Hitchcock/Truffaut: The Movie based on the book based on the chats

We caught the documentary Hitchcock/Truffaut. It adapted director Francois Truffaut’s book Hitchcock/Truffaut, which transcribed a series of chats between the veteran director and the young director, plus also stills of Hitchcock movies. Truffaut was an unrepentant Hitchcock fanboy, and gradually got Hitch to open up about his creative process.

The documentary is an interesting adaptation of a book about movies. Partially it’s about the book, describing how Truffaut buttered up the big guy into approving his request to geek out at him. There are photo stills of their conversations as well as audio. A matronly translator is often heard translating French into English and vice versa. It’s also a regular documentary about how cool Hitchcock was, particularly his Vertigo and Psycho, with plenty of talking heads describing his coolness that also represent an old school and a new school. For instance, the post-studio-collapse “new Hollywood wave” is represented by luminaries like Martin Scorsese, Paul Schrader and Peter Bogdanovich, and there are younger guys like Wes Anderson, David Fincher and Richard Linklater (who are not exactly younger guys anymore).

I was interested in what was in the book that was skipped in the movie. Hitchcock’s personal favorite of his movies? Lifeboat, which wasn’t featured at all. The difference between French girls and English girls? NSFW, and not present in this movie. I don’t think it even mentioned that Hitchcock made a few movies in Weimar Germany before heading back to England and thence to Hollywood. What it lacks in depth it makes up in motion. As Hitch or Truffaut posit various arguments about cinematic styles or tricks (a fake bigger prop gun to force perspective, Ingrid Bergman going in for the long smooch in Notorious, a face dissolving into another face), it was nice seeing the film stills in the book, but it’s better to see the actual film clips in motion. I think of this documentary as an expanded CD-ROM of the book.

Now it’s Cameron Crowe’s turn to adapt Conversations with Wilder into a movie, though if Crowe will really follow Truffaut’s example he’ll have to die at an early age.

Never heard of this, but now I’m going to have to get the book!

I found a link to the original interview, on the radio in France (English translator for Hitchcock, natch). You can download the entire series of interviews in a zip file via this page:

Great find, thanks!