Reminiscences of Teresa Wright
New York, June 1959
On Alfred Hitchcock
With someone like Hitchcock,
his main emphasis is on the story itself. He's a great story-teller, and
he makes you aware of the story and of the plot, and you become interested
in it with him. If I want to think of one quality that I think about with
Hitch, it's that
he is the most musical director I know. Sound plays a great part in all
his pictures. Sound plays a great part in the build-up of suspense -- the
click of a door, the sound of footsteps, the cup going on the tray, the
way the match hits the folder at the right moment. Each thing is used.
He uses sound for effect more than anybody else I know of. As I say, I
remember in "Shadow of a
Doubt," which is still my favorite picture of all that I've ever
done, I went in and sat down and listened to Hitch
tell me the story. He not only told me the story of "Shadow
of a Doubt," he told me the movie of it. He gave me a visual picture
of it ahead of time, and I must say the finished picture that I saw was
not much different from what I'd heard. I think he has the most visual
and sound concept of what he wants of anyone I've ever worked with.
Q: Offhand, that doesn't sound like the fullest use of his actors.
Well, it's interesting -- I suppose in a way it's not. It's not as
personal a thing. And yet, I don't know why, Hitch
seems to "handle" women -- you know, a women's director -- but
whatever it is, it's because I think he has a certain concept about women.
He was one of the first directors, creative people that I can think of,
who had the concept of the "sexy lady." Up to that time, you
either were a lady or you were sexy, glamorous, whatever -- and the two
never met. Hitch
had this thing, he loved the contrast, the surprise element. Therefore
he was much more effective in telling the story, from a woman's point of
view, than any other director I can think of. He loved the thing of having
this lovely, soft-spoken, elegant lady suddenly seem to show (or show)
some great passion, or have her life somehow endangered by this passion
under this apparently icy exterior.
He also likes to have the ideal of the sweet, good exterior holding
something evil inside. Surprise again. That's what he is -- suspense -- and
he uses suspense in romance as well as in story-telling.
© 1959 Columbia University and the Oral History Research Office