It’s hard to believe that it took six-and-a-half years for us to finally reach Alfred Hitchcock, but such is the unpredictability of the Hell Is For Hyphenates formula. And once we reached him, we had to go big with not just one special guest, but two!
We’d begun talking with Alicia earlier in the year about joining us on the show, and she’d flagged that she would very much like to talk about the films of Alfred Hitchcock. Just like two strangers meeting on a train, or an advertising executive calling out to a page boy looking for a spy named George Kaplan, or a missing woman’s rare tea label catching on the window outside your cabin, this turned out to be a very fortunate coincidence.
See, we managed to score an interview with legendary filmmaker Terence Davies, who had said that he’d be interested in talking with us about not all of Hitchcock’s films, but three in particular. The timing could not have been better.
The chat with Davies was conducted when he was in Australia as a guest of the Melbourne International Film Festival. He was there for the premiere of his film Sunset Song, and MIFF generously allowed us some time to talk about something other than the film Davies was here to promote. Sunset Song has just this month been released into Australia cinemas, so if you’re in the country, do make an effort to go and see it.
As fans of the 2010 Davies memoir-documentary Of Time and City, we were secretly hoping that he would as delightfully acerbic and ruthless as his narration of that film. We were only slightly disappointed that he turned out to be the nicest, most delightful man, and one we would have happily chatted to for several hours or days had his schedule permitted it. But we were honoured to be given the time that we did get, and we would like to thank him, MIFF, as well as publicists Asha Holmes and Frances Mariani.
But the Davies segment itself comes at the end of the show. The bulk of this month’s episode actually marks our first ever tri-continental recording, with Sophie in London, Lee in Melbourne, and guest Alicia in Los Angeles. It made the scheduling a little challenging, but it was worth it. A technical issue caused us to delay the recording by 24 hours, at which point Alicia was forced to call in on her phone as she drove to record a video for the film website Fandango. Given how many Hitchcock films feature a protagonist on the run, this felt entirely appropriate. Had Hitchcock made films in the era of mobile phones and Skype, there’s little doubt he would have employed this setup for some exciting thriller.
Before we get to Hitchcock, we compare notes on some of this month’s releases, including Oliver Stone’s Snowden, Antoine Fuqua’s The Magnificent Seven, and Rachel Lang’s Baden Baden.
The “further reading” section of these show notes could have been endless, given the infinite number of Hitchcock-related links available on the web, but here are some of our favourites:
- Every single Hitchcock cameo ever is collected in this fan edit video, featuring everything from his first appearance in The Lodger to his ingenious inclusion in Lifeboat.
- This jaw-dropping 3 minute time-lapse reconstruction of Rear Window reconstructs the entire building and courtyard, showing the events of the movie as they would have been seen in wide shot.
- If you want to ruin Hitchcock’s Rebecca for yourself, this sketch from British comedy duo Mitchell and Webb reimagines the film from the perspective of the first Mrs De Winter. It is absolutely spot-on.
- In this episode, Alicia mentions her talk with Kim Novak, Eva Marie Saint and Tippi Hedren for Schmoes Know. You can check out her encounter with Hitchcock’s icy blondes here.
- In 2014, our host Paul Anthony Nelson decided the Hi4H workload wasn’t nearly crippling enough, and undertook his own side project. From Pleasure To Plot was his year-long trek through Hitchcock’s career: 52 films in 52 weeks. If you’re wondering what Paul would have made of Hitchcock, you can go back to the blog and check out his individual entries and final summary.
Outro music: score from North By Northwest (1959), composed by Bernard Hermann, and the score from Psycho (1960), also composed by Bernard Hermann
The Alfred Hitchcock episode of Hell Is For Hyphenates, featuring special guests Alicia Malone and Terence Davies, can be heard by subscribing to our show on iTunes, listening in via Stitcher Smart Radio, or you can download it or stream it directly from our website here.