erik lundegaard

Wednesday March 10, 2021

Hitch

“In the last years, his drinking had increased while his ability to handle it had shrunk. He already had had a pacemaker for quite a while. I could tell that last time, he was in and out—not quite with me as he always had been: his mind and attention seemed to drift. Both his most loyal assistants, Peggy Robertson and Suzanne Gautier, had left, unable to handle his mood swings and depression. He told me he didn't know why they'd left him. [His wife] Alma's continued incapacitation only made things worse. After we had been talking for a while, Hitch noticed the stains on his jacket and knew I had seen them; this seemed to bring him back again and he began trying to rub off the stains, which didn't totally disappear. He seemed humiliated to have been seen this way and soon excused himself to use the bathroom. After nearly half an hour, I told his new secretary what had happened and she took it as normal. He did that often, she said, and went and knocked on the bathroom door. Hitch called out that he was fine. She left. He called out my name. I called back. He said he was sorry, he couldn't talk anymore; could I ask his chauffeur to come help him. I said I would and thanked him and said I hoped he felt better. He thanked me and asked again for the chauffeur. I said goodbye. He called goodbye. I got the chauffeur, who went in to help. Less than four months later, while I was shooting a scene in New York's Plaza Hotel lobby—a location I chose because of Hitch's use of it in North by Northwest—the assistant director told me that Hitchcock had died ...

”The quality I remember most about Hitch was a sense of his loneliness, his isolation. Since he never saw his films with audiences, I asked him once if he didn't miss hearing them scream. 'No,' he said, 'I can hear them when I'm making the picture.'"

-- Peter Bogdanovich in “Who the Devil Made It: Conversations with Legendary Film Directors.” 

Posted at 05:46 PM on Wednesday March 10, 2021 in category Hitchcock  
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