • CBS TV, 20 Feb. 1977
  • [This award is] meaningful because it comes from my fellow dealers in celluloid.
    • on receiving American Film Institute’s 1979 Lifetime Achievement Award, recalled on his death, 29 Apr. 1980
  • I’m not against the police; I’m just afraid of them.
    • New Society, London, 10 May, 1984
  • In the documentary the basic material has been created by God, whereas in the fiction film the director is the god; he must create life.
    • François Truffaut with the collaboration of Helen G. Scott, Hitchcock, rev. ed., cop. 1984, p. 102


  • A murder without gleaming scissors is like asparagus without the hollandaise sauce - tasteless.
  • Always make the audience suffer as much as possible.
  • A good film is when the price of the dinner, the theatre admission and the babysitter were worth it.
    • Variation: A good film is when the price of the admission, the dinner and the babysitter was well worth it.
  • Drama is life with the dull bits left out.
  • Even my failures make money and become classics a year after I make them.
  • 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.
    • When accepting the American Film Institute Life Achievement award.
  • I enjoy playing the audience like a piano.
  • I have the perfect cure for a sore throat: cut it
  • The inventor of the bagpipes was inspired when he saw a man carrying an indignant asthmatic pig under his arm. Unfortunately, the manmade sound never equalled the purity of the sound achieved by the pig.
  • I was an uncommonly unattractive young man.
  • It's only a movie, and, after all, we're all grossly overpaid....
  • I once received a letter from a mother ambitious for her daughter. It read: "I have a perfectly beautiful daughter. She is seventeen years old, five feet three inches tall, and weighs eight stone. Do you think she might succeed in films?" I replied "Madam, it would be impossible to say, as you did not state her width."
  • 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.
  • In feature films the director is God; in documentary films God is the director.
  • I'm full of fears and I do my best to avoid difficulties and any kind of complications. I like everything around me to be clear as crystal and completely calm.
  • In the old days villains had moustaches and kicked the dog. Audiences are smarter today. They don’t want their villain to be thrown at them with green limelight on his face. They want an ordinary human being with failings.
  • In films murders are always very clean. I show how difficult it is and what a messy thing it is to kill a man.
  • I'm a philanthropist: I give people what they want. People love being horrified, terrified.
  • I never said actors were cattle. All I said is that actors should be treated as cattle.
  • It is no accident that an anagram of 'actors' is 'scrota'.
  • Some movies are slices of life. Mine are slices of cake...
  • Some of our most exquisite murders have been domestic, performed with tenderness in simple, homey places like the kitchen table
  • The length of the film should be directly related to the endurance of human bladder.
  • There is no terror in a bang, only in the anticipation of it.
    • In reponse to his style of suspense
  • There are several differences between a footballl game and a revolution. For one thing, a football game usually lasts longer and the participants wear uniforms. Also there are more injuries at a football game.
  • Then Madam I suggest you have her dry cleaned.
    • To a woman who complained that the shower scene so frightened her daughter that the girl would no longer shower
  • They like to put their toe in the cold water of fear.
    • On why people were fond of his thrillers
  • This paperback is very interesting, but I find it will never replace a hardcover book -- it makes a very poor doorstop.
  • To me Psycho was a big comedy. Had to be.
  • Thank you.
    • His entire acceptance speech for the Irving Thalberg Memorial Award
  • There is nothing quite so good as burial at sea. It is simple, tidy, and not very incriminating.
  • There is nothing to winning, really. That is, if you happen to be blessed with a keen eye, an agile mind, and no scruples whatsoever.
  • Walt Disney has the best casting system. If he don't like an actor, he just tears him up.
  • 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.'
  • Your best side? My dear, you're sitting on it.
    • Remark to Kim Novak

Quotes about Hitchcock

  • Hitch is a gentleman farmer who raises goose flesh. ~ Ingrid Bergman
  • The man with the navy-blue voice. ~ Barbara Harris (London Observer 6 Aug 76)
  • Like Freud, Hitchcock diagnosed the discontents that chafe and rankle beneath the decorum of civilization. Like Picasso or Dali, he registered the phenomenological threat of an abruptly modernised world. — Peter Conrad
  • Here is someone, who has an enormous, inordinate, neurotic fear of disorder. And that's from which he makes his art. He always has his people in a moment of disorder. They think they're in control, they think they have power, they think they have order, and then he just slips the rug out from under them to see what they're going to do. — Drew Casper
  • I'd like to know more about his relationships with women. No, on second thought, I wouldn't. — Ingrid Bergman

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