[PW] Request information about Hitchcock / Truffaut quotation via HathiTrust or hardcopy

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com
Thu Mar 4 06:58:42 PST 2021

Warning: This message is about a quotation that refers to sex and violence.

I received a request to explore a quotation about Alfred Hitchcock's
directorial techniques. The quotation has been attributed to Grace
Kelly, Alfred Hitchcock, and François Truffaut. I think it was
originally crafted by Truffaut.

This is a long message. The highest priority request is "Take One" in
May 1976. The second highest priority is "Hitchcock / Truffaut" 1983
revised French edition.

The earliest published evidence I've identified points to the film
journals "Take One" and "American Film". A full view of the citations
below apparently is accessible via HathiTrust for individuals at
research universities such as University of Florida, Gainesville. You
might have access, and I am asking for your help to verify the
citations and determine the full context.

Date: May 1976
Periodical: Take One
Volume 5, Number 2
Article: Alfred Hitchcock: A Friendly Salute
Article Subsection Author: François Truffaut
Start Page: Unknown
Quote Page 44
Publisher: Unicorn Publishing, Montreal, Canada

This data is conjectural. It has been extracted from Google Books,
HathiTrust, moviemags.com, and WorldCat; this data may be inaccurate,
and it must be verified via hardcopy or scans.


[Begin excerpt]
What struck me that evening while reseeing all of these little bits of
films I know by heart (isolated from their context and put together
for a single evening) was the simultaneous sincerity and savagery of
the Hitchcockian oeuvre. I realized that all the love scenes had been
shot like murder scenes, and all the murder scenes like love scenes.
[End excerpt]

The goal is to construct a complete and accurate citation listing:
Journal title, Volume number, Issue number, Article title, Article
author, Start page number of article, Quotation page number, Publisher
name, Publisher location.

Also, it would be helpful to see the text around the quotation. I
think François Truffaut made the remark during a gala honoring
Hitchcock held on April 29, 1974 at the Lincoln Center in New York.
The "Take One" article might say this.

You may not be able to access a PDF. If you could take some screen
shots showing the metadata, the quotation, and crucial context that
would be great.

The quotation is not in the 1966 French edition of "Le Cinema Selon
Hitchcock" by François Truffaut. I have accessed this. The quotation
is not in the 1967 English edition of "Hitchcock" by François
Truffaut. I have accessed this.

The quotation does appear in the 1984 revised English edition
"Hitchcock / Truffaut". I have accessed this.

The quotation probably does appear in the 1983 revised French edition
of "Hitchcock / Truffaut" from Ramsay. If you can access this book
that would be very helpful. I would like to know what the quotation
looks like in French. Let me know if you can access this book, and I
will tell you what section to search to locate the French quotation.'

I also found a match in "American Film". This item is in the
HathiTrust database, but I do not know if the full version is
accessible to anyone. If you can access this citation it would be

Date: March 1979
Journal: American Film
Volume 4, Issue 5
Article: My Friend Hitchcock
Article author: François Truffaut
Article translator: Annette Insdorf
Quote Page 23 or 25
Publisher: American Film Institute, Washington D.C.

The above data is conjectural. It has been scavenged from various
locations, and it must be verified via hardcopy or scans.


The following link goes to a copy of the "American Film" article of
unknown provenance and unknown accuracy.

[Begin excerpt]
What struck me most that evening in reseeing all these bits of films,
known by heart but for one evening isolated from their context, was
the simultaneous sincerity and violence of the Hitchcock oeuvre. I
realized that all the love scenes were filmed like murder scenes and
all the murder scenes like love scenes.
[End excerpt]

In March 1979 Truffaut delivered a version of the quotation in English
during a ceremony honoring Hitchcock as reported in "The Washington
Post". I have accessed this citation.

[ref] 1979 March 9, The Washington Post, Testimonial With a 'Hitch':
AFI's Life Achievement Award Goes to the Master of Surprise
(Continuation title: Honoring Hollywood's Master of Surprise) by
Kenneth Turan, Start Page D1, Quote Page D4, Column 3, Washington D.C.
(Newspapers_com) [/ref]

[Begin  excerpt]
The other surprise was a rare English-language speech by fellow
director Francois Truffaut, a fervent Hitchcock admirer. Looking tres
francais with a long white silk scarf knocked over his tuxedo,
Truffaut said, “In America you respect him for shooting scenes of love
like scenes of  murder, while in France we respect him for shooting
scenes of murder like love.”
[End excerpt]

Garson O'Toole

More information about the Project-Wombat-Open mailing list