Alfred Hitchcock Recalls Working with Salvador Dali on Spellbound

In 1945 Alfred Hitchcock had to explain one of Hollywood’s unwritten rules to Salvador Dali: No, you can’t pour live ants all over Ingrid Bergman! Hitchcock had approached Dali for help with a dream sequence in his upcoming thriller, Spellbound, starring Bergman and Gregory Peck. He was unhappy with the fuzziness of Hollywood dream sequences. “I wanted to convey the dream with great visual sharpness and clarity–sharper than film itself,” Hitchcock recalled in his 1962 interview with François Truffaut. “I wanted Dali because of the architectural sharpness of his work. Chirico has the same quality, you know, the long shadows, the infinity of distance and the converging lines of perspective. But Dali had some strange ideas. He wanted a statue to crack like a shell falling apart, with ants crawling all over it. And underneath, there would be Ingrid Bergman, covered by ants! It just wasn’t possible.”

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