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Sunday Times (Perth) (08/Jan/1928) - Films Born of Music




Great Producer Doesn't Like Pictures

"Personally, I don't like pictures." That was the remarkable confession made to me the other night by the young man who is the highest salaried British film producer at the present time. Mr. Alfred Hitchcock smiled in his disarming way as the heretical words fell from his lips, and he glanced affectionately over at his gramophone (says G.M.T. in the London "Sunday News").

"That is what I like," he said. "I like it because I can bring the world's greatest orchestras into my own house and hear Wagner played as only great orchestras can play him."

Our greatest film director is a grown-up boy who has not lost the dreams of youth. He finds them all in the glorious chords of great music. In his flat, in addition to the superb gramophone, there is a portable wireless set — "so that I needn't ever miss any of the music that is floating through the ether, wherever I may be." — and a beautiful baby grand piano.

Some of the most brilliant scenes in our newest films have been conceived, while the wonderful melodies of Wagner or Beethoven stirred Mr. Hitchcock's imagination with their enchantment.

He wanted to talk to me about music but I was determined to nave his opinions, about films. He does not profess to have any abstract ideas on the subject of his own art.

"I don't know a good film from a bad one," was one of the things he told me. "Except among my own. Some of them have been pretty bad, I think. You learn that way."

"In a Blue Funk."

"For me every picture is an adventure. When I start making a new picture I am in a state of blue funk for days. I feel I don't know anything about making pictures, and, in a sense, I am right there.

"Every film demands a treatment and a point of view all its own. I am absolutely against the machine-made picture in which a mechanical efficiency is made to take the place of artistic originality. Not that I am setting up as a film high-brow. I have a definite object in making films, and that is to make my audience — the audience I shall never see — applaud or laugh.

Laughs That Tell.

"I think laughter is the most gratifying reward, providing that the comic incident which rouses the laughter has been used to get a dramatic point across.

"That is my conception of the sort of film the public are going to ask for more and more — a film in which the theme will be dramatic and the treatment light and comic. That is what I am aiming at.

"Oh, yes, there have been films of that kind before now. The best example I know of the sort of film I art trying to make is that wonderful picture of Chaplin's, 'The Woman of Paris.' You remember it? Each funny little incident in that film was made to tell — it advanced the story and heightened the dramatic intensity of the theme while it made the people laugh.

His Ambition.

"The theme of the picture suggests the treatment. Thus in making 'The Farmer's Wife' I rely on domestic themes, cooking and baking and so forth. But in the film of Parisian high life I am going to make next, I shall have to find quite different and much more sophisticated themes.

"I have no use for symbolism and camera angles should I think, only be employed to make the story clearer.

"The film of my ambition? Is there one, I wonder? Yes, I think I should like to handle a big spectacular picture with great crowds. But it would be one in which the crowds would have some meaning; which they don't usually have to-day."