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Peter Bogdanovich - quotes

Quotations relating to Peter Bogdanovich...

It's a movie about the dangers of complacency, I think is what he said. We all take things for granted, and we take birds for granted. What if they suddenly turned, you know? This is what would happen. That's a theme that runs through a lot of Hitchcock's pictures — that people take things for granted, people go through their life unthinkingly. And then something happens and they have to think.

I think the scene where Lydia discovers the [farmer's] body is typical Hitchcock in the sense that he shows you from a distance what's happening, and then when it gets to the key moment he cuts in, and he does it in an unusual way, with kind of a triple cut — bop, bop, bop, where it gets closer and closer each time, like somebody doing a triple take. I asked him about it, he said, "Well, that's the way you might see it — Look, look, look." Kind of unusual, subjective use of the camera.

It also basically says that, you know, it's all gonna go back to mother Earth. She will prevail.

I think, was it Truffaut who said after he saw it, said to Hitchcock, "It's a young man's picture." By that he meant it's a film with a lot of experimentation, a lot of risks. There's that moment when Anna Massey's walking into the street and all the sound goes away. That's unusual to do that. You have to have nerve to pull something off like that.

Well, Hitchcock, right from the beginning, his earliest work to the end, seemed to be very concerned about making the villain not a cliché, giving the villain a great deal of character and uniqueness as opposed to, you know, the guy that flicks the moustache. In "Shadow of a Doubt", Hitchcock goes out of his way to give him as much depth as possible. The idea of smoke, or the idea of him taking over. He does seem to take over the home, the family.

His speech at the dinner table, when he talks about women and how life is a sty, Hitchcock definitely gives Cotten his position. He lets the character say what he means and give his position paper, so to speak. "This is how I feel." That speech is very shocking. Even today, you look at it and you say, "Wow, that's pretty strong stuff."

That's one of the things you can characterise about Hitchcock is this kind of empathy for the devil.

Bogdanovich talking about the mother, "Emma", played by Patricia Collinge...

[Emma] doesn't see what's going on. She has a kind of blindness. But she's rather touchingly handled. Your heart breaks for her. She's almost desperate to remember that past, to remember that childhood that was evidently idyllic. Both she and Uncle Charlie have a tendency to glamorise and romanticise the past, which is what those shots of the Merry Widow dancers call to mind, another era, a more romantic period. She's one of the most touching characters in his work. Because she's so crazy about her brother, it makes you feel worse about bringing Cotten down because you feel, "What's that gonna do to the mother? It's gonna be very rough on her."

I think it's one of the most perfect of the Hitchcock pictures. It doesn't depend on star power. It doesn't depend on glamour. Hitch was right. It's a kind of extraordinary and ambiguous character study that is very troubling, because you get into these characters, including the killer.

I knew then that we were embarked on a film that had real content and maybe more importance than some of his others, which were kind of fairy tales, you know. I believe that's one of the reasons why Hitchcock himself considered it probably his best.

Film Production

Hitchcock responding to Peter Bogdanovich's question "Was the chase through the British Museum [in Blackmail] shot there?"...

No, it was all process. You see, there was never enough light in the British Museum, so we used what is known as the Schüfftan process. You have a mirror at an angle of 45 degrees and in it you reflect a full picture of the British Museum. I had some pictures taken with half-hour exposures. I had nine photographs taken in various rooms in the museum and we made then into transparencies so that we could back-light them. That is more luminous than a flat photograph. It was like a big lantern slide, about 12 by 14. And then I scraped the silvering away in the mirror only in the portions where I wanted the man to be seen running, and those portions we built on the stage. For example, one room was the Egyptian room, there were glass cases in there. All we built were the door frames from one room to another. We even had a man looking into a case, and he wasn't looking into anything on the stage. I did nine shots like this, but there was barely any set that could be seen on the stage. The front office was worrying about when the picture was going to be finished. So I did it all secretly because the studio heads knew nothing about the Schufftan process. I had another camera set up on the side photographing an insert of a letter, and a look-out stationed at the door. When the big-shot from the front office would walk through, we would just be shooting the insert of the letter. They'd go on through and I'd say, "All right, bring back the Schufftan." I did the whole nine shots that way. The chase on the roof was a miniature. We just built a skeleton ramp for him to run on.

Alfred Hitchcock (1963)

Film Post-Production

The music in "Frenzy" is good. It's one of the best scores he had without Bernard Herrmann. Henry Mancini, I think, did the original score, and then was let go. He brought Ron Goodwin in after letting Mancini go, and I think he did a very good job. It's the return to England, too, that Hitch probably infused that in the composer. There's a certain kind of nostalgia that Hitch must have felt that comes across in the score

keywords: Bernard Herrmann, Frenzy (1972), Henry Mancini, Ron Goodwin, music scores, and post-production