In Part Two of The Hitchcock/Truffaut Tapes, Alfred Hitchcock speaks of creative depredations wrought by the so-called Star System upon both his 1927 film The Lodger as well as 1941's Suspicion. He scrupulously avoids implicating Cary Grant in the latter film's distortion . . . keep in mind that, at the time of this interview, Grant was still a major presence at the box-office . . . and then details his original ending, which is so poorly conceived as to make the dénouement imposed by RKO sound like a masterstroke of cinematic storytelling. François Truffaut goes way way out on a limb by declaring Suspicion a finer work than the largely unread novel from which it was adapted, and then praises it in terms normally reserved for something hanging in the Louvre.
Hitchcock, who no doubt thought he'd heard it all by then, immediately shifts gears for an extended discussion of The Lodger, pausing only to ask Truffaut for his insight into the role hand-cuffs sometimes play in aberrant sexual fetishism (Truffaut admits that, alas, his is not an analytical mindset . . . and, to the best of our knowledge, no newspaper on earth altered their front page that day to accomodate this revelation), then closes on a note of lavish cynicism with the old one about Silent film being a richer, more purely cinematic form.
10 Rillington Place
(Richard Fleischer; 1970)
Richard Fleischer passed away today. He was 89. The cause of death was not revealed in press accounts, and I could, if I wanted to, advance a very credible theory as to what may have helped usher him into the beyond. But I think it's best that we simply remember what once was: an extraordinary, under-explored legacy that will hopefully one day get the attention it deserves.
(from The New Movie Album: An Autographed Who's Who of the Screen, 1931)
"Born in San Antonio, Texas, and educated in a finishing school in Kansas City, I embarked upon my career in 1924, obtaining a start as a dancer in a musical show. From there I went to New York to dance at the Winter Garden. There I was discovered by Harry Rapf. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer producer, who offered me an opportunity to try my luck in pictures. I was known on the stage as Lucile Le Sueur, and I was christened Joan Crawford in a motion picture magazine name contest. My first picture was Pretty Ladies in which I played an extra part. I was given a role in Old Clothes, a Jackie Coogan film, and as a result of that cast in a leading part in Our Dancing Daughters. This later was followed by Our Modern Maidens, in which I won stardom. The talkie companion to these two earlier films, Our Blushing Brides, established even great box-office results and critical praise. My first two talking pictures were Untamed and Montana Moon, and my latest is Paid, in which I play my first straight dramatic role. I am five feet, four inches tall, weight 120 pounds and have dark hair and blue-brown eyes. I was born in 1908 and am married to Douglas Fairbanks Jr."
No one can say it wasn't a good ride (both for him and for us), but we here at If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger . . . feel that the passing of Buck Owens, the Telecaster brandishing madman who was also one of the seminal voices in Country, is still sufficient cause for regret. Those among you (and I'm certain there are still a few) who only know of him as the co-host of a deranged Country music minstrel show called Hee-Haw have a lot of homework to do.
In the meantime, here is the account of his life and work rendered by the Associated Press.
From now until I run out, If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger . . . will be bringing our visitors the interview recordings that made up the bulk of a coffee-table book beloved by millions, Hitchcock/Truffaut. The voices you will hear are those of Alfred Hitchcock, the director of Waltzes in Vienna, Easy Virtue and Juno and the Paycock; François Truffaut, ex-film critic, pioneering cinephile hustler and co-director of Tire-au-flanc 62 and Une histoire d'eau; and Helen Scott, interpreter and Truffaut groupie extraordinaire.
In Part One of The Hitchcock/Truffaut Tapes, Hitchcock speaks with palpable fatigue about his childhood, his early interest in theater, his work as a commercial artist and his gradual involvement in the medium upon which he would soon make an everlasting impact. Truffaut valiantly attempts to understand his answers (even in translation), while he and Helen Scott laugh way too hard at Hitchcock's half-hearted jokes.
While the general atmosphere is never what anyone with a pulse would call electric, these recordings are nonetheless engrossing, and indispensible for anyone who places great value in interviews with movie directors.
We hope you enjoy them.
With the passing a day or two ago of former British Secretary of State for War John Profumo at 91, this is an admitted no-brainer.
For those who can't imagine why Profumo would slip around on Valerie Hobson, I'd say this photo sums it up nicely.