Bringing Hitchcock/Truffaut to the Screen: An Interview with Kent Jones

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 12-1-2015


The Alfred Hitchcock–François Truffaut interview in the summer of 1962—actually a six-day series of conversations between the two directors, filled with mutual interrogation, self-scrutiny, and self-disclosure on both sides—is legendary, and, as it turns out, it’s going to take repeated efforts and various media to adequately and accurately “print the legend.” It took five years for Truffaut to shape the transcription of their always interesting and substantive but meandering discussion into what he called the “Hitchbook,” supplemented by carefully chosen illustrations from the films. These are photographs of what the people were talking about (to adapt a famous phrase of Hitchcock’s), and insistent reminders of what is at the core of the “pure cinema” that was their ongoing subject: images that both stand alone and link with other images. Published in French in 1966 and then in English in 1967 (followed by revised and expanded French and English editions in 1983 and 1984, respectively), Truffaut’s Hitchcock was not only an interview but also an intervention, and had exactly the effects he envisioned: it became the document of record for Hitchcock’s ideas on film and approaches to filmmaking; it became the driving force behind the transition in his reputation from being appreciated as a skilled entertainer working in a popular medium to being respected as a serious artist working in a major art form; and it became an inspirational text for ongoing generations of filmmakers, offering much practical advice as well as confirma


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