The wit and wisdom of Alfred Hitchcock

Filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock was nicknamed the “Master of Suspense” for employing a kind of psychological suspense in his films, producing a distinct viewer experience. He worked for a short time in engineering before entering the film industry in 1920. He left for Hollywood in 1939, where his first American film, Rebecca, won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Hitchcock created more than 50 films, including the classics Rear Window, The 39 Steps, and Psycho. Nicknamed the “Master of Suspense,” Hitchcock received the AFI’s Life Achievement Award in 1979. He died in 1980.

These are among his most widely quoted observations:

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o Drama is life with the dull bits cut out.

o I never said all actors are cattle; what I said was all actors should be treated like cattle.

o There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.

o Conversation is the enemy of good wine and food.

o For me, the cinema is not a slice of life, but a piece of cake.

o I am a typed director. If I made Cinderella, the audience would immediately be looking for a body in the coach.

o The only way to get rid of my fears is to make films about them.

o I’m not against the police; I’m just afraid of them.

o I have a perfect cure for a sore throat: cut it.

o Blondes make the best victims. They’re like virgin snow that shows up the bloody footprints.

o Always make the audience suffer as much as possible.

o The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder.

o 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.

o The more successful the villain, the more successful the picture.

o 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.’

o A good film is when the price of the dinner, the theatre admission, and the babysitter were worth it.

o Self-plagiarism is style.

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To learn more about Alfred Hitchcock’s life and work, please click here.

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