Saturday, June 11, 2011
It's Only A Movie : Alfred Hitchcock : A Personal Biography - Charlotte Chandler
So what Chandler has done in fact is write a short piece on each of Hitch's movies interposd with some of those involved, from Hitch himself, the actors/actresses, script writers, and technicians, etc. It does provide some really interesting reading as she takes you behind the scenes. And in that regard this is what this book is, a look behind the scenes of Hitchcock's many films. She starts from his very early days as a studio's dog's body until 1978 when his health failed.
I like how Hitch himself recognised in the 1920's and 30's the fact that German cinema was way ahead of Britsh and American of the time. Their film techniques were revolutionary and influenced Hitch enormously. Many of his own films mirror that debt. I was also surprised to know that the use of 3-D has been around since the 1920's! I honestly didn't know that. Hitch saw its use in German cinemas and used it in Dial M for Murder. He was keen on the technique and hoped it wasn't it a 'phase'. Dial Murder itself had a very limited run in 3-D in theatres.
Things interesting titbits like the fact that no matter the set, or how hot things got, Hitch was always immaculately attired. He never took off his suit jacket, and only wore a short sleeve shirt once, in Marrakesch, for The Man Who Knew Too Much re-make...but still had on a tie!!. He believed in the director setting an example by his appearing professional at all times. He certainly was professional and his sets were legendary for their quietness and efficiency. Sky larking and practical jokes were virtually unknown. And little snippets like the fact the utterly lovely Grace Kelly was supposed to star in On the Waterfront but pulled out to star in Rear Window solely to be directed by Hitch. Oh!... and the blood in the famous shower scene of Psycho was actually chocolate sauce!!!