If Hitchcock Tweeted

Opening Scene from Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Alfred Hitchcock Presents

Welcome to Amazing Words Wednesday, the day we enter the labyrinth of language and see what we can find.

One of my most popular Wednesday features seems to be the If ___ Tweeted, in which I gather the best quotes of 140 characters or less from some important individual (like Winston Churchill, Mark Twain, or Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes) and share them here. Today’s inspiration came from a recent post from Jess Witkins, who wrote about the brilliance of Alfred Hitchcock.

In addition to being a brilliant filmmaker, he also said some interesting stuff. So here’s what Hitchcock would have tweeted if only he’d had a Twitter account.

1. What is drama but life with the dull bits cut out.

2. There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.

3. The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder.

Hitchcock Quote on bathroom wall
This should be in every theater bathroom! Pic credit: Flickr, Erik bij de Vaate (http://www.flickr.com/photos/mediadeo/)

4. I never said all actors are cattle; what I said was all actors should be treated like cattle.

5. The only way to get rid of my fears is to make films about them.

6. If it’s a good movie, the sound could go off and the audience would still have a perfectly clear idea of what was going on.

7. Television has brought back murder into the home–where it belongs.

8. Always make the audience suffer as much as possible.

9. Self-plagiarism is style.

10. The more successful the villain, the more successful the picture.

11. In films murders are always very clean. I show how difficult it is and what a messy thing it is to kill a man.

Fake Tweet Image from Hitchcock
12. To make a great film you need three things – the script, the script, and the script.

13. There is nothing to winning, really. That is, if you happen to be blessed with a keen eye, an agile mind, and no scruples whatsoever.

14. The paperback is very interesting, but I find it will never replace a hardcover book–it makes a very poor doorstop.

15. Puns are the highest form of literature.

Are you an Alfred Hitchcock fan? What’s your favorite quote from the above? Got any others to share?

Sources: BrainyQuote; IMDB; The Christian Science Monitor; AMC Blog; Interview with Dick Cavett; Examiner.com

37 thoughts on “If Hitchcock Tweeted

  1. Nice post Julie! Hitch was an intense man so these quotes don’t surprise me. It was his wife, Alma, who helped with the script very often. She was an amazing editor and at one point in their lives she was HIS boss!

    Thanks for the ping back!

    1. Hey, Jess! I came across this quote while researching. It’s from Hitchcock’s acceptance speech for the American Film Institute Lifetime Achievement Award: “I beg permission to mention by name only four people who have given me the most affection, appreciation, and encouragement, and constant collaboration. The first of the four is a film editor, the second is a scriptwriter, the third is the mother of my daughter Pat, and the fourth is as fine a cook as ever performed miracles in a domestic kitchen. And their names are Alma Reville.” Too long for a tweet, but just marvelous! I wish we talked about her more.

  2. Great post, Julie.

    Of all the quotes, number thirteen was my giggle-when-I-read-it favorite. The only thing I’d add would be “creative sneakiness” That takes the sting out of the “no scruples” bit.

    1. Interestingly enough, he had a lot of fears himself. One quote I found (that I couldn’t verify, so it’s not here) was that he was scared of eggs because he thought the yolks were creepy.

      Scary genius indeed!

      1. Dagnabbit, Julie! You had to do it. You had to tell me you saw that photo on an actual bathroom wall.

        The stager for our home-for-sale won’t let me do it now. But, when I have my own Mini Winnie traveling writing cave….

        1. I didn’t SEE the photo, just found it online. But it’s a real place. Wherever it is, I want to go there. (Although it looks like a men’s bathroom, so maybe not.)

  3. You know I just love these posts and HItchcock is a favorite of mine. With my sense of the macabre of course this one is my favorite quote: “Television has brought back murder into the home–where it belongs.” Yeah – I’m weird but I’m good with that. 😉

    1. He did a great job bringing murder into the home with his Alfred Hitchcock Presents series. I’ve seen a few of those episodes, and they are all good and creepy. You know what I mean, Rhonda! 🙂

  4. “Television has brought back murder into the home–where it belongs.” Love that! That one’s my favorite.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    1. For some reason, that particular quote made me think of a greeting card I got once that said: “Do you know what it means if a man is in your bad gasping for breath and calling your name?” Then the inside reads: “It means you didn’t hold the pillow down long enough.”

      Go ahead and roll your eyes, Patricia! Thanks for the comment. 🙂

  5. Excellent list, Julie. I love Hitchcock movies. 4 and 8 are great, but 13 takes the biscuit. The guy had such a brilliant dry wit. Who else would star in their own film as the bumbling buffoon with a double bass, pushing past the leading man. What confidence!


    1. You know, the cattle quote is in different forms here and there online because apparently Hitchcock kept getting asked about that statement in interviews. He had this standard response. It seems some actors disliked working with him, while others adored him. I could see that.

      Thanks, Nigel! YOU take the biscuit. (I love British phrases.)

  6. Great list! My favorites are 2, 3,and 10. #’s 2 and 3 are so true when writing suspense and # 10 made me laugh.

    32 and

    1. I thought 2 (“There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.”) was utterly brilliant as well. As a storyteller, it’s important to play with that tension.

      Hitchcock’s example is known as the “bomb theory”: If you show a scene in which a bomb explodes under a table at which two people are dining, the audience is surprised. BUT take that same couple, show your audience the bomb ahead of time, and then show the couple engaged in meaningless conversation and the ticking happening and who-knows-when-it’s-going-off, etc., and you have suspense. Lovely, huh?

  7. I loved Hitchcock’s sense of humor better than his movies (although Birds was great). Not that he wasn’t a great film-maker, but I’m not into have the you-know-what scared out of me. 🙂

  8. Loved this, Julie. ” Self-plagiarism is style.” How interesting, when poor Jonathan Lehrer recently got lambasted for plagiarizing himself. How times change!

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