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Robert F. Boyle - quotes

Quotations relating to Robert F. Boyle...

Hitch was not only my director, he was my drama coach, which was fantastic. I couldn't have had a better teacher. He not only helped me with developing the character of Melanie Daniels, he had me sit in on meetings with Evan Hunter; with Robert Burks, the D.P.; with Bobby Boyle, the set director; with, of course, Edith Head, who I worked very closely with on designing not only the clothes for "The Birds" and "Marnie" but my own private wardrobe. But in every phase of making that motion picture, he was sure that I was educated in it. And it was stunning. It was an amazing education that I received.

Tippi Hedren (2000)

Film Pre-Production

We had just finished working on "North by Northwest", and I saw Hitchcock on one of the soundstages. He stopped me and said, "I have a friend, Daphne Du Maurier, who has written a short novella." He said, "Would you read it and see if, physically, it creates too many problems." And I read it that night, and I was bowled over by its strength. But I saw it a little differently — I saw it as a mood piece. And I didn't see it as a narrative story. I spent the rest of the night — worked all night on it — and the image that came to me was [Edvard] Munch's Scream. I saw that as a kind of icon for the whole thing.

Robert F. Boyle (2000)

Because of the difficult technical problems, we knew we were going to have to have continuity sketches. Well, Hitchcock loved to work that way anyway. His main thrust in all of his work was preparation. Matter of fact, he sometimes facetiously said he was bored with shooting the picture. The excitement came with the ideas that were generated in the preparatory portion of the film making process. He liked to have it all clear in his mind so that before he started to shoot, he saw the whole movie in his mind. There are very few people, directors or otherwise, that can hold this kind of a concept. Harold Michelson was the main production illustrator on "The Birds". He did, I think, almost all of the illustrations.

Robert F. Boyle (2000)

I think northern California always reminded Hitch of England. There was something about the weather, which was very unpredictable. It was fog and rain and then sunshine and then fog and rain again. It was a moody, strange area — both forbidding and foreboding. I believe that's what intrigued him. It had a kind of mystical quality.

We had to get all of these various pieces and put them together to make one small community out of it. We built a schoolteacher's house in Bodega, which was a few miles from Bodega Bay. But Bodega Bay just was perfect. It was an almost completely enclosed bay, and there was what is called Bodega Head, which is where the house was.

There was an old house that had gone to wrack and ruin. So we could only use sort of almost the foundation. We rebuilt the house and we added a barn, and that could be reached by road and by boat, which suited the purpose of the film perfectly.

Robert F. Boyle (2000)
keywords: Alfred Hitchcock, Bodega Bay, California, The Birds (1963), location filming, and pre-production

Hitchcock was very interested in good food and wine. He had been up in that area, there in the Napa Valley, checking out the wine lists of the country. So I think Santa Rosa was an area that he knew. Today it's a large city, really. It's big now. But in those days it was a sleepy little village with a courthouse, a library. The library doesn't exist any more. I think the courthouse is now a modern building.

But this was an old-fashioned town. It was the kind of a town that didn't say where it was. It was American. It could have been in the middle West. It could even have been in the East. In those days it spelled America more than any town, and I think that appealed to Hitch, who hadn't been in America very long. He was now interested in exploring it and trying to get the essence of American life, small-town, innocent life. The innocent America. Santa Rosa seemed to be a big contrast to the New Jersey rooming house.

Robert F. Boyle (2000)
Boyle describes the technical difficulties of the Mount Rushmore sequence in "North by Northwest"....

The main problem in the Mount Rushmore sequence was to make it believable that two people could climb down the face of Mount Rushmore — it couldn't be done, but we had to make it look believable. So, we went up to Mount Rushmore, climbed up the back and found that on the top of each one of the heads there was a huge iron ring, with a cable and bosun's chair... We then lowered down each face and photographed in every direction possible every 10 feet and those became the backgrounds.

Film Production

We realized that, if we were working with seagulls, we could train them to go for food. They're greedy animals, and so you could put food just behind the camera, or right on top of the camera, and they'd fly into the lens.

I must say we tried to use mechanical birds, and we did use a few, but mechanical birds that moved didn't work out too well. So we finally decided to work with crows.

The reason we started with crows is obviously they have an intelligence that most birds don't have. You could train a crow. But because they were so intelligent, they were also hard to capture. But Ray Berwick — I think Ray had done Birdman of Alcatraz, which is only a couple of birds, and here we were dealing with thousands.

So we finally had to go with eggs — growing crows. That didn't take as long as it sounds, because they were very young. I think there is still some of the original crows flying around here. They live a long time!

Robert F. Boyle (2000)