David Rakoff wrote that, “[nothing] assails the writer’s credibility more than the pleasant childhood”. This could be extended to movie-makers, and it is tempting to dig for a troubled past in the artist, particularly an artist who likes to put an audience at unease, like Alfred Hitchcock.
To François Traffaut’s, the prospect of an interview with Hitchcock must have piqued again his interest in the relationship between childhood experiences and artistic expression. Traffaut had a troubled childhood, as beautifully shown in his Les quatre cents coups (The 400 Blows), and he begins this engaging interview with Hitchcock with a question about a story, sensationalized as it turns out, of his father locking him up as a very young boy in a police station.
The rest of the interview, held in 1962 while The Birds was in post-production, ends up being an education in the value and definition of drama and suspense, through the engaging voice of Hitchcock, and of his history of cinema, with some surprising insight into his movies, Vertigo in particular.
For the entire audio collection, click here.