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Mansfield News Journal (27/Aug/1940) - Hollywood Speaks...



Hollywood Speaks...

Once a movie fan wrote me to inquire: "What is this thing called 'the Hitchcock touch' in your pictures?"

I'm sure I can't answer unless I simply say "I try to do the unexpected." I think folks go to the theater to be shocked, surprised and thrilled. I don't think they go to "figure out" a picture, so much as they go to be swept away from their problems by something new, novel and exciting.

We live in an exciting age and most people expect their entertainment to move along at a fast pace. I find most theater-goers want to participate in an exciting story. I think every film fan always will want to be the third per-son at every wedding, in every love scene and in every exciting happening in a picture. So, I like to give them plenty to keep them interested, participating and excited about.

I think the camera (which represents the audience) should keep moving, weaving in and out, getting as close to intimate scenes as possible. I think a stationary camera makes a picture's action seem impersonal. Frequently I take the camera way up in the air or down beneath the earth or water level, to give the audience an intimate touch.

I know there as a very thin veil between comedy and tragedy oft-times. It's fun to create such delicate situations, let them play with the emotions a moment or two, and then turn into a pleasant surprise. Maybe that's the Hitchcock touch, but to me its fun.

I think one of the most important elements of present day pictures is casting players who don't look like actors or caricatures. If an audience can spot an actor as a villain in his first few scenes, his best work flops miserably. Not all villains took like villains and not all handsome men are romantic. I detest "obvious" actors and the suffering, pained, grimacing, groaning and broken-hearted actor. I have found that most people don't collapse or get hysterical in times of shock or great pain. They usually grin, grit their teeth and say but little. Hence, in my pictures you wall be disappointed if you expect to find actors swooning right and left.

One of the most thrilling scenes I ever hoped to make is in my latest film, "Foreign Correspondent." I have tried to make it a breath-taking, shocking thing because in real life it would be. But because I believe that under such circumstances men and women facing seemingly certain death would fight to live, the characters face their peril with strength and fight and resistance. I think they'll win your admiration by demonstrating calmness and courage, not through theatrical fireworks.

The scene could have been done in one-third the film footage for one-tenth the cost if it had been done for physical effect alone. To create an emotional affinity between audience and players, however, we made the scene the hard way. I only hope the audience en-joys it as much as we did, trying to make the thrill seem actuality.

(Editor's Note: It was Mr. Hitchcock who directed "Rebecca.")