[PW] ? Alfred Hitchcock Quotation (Quotation Query #782)

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com
Fri Sep 8 14:16:36 PDT 2017

A 2014 collection of writings and interviews by Hitchcock points to
(and reprints) a pertinent 1966 interview in a periodical called "Take

Hitchcock on Hitchcock, Volume 2: Selected Writings and Interviews
(2014) (Google Books Preview)

[Begin excerpt with interview citation]
Interview with Budge Crawley, Fletcher Markle, and Gerald Pratley

"Hitch: I Wish I Didn't Have to Shoot the Picture" was originally
published in Take One 1, no. 1 (September/October 1966): 14-17.
[End excerpt with interview citation]

[Begin excerpt]
In the film, you ask the audience to stay in one seat for two hours.
Therefore, you need a shape of the story that has a rising curve of
interest. You know, Bernard Shaw once tried to figure out how long an
act of a play would be based on the endurance of the human bladder.
And that is our fundamental problem when we devise a film. We do ask a
person to sit there for two hours and therefore the shape and
story—shape comes into it considerably because, as you get toward the
end when they, your audience, might begin to be—shall we
say—physically distracted, you must increase the interest on the
screen to take their minds off this kind of thing.
[End excerpt]


On Fri, Sep 8, 2017 at 4:33 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> Great work, Barb and Donna. Below is some text from the 1963 citation
> identified by Donna. Hitchcock refers to George Bernard Shaw, but he
> does not seem to be quoting him. He might be making a joke about the
> long length of the first act of an early play by Shaw.
> Date: November 22, 1963
> Newspaper: The Oregonian
> Newspaper Location: Portland, Oregon
> Article: Behind the Mike by Francis Murphy
> Quote Page 7, Column 1
> Database: GenealogyBank
> [Begin excerpt]
> Motion pictures are the only form of entertainment where the audience
> is forced to sit quietly for two or three hours without interruption,
> Hitchcock continued. In theatrical terms, television is superior in
> this regard to motion pictures. The hour-long show is broken into
> three acts because of the commercials.
> "Wasn't it George Bernard Shaw who tried that noble experiment in one
> of his early plays? He tried to discover how long the first act could
> run, based upon the endurance of the human bladder. I wish I could
> recall his conclusions."
> [End excerpt]
> Garson
> On Fri, Sep 8, 2017 at 12:21 AM, Donna Halper <dlh at donnahalper.com> wrote:
>> On 9/7/2017 11:36 PM, Barbara Schmidt wrote:
>>> I did a Google Advanced Books search for the phrase "human bladder" plus
>>> the word "endurance" published between 1950-1980.  There are a couple of
>>> hits which indicate Hitchcock was quoting Bernard Shaw.  These are in
>>> snippet views only.  The one from TAKE ONE: THE CANADIAN FILM MAGAZINE,
>>> Vol. 1 (1967) appears to be an interview.
>> Fred, and Barb:  I find Hitchcock quoting George Bernard Shaw, and saying
>> Shaw was indeed the source of the "endurance of the human bladder" quip,
>> back in 1963.  I can send the column along, but it's from "Behind the Mike,"
>> by Francis Murphy, Portland Oregonian 22 November 1963, on the
>> Newsbank/Genealogybank database.
>> _______________________________________________
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