The Hitchcock and Truffaut Tapes

In 1962 François Truffaut carried out a series of extensive interviews with Alfred Hitchcock at his offices in Universal Studios.

Recorded to audio tape, the content was eventually edited down into Truffaut’s famous book Hitchcock.

A landmark meeting of two great directors, the conversations cover Hitchcock’s life and career in great detail as they discuss films such as Blackmail (1929), The 39 Steps (1935), Sabotage (1939), Rebecca (1940), Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Lifeboat (1944), Spellbound (1945), Notorious (1946), Rope (1948), Strangers on a Train (1951), The Birds (1963), Rear Window (1954), Vertigo (1958), North By Northwest (1959) and Psycho (1960).

Truffaut did not speak much English, so he hired Helen Scott of the French Film Office in New York to act as the translator for the sessions.

The half hour sessions were subsequently broadcast on French radio and in 2006 Tom Sutpen started posting audio files on his blog ‘If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger, There’d Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats‘.



You can listen to the 25 parts individually below (just click on the relevant links to download as single tracks):

PART 1: Childhood through to his early years in the film industry (26 mins) [MP3]

PART 2: Mountain Eagle through to the end of the silent era (27 mins) [MP3]

PART 3: Blackmail through to a discussion about American audiences (26 mins) [MP3]

PART 4: Rich and Strange through to realism in films (27 mins) [MP3]

PART 5: The 39 Steps through to plausibility in film and film critics (28 mins) [MP3]

PART 6: Secret Agent and Sabotage (27 mins) [MP3]

PART 7: Young and Innocent and The Lady Vanishes (27 mins) [MP3]

PART 8: Final years in Britain through to his move to America (28 mins) [MP3]

PART 9: Rebecca (27 mins) [MP3]

PART 10: Discussion about Hollywood through to Notorious (27 mins) [MP3]

PART 11: Mr and Mrs Smith through to Suspicion (26 mins) [MP3]

PART 12: Saboteur through to Shadow of a Doubt (26 mins) [MP3]

PART 13: Lifeboat through to Spellbound (27 mins) [MP3]

PART 14: Notorious through to The Paradine Case (27 mins) [MP3]

PART 15: Rope (27 mins) [MP3]

PART 16: Rope and Under Capricorn (26 mins) [MP3]

PART 17: Stage Fright through to Strangers on a Train (27 mins) [MP3]

PART 18: Strangers on a Train through to I Confess (28 mins) [MP3]

PART 19: Notorious through to a discussion about suspense (27 mins) [Mp3]

PART 20: Initial discussion about the The Birds through to Rear Window (27 mins) [Mp3]

PART 21: The Wrong Man through to Vertigo (27 mins) [MP3]

PART 22: North by Northwest through to Psycho (26 mins) [MP3]

PART 23: Psycho (27 mins) [MP3]

PART 24: The Birds (27 mins) [MP3]

PART 25: Psycho through to characterisation in films (27 mins) [Mp3]

> Find out more about Alfred Hitchcock and Francois Truffaut at Wikipedia
> Buy Hitchcock by Francois Truffaut from Amazon UK


Location of the Crop Dusting Sequence in North By Northwest

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The crop dusting sequence from Hitchcock’s North By Northwest is one of the most iconic in all of cinema and the real life location can be seen above on Google Maps.

The scene was meant to take place in northern Indiana, but was actually shot on Garces Highway (155) near the towns of Wasco and Delano, north of Bakersfield in Kern County, California.

If you have never seen the film, here it is:

Incidentally, the Blu-ray of North By Northwest which Warner Bros brought out last year is easily one of the finest to come out in the new format.

Read my full take on it here.

[Thanks to Jeffrey Wells for pointing out the location in a recent post on Hollywood Elsewhere]

Amusing Interesting Trailers

North By Northwest Trailer

The original trailer for North By Northwest (out recently on Blu-ray) was introduced by Alfred Hitchcock and done in the manner of a travel show.

Can you imagine directors today being this funny?

blu-ray DVD & Blu-ray

UK Blu-ray Releases: Monday 16th November 2009

Blu-ray Picks 16-11-09



For All Mankind (Eureka/Masters of Cinema): A re-release of the classic 1989 documentary directed by Al Reinhert, which was assembled from the NASA archives. Featuring extraordinary footage of the Apollo lunar missions from 1968 to 1972, the hypnotic score was by Brian Eno. [Read the full review here]

Moon (Sony): Another moon-themed release, this classy futuristic sci-fi thriller stars Sam Rockwell an astronaut stationed on a mining station on the moon. Directed by Duncan Jones, it received considerable critical acclaim. [Read the full review here]

North By Northwest (Warner Bros.): The 50th anniversary re-release of Alfred Hitchcock’s espionage caper starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint and James Mason has been newly remastered in 1080p from original VistaVision film elements. [Read the full review here]


Rome: The Complete Series (Warner)
The Green Mile (Warner)
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (Second Sight)
The Towering Inferno (Warner)
Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure (Disney)

Check out all the DVD & Blu-ray releases for November 2009
> Browse more Blu-ray releases at Amazon UK and Play
Check out the latest UK cinema releases including 2012, Taking Woodstock and The White Ribbon (W/C Friday 13th November 2009)