[Ads-l] Alfred Hitchcock Quotation

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Fri Sep 8 21:17:03 UTC 2017

A 2014 collection of writings and interviews by Hitchcock points to
(and reprints) a pertinent 1966 interview in a periodical called "Take

Hitchcock on Hitchcock, Volume 2: Selected Writings and Interviews
(2014) (Google Books Preview)

[Begin excerpt with interview citation]
Interview with Budge Crawley, Fletcher Markle, and Gerald Pratley

"Hitch: I Wish I Didn't Have to Shoot the Picture" was originally
published in Take One 1, no. 1 (September/October 1966): 14-17.
[End excerpt with interview citation]

[Begin excerpt]
In the film, you ask the audience to stay in one seat for two hours.
Therefore, you need a shape of the story that has a rising curve of
interest. You know, Bernard Shaw once tried to figure out how long an
act of a play would be based on the endurance of the human bladder.
And that is our fundamental problem when we devise a film. We do ask a
person to sit there for two hours and therefore the shape and
story—shape comes into it considerably because, as you get toward the
end when they, your audience, might begin to be—shall we
say—physically distracted, you must increase the interest on the
screen to take their minds off this kind of thing.
[End excerpt]


On Fri, Sep 8, 2017 at 4:26 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> Good work, Peter. Below is a pertinent citation in 1963 that was just
> located by researcher Donna Halper. Hitchcock refers to George Bernard
> Shaw, but he does not seem to be quoting him. He might be making a
> joke about the long length of the first act of an early play by Shaw.
> Date: November 22, 1963
> Newspaper: The Oregonian
> Newspaper Location: Portland, Oregon
> Article: Behind the Mike by Francis Murphy
> Quote Page 7, Column 1
> Database: GenealogyBank
> [Begin excerpt]
> Motion pictures are the only form of entertainment where the audience
> is forced to sit quietly for two or three hours without interruption,
> Hitchcock continued. In theatrical terms, television is superior in
> this regard to motion pictures. The hour-long show is broken into
> three acts because of the commercials.
> "Wasn't it George Bernard Shaw who tried that noble experiment in one
> of his early plays? He tried to discover how long the first act could
> run, based upon the endurance of the human bladder. I wish I could
> recall his conclusions."
> [End excerpt]
> Garson
> On Thu, Sep 7, 2017 at 8:03 PM, Peter Reitan <pjreitan at hotmail.com> wrote:
>> "Focus on Hitchcock," by Albert J. LaValley apparently includes a version of the quote.
>> https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/001011761
>> It is available for purchase on alibris.com for as low as $1.00.
>> ________________________________
>> From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Shapiro, Fred <fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU>
>> Sent: Thursday, September 7, 2017 4:43:36 PM
>> Subject: Alfred Hitchcock Quotation
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       "Shapiro, Fred" <fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU>
>> Subject:      Alfred Hitchcock Quotation
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> Alfred Hitchcock is credited with the quotation "The length of a film shoul=
>> d be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder."  Can anyone p=
>> oint me to any pre-1980 evidence of Hitchcock, or anyone else, uttering or =
>> writing this?
>> Fred Shapiro
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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