This article is a partially fictitious account wherein I imagine myself in conversation with two of the greatest minds in cinema: Truffaut and Hitchcock. This work was inspired by the series of interviews the two conducted which was later turned into a book. The quotes from the two are real though the context isn’t always. If you are interested in the book it can be purchased here. If this alternate history premise insults your sensitivities please move on.
This is part three of a series which started here.
When we began discussing Stage Fright Hitch asked:
A.H. Why is it we can’t tell a lie in a flashback? (189).
François had no answer, but I speculated.
B.V.: Well the nature of a flashback is slippery to begin with. When we’re taking an audience back in time it is implied that necessary information is going to be conveyed. Film is a continuous art-form as opposed to literature and television where there are breaks, so if we interrupt the forward progress of the story we must have good reason and we must also be truthful for then the audience will feel we have wasted their time even if for only 30 seconds.
B.V.: What did you think of the acting in Strangers on a Train?
A.H.: I wasn’t too pleased with Farley Granger; He’s a good actor but I would’ve liked to see William Holden in the part because he’s stronger (190).
B.V.: That’s a very good choice, Hitch.
B.V.: You’ve made reference in that past to the fact that French films and films in general seem to be moving away from plots. Yet you’ve always seemed more interested in situations than plots, is that correct?
A.H.: Yes, I’d prefer to build a film around a situation rather than a plot (203).
B.V.: You’ve had reservations about I Confess, especially the fact that priests are not to divulge what they are told in a confessional. Is the fact that this is not universal information the cause of your reservations?
A.H.: Putting a situation in a film simply because you yourself can vouch for its authenticity, either because you’ve experienced it or heard about it simply isn’t good enough (203). That’s the trouble with I Confess. We Catholics know that a priest cannot disclose the secrets of the confessional but the Protestants, the atheists and agnostics all say, “Ridiculous! No man would remain silent and sacrifice his life for such a thing”(204).
F.T.: Then would you say that the basic concept of the film is wrong? (204).
A.H.: That’s right; we shouldn’t have made the picture (204).
B.V.: I absolutely disagree with you. I don’t think the concept is wrong. If any of your concepts was flawed it was that of The Birds because of the niggling wonder I get about the birds and why they act the way they do, even knowing that nature is unpredictable hasn’t helped me embrace that film. I Confess, however, has a great scenario.
To Be Continued