Hitchcock/Truffaut (2015)

*. There was a time when you could expect to find certain volumes on every cinephiles bookshelf. The time I’m talking about being back when people had bookshelves with books on them. Among these were David Thomson’s Biographical Dictionary of Film, William Goldman’s Adventures in the Screen Trade, Halliwell’s Film Guide, and the collection of interviews conducted by François Truffaut with Alfred Hitchcock in 1962 and first published in 1966 as Hitchcock/Truffaut. The silver cover with the orange-to-yellow lettering (this was for the updated edition done after Hitchcock’s death) was iconic in itself.
*. The interviews were refreshingly free of puffery and claptrap, instead focusing on a series of entertaining and informed discussions about the practical creative decisions Hitchcock had made. For students of film and aspiring filmmakers it became a sort of Bible, setting a standard for how we talk about movies.
*. That said, I’m not sure why you’d want to make a movie out of it. Nor am I sure that’s what director Kent Jones was aiming for here. Instead it’s more of a general appreciation of Hitchcock’s major work, using excerpts from the interviews to go with clips from the interviews (there were 27 hours of tape to draw from, so no end of material). Other filmmakers like Paul Schrader, Martin Scorsese, Peter Bogdanovich, David Fincher, Wes Anderson, Olivier Assayas, and Richard Linklater also appear as talking heads to give their thoughts.
*. None of which adds up to much. If you’ve read the book, or really any book on Hitchcock, I don’t see how you’d get much out of this. Frankly, there isn’t much more to say about Hitch than has already been said, and if you want close film analysis on a nearly frame-by-frame level you can find it online with more detailed and perceptive breakdowns. Hitchcock/Truffaut plays more like a slickly-produced tribute video, which is fine as far as it goes but that’s not very far. You’d learn more just from re-reading parts of the book, and if this movie is meant to be a substitute for that then I can’t recommend it.

19 thoughts on “Hitchcock/Truffaut (2015)

    1. Alex Good Post author

      I guess it’s mainly for a general audience. I don’t mean that to sound like a film snob, but there’s really nothing here that anyone who’s read the book or anything much about Hitchcock already would find interesting.

      Reply
  1. Melanie Novak

    I love Hitchcock films and reading about his life. But I never got around to watching this, and I think it’s because my instinct was that I wouldn’t get much out of it. Glad to hear I don’t need to add it to my list.

    Reply
    1. Alex Good

      This is fine as far as it goes, but I guess my main complaint is that it doesn’t add a lot. I was particularly disappointed in the fact that the directors interviewed didn’t have much insightful to day. But on its own it’s well produced and put forward.

      Reply
    1. Alex Good

      Pre-order are through the roof for that one! It’s probably the most eagerly anticipated release for 2022. Alas, the last I heard Dix was only going to be selling DVDs from the back of his Pontiac Aztec on market days in B-field. So it may be hard to score a copy right away.

      Reply

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