The Hitchcock and Truffaut Tapes

In 1962 François Truffaut carried out a series of extensive interviews with Alfred Hitchcock at his offices in Universal Studios.

Recorded to audio tape, the content was eventually edited down into Truffaut’s famous book Hitchcock.

A landmark meeting of two great directors, the conversations cover Hitchcock’s life and career in great detail as they discuss films such as Blackmail (1929), The 39 Steps (1935), Sabotage (1939), Rebecca (1940), Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Lifeboat (1944), Spellbound (1945), Notorious (1946), Rope (1948), Strangers on a Train (1951), The Birds (1963), Rear Window (1954), Vertigo (1958), North By Northwest (1959) and Psycho (1960).

Truffaut did not speak much English, so he hired Helen Scott of the French Film Office in New York to act as the translator for the sessions.

The half hour sessions were subsequently broadcast on French radio and in 2006 Tom Sutpen started posting audio files on his blog ‘If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger, There’d Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats‘.

HIGHLIGHTS

FULL LENGTH AUDIO

You can listen to the 25 parts individually below (just click on the relevant links to download as single tracks):

PART 1: Childhood through to his early years in the film industry (26 mins) [MP3]

PART 2: Mountain Eagle through to the end of the silent era (27 mins) [MP3]

PART 3: Blackmail through to a discussion about American audiences (26 mins) [MP3]

PART 4: Rich and Strange through to realism in films (27 mins) [MP3]

PART 5: The 39 Steps through to plausibility in film and film critics (28 mins) [MP3]

PART 6: Secret Agent and Sabotage (27 mins) [MP3]

PART 7: Young and Innocent and The Lady Vanishes (27 mins) [MP3]

PART 8: Final years in Britain through to his move to America (28 mins) [MP3]

PART 9: Rebecca (27 mins) [MP3]

PART 10: Discussion about Hollywood through to Notorious (27 mins) [MP3]

PART 11: Mr and Mrs Smith through to Suspicion (26 mins) [MP3]

PART 12: Saboteur through to Shadow of a Doubt (26 mins) [MP3]

PART 13: Lifeboat through to Spellbound (27 mins) [MP3]

PART 14: Notorious through to The Paradine Case (27 mins) [MP3]

PART 15: Rope (27 mins) [MP3]

PART 16: Rope and Under Capricorn (26 mins) [MP3]

PART 17: Stage Fright through to Strangers on a Train (27 mins) [MP3]

PART 18: Strangers on a Train through to I Confess (28 mins) [MP3]

PART 19: Notorious through to a discussion about suspense (27 mins) [Mp3]

PART 20: Initial discussion about the The Birds through to Rear Window (27 mins) [Mp3]

PART 21: The Wrong Man through to Vertigo (27 mins) [MP3]

PART 22: North by Northwest through to Psycho (26 mins) [MP3]

PART 23: Psycho (27 mins) [MP3]

PART 24: The Birds (27 mins) [MP3]

PART 25: Psycho through to characterisation in films (27 mins) [Mp3]

> Find out more about Alfred Hitchcock and Francois Truffaut at Wikipedia
> Buy Hitchcock by Francois Truffaut from Amazon UK

UK DVD & Blu-ray Releases: Monday 2nd November 2009

UK DVD Releases 02-11-09

DVD & BLU-RAY PICKS

Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection (2 Entertain): The most famous characters produced by Aardman Animations get the DVD & Blu-ray treatment with a box set release of A Grand Day Out (1989) which saw Wallace and Gromit fly to the moon in search of cheese; The Wrong Trousers (1993), the Oscar winning short which featured a sinister penguin lodger; and A Close Shave (1995) which involved a sheep rustling scheme.

It should be noted that the 2005 feature The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit is not on this set (presumably for rights reasons as it was co-produced with DreamWorks) but it does feature a decent selection of extras and the brand-new short A Matter Of Loaf And Death, in which the pair run a bakery but come across a mysterious plot when all the bakers in the town go missing.

For those unfamiliar with the famous characters, Gromit is the faithful canine companion of the cheese-obsessed inventor Wallace (voiced by Peter Sallis) and they are the brainchild of Nick Park, who won Oscars for the first three films. All the characters were made from moulded plasticine modelling clay on metal armatures, and filmed with stop motion clay animation.

Information about extras is a bit thin on the ground but apparently it includes:

  • Audio commentaries
  • Behind the scenes featurette
  • Various shorts with Wallace and Gromit that were created for the internet
  • A spin-off episode of Shaun the Sheep
  • A scrapbook with blueprints and a photo gallery of some of the inventions

This isn’t the first time the first three shorts have been released on DVD but the big deal here is that it’s their debut on Blu-ray. [Buy it from Amazon on DVD or Blu-ray]

It’s A Wonderful Life (Universal): The perennial Christmas favourite directed by Frank Capra and starring James Stewart comes to Blu-ray and is worth getting if you don’t already own it.

The following specs for the Blu-ray are:

  • Black & White Original and Colour versions
  • 1080P 1.33:1 Full Screen
  • English DD2.0 Mono
  • English SDH subtitles
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Trivia Tracker
  • Picture Comparison

There will also be a new DVD release that also includes both the original and colour versions of the film, although why anyone would want to colourise a film like this is beyond me. There are reportedly no extras on the DVD, which frankly is a bit poor. [Buy it on DVD or Blu-ray]

The Proposition (Palisades Tartan): This 2005 Australian western directed by John Hillcoat and written by Nick Cave (yes, the musician) stars Guy Pearce, Ray Winstone, Emily Watson, John Hurt and Danny Huston.

Set in the Australian outback in the 1880s, the story follows the series of events following the horrific rape and murder of the Hopkins family, allegedly committed by the infamous Burns brothers gang.

Grimy but compelling, this is a timely release on Blu-ray as Hillcoat’s adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road will soon be seen in UK cinemas.

The Blu-ray Disc features the following extras:

  • Making Of
  • Trailer
  • Dolby TrueHD 5.1
  • DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

The Wizard of Oz 70th Anniversary Edition (Warner): The classic musical fantasy gets the full re-release treatment on DVD and Blu-ray from Warner Bros in its 70th anniversary year.

Directed by Victor Fleming, it was based on the 1900 children’s novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum and starred Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Bert Lahr and Frank Morgan, with Billie Burke, Margaret Hamilton, Charles Grapewin, Clara Blandick and the Singer Midgets as the Munchkins.

Originally released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, it follows the story of a Kansas farmgirl Dorothy (Garland) who gets transported to the magical land of Oz where she encounters all manner of characters including the Good Witch of the North (Billie Burke), Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), Tin Man (Jack Haley) and a Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr) and the Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton).

Although successful when it was originally released the songs from the film became huge, with “Over the Rainbow” nabbing the Oscar for Best Original Song and the film itself garnering several nominations, including Best Picture.

However, the film became permanently embedded in popular culture when it was screened every year on US television from 1959 to 1991, becoming one of the most watched films of all time.

The UK DVD and Blu-ray Disc release is a newly remastered version with a raft of new extrasand a sing-along feature.

* For a great rundown of the picture quality and technical details of this Blu-ray transfer check out the review of the US disc on DVD Beaver *

It is available on 1-Disc DVD (£12.99 RRP), 4-Disc DVD (£19.99 RRP, HMV Exclusive) and 3-Disc Blu-ray (£22.99 RRP).

The extras on the different versions are outlined below:

Collector’s Edition Sing-Along Version – 3 Discs BLU-RAY Release (2 BDs, 1 DVD Sing-Along)

  • Blu-ray Disc 1: Main Feature
  • Remastered feature with 5.1 Audio
  • 1080P 1.33:1
  • English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD
  • English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese DD1.0 Mono
  • English HOH, French, German HOH, Italian, Italian HOH, Spanish, Dutch, Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish subtitles (Film & Extras except commentary)
  • Commentary by Historian John Fricke including archival interviews of the film’s cast and crew
  • Music and Effects Track
  • Original mono Track
  • Sing-Along Audio Feature
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: The Making of a Movie Classic [1990 TV special]
  • Because of the Wonderful Things it Does: The Legacy of Oz
  • Memories of Oz [2001 TCM documentary]
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Storybook
  • Prettier than ever: The Restoration of Oz
  • We Haven’t Really Met Properly”” Supporting Cast Profiles
  • Audio Jukebox Selection
  • Leo Is on the Air Radio Promo
  • Good News of 1939 Radio Show
  • 12/25/1950 Lux Radio Theater Broadcast
  • Another Romance of Celluloid: Electrical Power
  • Calvacade of the Academy Awards Excerpt
  • Texas Contest Winners
  • Off to See the Wizard Excerpts
  • Stills Galleries
  • 6 Trailers
  • Harold Arlen’s Home Movies
  • Outtakes and Deleted Scenes
  • It’s a Twister! It’s a Twister! The Tornado Tests

Blu-ray Disc 2: Extra Features

  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Italian, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, Russian (+ 3 others my player reports as numbers)
  • Victor Fleming: Master Craftsman (NEW)
  • L. Frank Baum: The Man Behind the Curtain
  • Celebrating Hollywood’s Biggest Little Stars (NEW)
  • The Dreamer of Oz [1990 TV special] (NEW)
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1910 short)
  • His Majesty, The Scarecrow of Oz [1914 feature]
  • The Magic Cloak of Oz [1914 short] (NEW)
  • The Patchwork Girl of Oz [1914] (NEW)
  • The Wizard of Oz [1925 feature]
  • The Wizard of Oz [1933 animated short]

Disc 3: DVD Main Feature & Sing-along

  • Sing-Along Version – 1 DVD Disc Release
  • Re-mastered feature with Dolby Digital 5.1 Audio
  • Commentary by Historian John Fricke including archival interviews of the film’s cast and crew
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Storybook
  • Prettier than ever: The Restoration of Oz
  • We Haven’t Really Met Properly – Supporting Cast Profiles
  • Music and Effects Track
  • Original mono Track
  • Sing-Along Tracks
  • Trailers

Collector’s Edition Sing-Along Version – 4 Discs DVD Release

  • Remastered feature with Dolby Digital 5.1 Audio
  • Commentary by Historian John Fricke including archival interviews of the film’s cast and crew
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Storybook
  • Prettier than ever: The Restoration of Oz
  • We Haven’t Really Met Properly”” Supporting Cast Profiles
  • Music and Effects Track
  • Original mono Track
  • Sing-Along Audio Feature
  • Trailers
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: The Making of a Movie Classic [1990 TV special]
  • Memories of Oz [2001 TCM documentary]
  • The Art of Imagination: A Tribute to Oz
  • Because of the Wonderful Things it Does: The Legacy of Oz
  • Harold Arlen’s Home Movies
  • Outtakes and Deleted Scenes
  • It’s a Twister! It’s a Twister! The Tornado Tests
  • Off to See the Wizard
  • 3 Vault Shorts
  • Audio Jukebox Selections
  • Still Galleries
  • 6 Theatrical Trailers
  • L. Frank Baum: The Man Behind the Curtain
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz [1910 short]
  • The Magic Cloak of Oz [1914 short] RT 53:10
  • His Majesty, The Scarecrow of Oz [1914 feature]
  • The Wizard of Oz [1925 feature]
  • The Wizard of Oz [1933 animated short]
  • Hollywood Celebrates its Biggest Little Stars!
  • The Dreamer of Oz 1990 TV Special
  • Victor Flemming: Master Craftsman
  • DVD Sing Along version

[ad]

ALSO OUT

‘Allo ‘Allo: The Complete Collection (Universal Playback)
All Creatures Great and Small: The Complete Collection (Universal Playback)
Blood: The Last Vampire (Pathe)
Boogie (Dogwoof)
Family Guy Season 8 (Fox)
Frank Borzage Volume 1 (BFI)
Frank Borzage Volume 2 (BFI)
Hi-De-Hi: The Complete Collection (Universal Playback)
Last Chance Harvey (Momentum)
Peep Show Series 6 (4DVD)
Public Enemies (Universal)
Samurai Princess (4Digital Asia)
Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 1 (Warner)
Supernatural Season 4 (Warner)
Year One (Sony)
36 (Palisades Tartan)
A Tale of Two Sisters (Palisades Tartan)
Black Book (Palisades Tartan)
Braveheart (Fox)
Godzilla (Sony)
I Sell The Dead (Anchor Bay)
It’s A Wonderful Life (Universal)
Lady Vengeance (Palisades Tartan)
Santa Claus: The Movie (Optimum)
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Disney)
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (Palisades Tartan)
The Grinch (Universal)
The Polar Express 3-D (Warner)
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (Warner)

> UK DVD & Blu-ray Releases for November 2009
> Browse more DVD Releases at Amazon UK and Play
> Check the latest DVD prices at DVD Price Check
Take a look at the current UK cinema releases (W/C Friday 30th October)