[38] Suspense - Matt Lemon Photography. All Rights Reserved.

Artwork 2 | 성공 2 by CI Kim 씨킴, Korean artist, art collector and founder of the Arario Gallery. Cheonan, South Chungcheong Province. South Korea. © Matt Lemon Photography. All Rights Reserved.

Alfred Hitchcock on suspense

Tippi Hedren in The Harrad Experiment (1973) Photo by Cinerama Releasing Corporation“There is a distinct difference between suspense and surprise, and yet many pictures continually confuse the two. I’ll explain what I mean. We are now having a very innocent little chat. Let’s suppose that there is a bomb underneath this table between us. Nothing happens, and then all of a sudden, ‘Boom!’ There is an explosion. The public is surprised, but prior to this surprise, it has seen an absolutely ordinary scene, of no special consequence. Now, let us take a suspense situation. The bomb is underneath the table and the public knows it, probably because they have seen the anarchist place it there. The public is aware the bomb is going to explode at one o’clock and there is a clock in the decor. The public can see that it is a quarter to one. In these conditions, the same innocuous conversation becomes fascinating because the public is participating in the scene. The audience is longing to warn the characters on the screen: ‘You shouldn’t be talking about such trivial matters. There is a bomb beneath you and it is about to explode!’ In the first case, we have given the public fifteen seconds of surprise at the moment of the explosion. In the second, we have provided them with fifteen minutes of suspense. The conclusion is that whenever possible the public must be informed. Except when the surprise is a twist, that is, when the unexpected ending is, in itself, the highlight of the story.” [Source: The Alfred Hitchcock and François Truffaut Interviews]

Tippi Hedren on Alfred Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock is right: the public must be informed, which is what Tippi Hedren did when she published her autobiography, Tippi: A Memoirrevealing how Hitchcock sexually assaulted her while they were working on the films The Birds and Marnie in the mid-1960s.

“He would find some way to express his obsession with me, which he never referred to as an obsession, as if I owed it to him to reciprocate somehow. I would find some way to make it clear that his obsession wasn’t reciprocated and never would be. He’d become cruel and petulant and then, within a few hours or a few days, start all over again.”

Asked by Variety’s Brent Lang why she decided to go public with her claims, Hedren replied,

“I did it because this is legion all over the world. There’s nothing unique about it. Women complain all the time about somebody trying to make a pass at them or have a relationship in which they are not interested. I don’t put up with that kind of thing. I wanted to let women, especially young women, know never to allow that kind of approach and to be forceful in telling people you’re not interested in having that kind of a relationship. It’s not a bad thing to say no.”

When I posted this photo I was about to leave South Korea and had yet to find out where my next destination would be. Hence, suspense.


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