Wednesday, September 7, 2016


The legendary interviews of Alfred Hitchcock by Francois Truffaut, the French New Wave auteur who idolized him, took place in Hollywood over the course of a week in 1962. Their talks, with assistance by translator Helen Scott, were recorded and in 1966 a book, referred to by Truffaut as "the Hitchbook," was published. To everlasting acclaim. Revised and updated by Truffaut not very long after Hitchcock's death and only a year before his own end, Hitchcock/Truffaut stands as the definitive tome on Hitchcock and one of the all-time great books on film. And it is the inspiration for Kent Jones' 2015 documentary.

My copy of "the Hitchbook," with post-it notes

Though the interviews weren't filmed, they were recorded and photographed, and Jones includes sections of the audio and photos throughout his documentary. Most fascinating, though, is to watch scenes from Hitchcock's films (and clips from all of his great films are shown) that vividly illustrate his own words on his artistic process.  The observations of filmmakers like Martin Scorsese, Wes Anderson, David Fincher, Paul Schrader and others are also illuminating and provide insight into the powerful and long-lasting impact Hitchcock has had on filmmaking.

A must-have companion piece to the book, Hitchcock/Truffaut is currently available on HBO Now, HBO Go, via "On Demand" through September 10, and on DVD and Blu-ray.