Alfred Hitchcock Reveals The Secret Sauce for Creating Suspense




Speaking at an AFI Seminar in 1970, Alfred Hitchcock revealed the essential ingredients that went into making his films. When he stripped everything away, what Hitchcock really cared about was creating suspense films (not mystery films) and getting the suspense element right. In the famous clip above, the director explains why suspenseful scenes have to simmer for a time and then cool down properly. Things can’t be brought to a rapid boil and then be quickly taken off the stove. Hitchcock once made that mistake in his 1936 film, Sabotage. (Watch the offending scene right below or find the full film here.)

Of course, Hitchcock learned from his mistake, and thereafter shot countless scenes where the suspense builds in the right way. But we particularly wanted to find one scene that pulls off the bomb scenario, and so here it goes. From 1957 to 1959, Hitchcock produced Suspicion, a television series for NBC, and he personally directed one episode called “Four O’Clock”. It features a watchmaker who suspects his wife of having an affair, and so, filled with jealousy, he decides to murder her with a bomb made by his own hands. Things take an unexpected turn, however, when two burglars tie him up in the basement with the ticking bomb. We leave you with the final, climactic scene.

You can watch the full episode here. Enjoy.

If you would like to get Open Culture post’s via email, please sign up for our free email newsletter here.

And if you would like to support the mission of Open Culture, consider making a donation to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us continue providing the best cultural and educational materials to learners everywhere. You can contribute through PayPal, Patreon, Venmo (@openculture) and Crypto. Thanks for your support!

Related Content:

16 Free Hitchcock Movies Online

Alfred Hitchcock Explains the Plot Device He Called the ‘MacGuffin’

The Eyes of Hitchcock: A Mesmerizing Video Essay on the Expressive Power of Eyes in Hitchcock’s Films

Alfred Hitchcock’s 7-Minute Master Class on Film Editing


by | Permalink | Comments (0) |

Support Open Culture

We’re hoping to rely on our loyal readers rather than erratic ads. To support Open Culture’s educational mission, please consider making a donation. We accept PayPal, Venmo (@openculture), Patreon and Crypto! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Leave a Reply

Quantcast
Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.