ISBN: 0671526014
ISBN 13: 9780671526016
By: François Truffaut Alfred Hitchcock

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About this book

Any book-length interview with Alfred Hitchcock is valuable, but considering that this volume's interlocutor is François Truffaut, the conversation is remarkable indeed. Here is a rare opportunity to eavesdrop on two cinematic masters from very different backgrounds as they cover each of Hitch's films in succession. Though this book was initially published in 1967 when Hitchcock was still active, Truffaut later prepared a revised edition that covered the final stages of his career. It's difficult to think of a more informative or entertaining introduction to Hitchcock's art, interests, and peculiar sense of humor. The book is a storehouse of insight and witticism, including the master's impressions of a classic like Rear Window ("I was feeling very creative at the time, the batteries were well charged"), his technical insight into Psycho's shower scene ("the knife never touched the body; it was all done in the [editing]"), and his ruminations on flops such as Under Capricorn ("If I were to make another picture in Australia today, I'd have a policeman hop into the pocket of a kangaroo and yell 'Follow that car!'"). This is one of the most delightful film books in print. --Raphael Shargel

Reader's Thoughts

Alden Weer

Todo bien, pero no entiendo por qué todo el mundo considera éste un libro fundamental sobre el cine. Parece ser uno de esos libros de cabecera de los comunicadores/periodistas que se quieren convertir en críticos de cine. El libro es básicamente una entrevista larga a Hitchcock (realizada por un Truffaut que se muestra tan chupamedias como cualquier 'buen' entrevistador), en la que se tratan detalles de todas sus películas. Si sos fan de Alfred o al menos viste la mayoría de su obra, creo que es una lectura entretenida e interesante. Si no, leer sobre decisiones como por qué decidió mostrar o editar algo o desde qué ángulo sin conocer el contexto puede resultar futil y medio aburrido. Pero por sobre todas las cosas me parece un libro chato: no es sobre el cine, es sobre un solo tipo de cine, el de Hitchcock. Nunca habla sobre otros directores, y parece no haber visto a ninguno. Y capaz esto me pasó a mí solo, pero después de haber leído la mitad, sentía que ya conocía su visión o forma de encarar al cine, y ya seguir leyendo sobre sus decisiones me parecía redundante.Creo que mayormente se lo recomiendo a fans de Hitchcock o gente que quiera copiarlo.

Lynne King

This book is about the two film directors Hitchcock and Truffaut. It is a wonderful book and Jeffrey has written a superb review today on this.So my advice is to read Jeffrey's review and then purchase this book. It is an historical document of the film world.A gem to have.


This was such a fascinating read, and worked brilliantly as a conversation between one fantastic director to another. It was so interesting to hear not only about the ins and outs of each of Hitchcock's films, but to hear his own personal story, what he thought and how he thought. There are so many themes and tropes analysed and discussed and its refreshing to hear them.I haven't read every single page due to not seeing every single Hitchcock film, but I devoured the pages discussing films that I have watched and become a fan of. A must read for any Hitchcock fan.

Jon Boorstin

One of the few absolutely essential books about the movies. Hitchcock, through Truffaut, explains the idea of point of view in movies, and how that determines how movies are written and directed. If you absorb this book, and study the films they're talking about, you have the tools to make a first rate film.

Nicholas Kobach

a conversation with two masters.


Es el diálogo entre dos grandes personalidades de la historia del cine. Una de ellas, Trufaut, es representativa de la escuela más ombliguista y autoril del cine europeo. La otra, Hitchcock, un bastión de Hollywood como factoría de historias y que, durante muchos tiempos, fue denostado por el público más culterano y pretencioso. Su encuentro, desde el respeto y la admiración mutua, se traduce en una conversación de varios días en las que se aprende sobre narrativa cinematográfica más que viendo todas las tertulias del programa de Garci. Imprescindible para quien esté interesado en el cine.

Shawn Nuzzo

This book will teach you more about the art of film making than 4 years (and $200,000) at NYU will.

Kyle Sullivan

I just reread this book, because it shifted my focus from being an artist to being a filmmaker (and now writer), and I'm not overstating. I was making a living designing and building backdrops for visual merchandising and doing display windows in San Antonio, as well as commissioned works of art, when I found an early edition of Truffaut's interview with Hitchcock and got my first idea of how films were made. In fact, this book should be a primer for all film classes; once you've read it, you've got a good foundation in how to make a movie.Now I'm not talking about the technical aspects of moviemaking -- lighting, sound, working with today's actors unlike yesterdays stars (who weren't really all that less difficult to deal with), things like that. I mean the visual needs and limitations of telling a story on film. Hitchcock and Truffaut do a lot of commenting on how to use images to forward the story and how much more important that in in this medium...and how you can trick the audience but you cannot lie to them.For instance, when he made "Sabotage" in 1936, Hitch has an anarchist give an innocent boy a bomb to carry to another location. The kid thinks it's just a reel of film in a movie canister. The bomb is set to go off at 1pm, during a parade, but the boy's delayed. He gets on a bus to make up time, sits next to a nice old lady and a puppy and plays with it. But the bus is caught in traffic (due to that parade) and the suspense builds and builds and builds until the bomb goes off, killing everyone on the bus. It's a horrifying reminder of what terrorism is all about.The audience was furious and the movie was a flop. Why? Because he'd ostensibly offered up a piece of fun entertainment and then, without warning, shoved the audience's face in the brutality of life. You don't tell someone you'll give them a kiss...then punch them in the face and assume they will accept that. I've seen other movies make this same mistake, and even though they're fine films they crash and burn with the moviegoers. Hitchcock would still toy with the audience's emotions in movies like "Vertigo" (which hurt its box office but not its standing as a work of art) and "Psycho" (where he was a bit more careful in leading up to the famous shower sequence), but he never flat-out lied to them, again.But then, Hitchcock knew film was an odd art form that didn't have the full freedom of true art and shouldn't be taken too seriously. Too many people were involved in its creation, and the audience is too important a part of the final result. This book backs up his assertions about that. His famous quote, in fact, is -- "It's only a movie." But by the time you've finished reading this extended version of the first edition of the book, you'll see that the medium is also one that is fit for artists who truly understand it. Reading this book will help them find that understanding.


This is a film geeks dream. Musings and interviews by one of Europe's greatest filmakers/crital essayist. Francois Truffaut spent over fifty hours with 'Hitch' detailing every aspect of his career. From his start in silent films all the way to his hyper stylized Technicolor masterpieces. Mostly overlooked by film critics for his personal and often times metaphysical style, this book proves that Alfred Hitchcock was one of the greatest artists of the 20th Century. I haven't finished it, but I can't recommend this book enough!


It's a book-length interview between nouvelle vague hero Truffaut (interviewer), and his hero, Alfred Hitchcock (interviewee). I found the book fairly interesting, but I love both their movies enough that I'd probably find a book consisting of them reading the phone directory to each other interesting. As a primer of Hitchock's thought processes, it can't be beat; that said, if you've read any other books on Fat Al, you won't find much here that you don't already know.

Mr. Gutiérrez

Me ha gustado mucho, muy humano, muy Hitchcock.Desconocía parte de la filmografía hitchcokriana y este libro ha sido para mi un acercamiento y ampliación del conocimiento y su tratamiento en las películas.La verdad es que la manera en la que trabajaba era magistral, por eso me ha gustado mucho el libro, descubrir de su propia boca como había trabajado con todas estas películas todo este tiempo y leer como era su forma de trabajar, es muy inspirador.Sin duda alguna, un libro del cual volveré a releer para contrastar mis impresiones como público de algunas películas que me quedan por ver y la opinión de un gran maestro del cine "Alfred Hitchcock"

David Rain

There’s a brilliant moment in Truffaut’s introduction in which he explains why suspense, far from being a mere trick or incidental effect, is in fact of the essence of cinema, indeed, of narrative itself: “Suspense is simply the dramatisation of a film’s narrative material, or, if you will, the most intense presentation possible of dramatic situations.” Which is one reason, perhaps, why Hitchcock, the wonderfully perverse genius behind Rear Window, Vertigo, Psycho, The Birds and a host of other classics, was the definitive film director; and this long, large-format, lavishly-illustrated book is the ultimate celebration in book form of his life and work. Distilled from over fifty hours of taped interviews with Hitchcock, this sustained dialogue between two great directors is required reading for anyone interested in film, and anyone interested in storytelling too. You won’t learn everything about Hitchcock here; you should also read Donald Spoto’s biography, The Dark Side of Genius (1982), for a start. But it’s notable just how many of the best Hitchcock quotes in Spoto come straight from the Truffaut book. The first English-language edition, from 1967, is worth getting hold of, if you can find a copy, because it’s a beautifully designed book. But for content, it’s the 1983 update which is best, featuring additional interviews recorded after 1967, as well as Truffaut’s reflections on Hitchcock’s final years.


The definitive, film by film dissection of Hitch's films by fellow auteur Francois Truffaut. From his earliest British silent films to the classics Vertigo and Rear Window, down to the final chapters in the master's filmography, Truffaut manages to get the almost preternaturally diffident and private Hitchcock to open up and discuss the demons in his own life that gave notice to all of us of our own inner workings: jealousy, the wrongly accused innocent, obsession, split-personality, evil exposed . . . all of these dark themes pervaded Hitch's work, which still remained, even after the many murders and mayhems, immensely good-humored and fun. How did he do it? Read this book to find out.


What a treat! I knew that this book would be really interesting but was afraid it might be kind of dry or technical. Not the case at all. Truffaut's genuine respect and affection for Hitchcok permeate these interviews and they come off as informal and informative. What's particularly interesting is Hitchcock's alternative pride and occassional indifference to his work. Allowing Hithcock to speak in his own works gives the reader some genuine insight into the man and his metier that doesn't always come across in biography. I'm now an even fan or Truffaut and Hitchcock (is that's possible)!


Was bei Chaplin nie jemand vermocht hat: Truffaut gelingt es, Hitchcock die Geheimnisse zu entreißen. Film ist nicht nur Mittel zum Zweck, sondern wird als eigene Kunst behandelt."Psycho" gehört nur den Filmemachern.Zwei Kenner im Gespräch.

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