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Variety (1937) - Pictures: Writers, Producers More Important Than Directors, Opines Hitchcock




Writers, Producers More Important Than Directors, Opines Hitchcock

Future plans of Alfred Hitchcock are completely in the air after he completes the two more pictures called for in his present Gaumont-British contract. On his first trip to America, the director is on a 10-day visit to New York, vacationing and seeing shows. On his return to London he will supervise the cutting on "The Girl Was Young," which he recently finished shooting with Nova Pilbeam.

First of his next two directorial jobs for G-B will be another Pilbeam pic, as yet untitled. Will be adapted from a French short story by Marcel Achard. Hitchcock, Joan Harrison, his assistant, and Mrs. Hitchcock (Alma Reville) are already working on the preliminary adaptation. Production will get under way in November, with the rest of the cast so far unselected. Second pic isn't set.

Hitchcock is making no decision just now regarding his plans after the G-B contract. Has been approached by Metro, as well as other U.S. companies, for directorial stints, either in Hollywood or England, and is "intensely interested" but doesn't plan any huddles with film execs during his current New York stay. This is "completely a vacation," and he can negotiate with American companies just as well in England, he says. Meanwhile, he has "an open mind" on the subject. Hitchcock figures ultimately to become a producer. Thinks the director's importance in pix is wanting, with the writing and production ends gradually taking on creased importance until the director will become little more than what corresponds to a stager in legit. Current efforts of the Screen Directors Guild in Hollywood to increase the scope and authority of directors' work are contrary to the natural trend and will fail, he believes. If and when he ever goes to Hollywood, it will be with the idea of eventually getting into the production end.

British Quota

Director says the present British quota law will remain in force indefinitely, with equal or increased restrictions. Sees it as necessary for British studios until such time as producers there become firmly enough established to compete on an equal basis with Hollywood and have enough output to obtain sufficient market outlets. Present financing problems are comparatively involved, he says, but maybe worked out satisfactorily by "the right people — responsible producers." Present efforts of Alexander Korda to purchase a share of United Artists stock will, if successful, have a beneficial effect on British pictures, Hitchcock thinks.

Present trend toward super-budget productions, running to the $2,000,000 mark, are "just a phase," in the director's opinion. When a few flops are produced, studios will return to a saner standard. To continue their development and growth, both artistically and commercially, films will have to depend more and more on character portrayal and analsys, rather than plot action alone, Hitchcock believes. Available action plots have long ago been exhausted and efforts of writer-producer combos in the future must be more and more to stress character and action.

Although the director has never seen Hollywood and is interested in doing so, he will not visit there this trip.