Andy Warhol Interviews Alfred Hitchcock (1974)

warhol hitchcock

Few mid­cen­tu­ry cul­tur­al fig­ures would at first seem to have as lit­tle in com­mon as Andy Warhol and Alfred Hitch­cock. Sure, they both made films, but how straight a line can even the far­thest-reach­ing cin­e­ma the­o­rists draw between, say, Hitch­cock­’s Psy­cho (1960) and Warhol’s Vinyl (1965)? Hitch­cock­’s The Birds (1963) and Warhol’s Empire (1964)? Yet not only did both of them direct many motion pic­tures, each began as a visu­al artist: “Warhol had start­ed his career work­ing as a com­mer­cial illus­tra­tor, Hitch­cock had start­ed out cre­at­ing illus­tra­tions for title cards in silent movies,” says Film­mak­er IQ’s post on their encounter in the Sep­tem­ber 1974 issue of Warhol’s Inter­view mag­a­zine. Yet in the brief con­ver­sa­tion print­ed, they dis­cuss not draw­ing, and not film­mak­ing, but mur­der:

Andy Warhol: Since you know all these cas­es, did you ever fig­ure out why peo­ple real­ly mur­der? It’s always both­ered me. Why.

Alfred Hitch­cock: Well I’ll tell you. Years ago, it was eco­nom­ic, real­ly. Espe­cial­ly in Eng­land. First of all, divorce was very hard to get, and it cost a lot of mon­ey.

[ … ]

Andy Warhol: But what about a mass mur­der­er.

Alfred Hitch­cock: Well, they are psy­chotics, you see. They’re absolute­ly psy­chot­ic. They’re very often impo­tent. As I showed in “Fren­zy.” The man was com­plete­ly impo­tent until he mur­dered and that’s how he got his kicks. But today of course, with the Age of the Revolver, as one might call it, I think there is more use of guns in the home than there is in the streets. You know? And men lose their heads?

Andy Warhol: Well I was shot by a gun, and it just seems like a movie. I can’t see it as being any­thing real. The whole thing is still like a movie to me. It hap­pened to me, but it’s like watch­ing TV. If you’re watch­ing TV, it’s the same thing as hav­ing it done to your­self.

“Warhol open­ly pro­claimed that he was ner­vous upon meet­ing the leg­endary direc­tor,” adds Film­mak­er IQ, “and posed with Hitch­cock by kneel­ing at his feet,” result­ing in the pho­to you see at the top of the post. They also include three por­traits Warhol made of Hitch­cock, the best known of which Christie’s Auc­tion House describes as “a vari­a­tion on the dou­bled self-image that Hitch­cock played with in his title sequence, lay­er­ing his own expres­sive line-draw­ing over the director’s sil­hou­ette, sug­gest­ing the mis­chie­vous deface­ment of graf­fi­ti as much as the can­on­iza­tion of a hero through the time­less­ness of the inscribed pro­file.” These images and the brief inter­view excerpt leave us won­der­ing: can one call a work — on film, in a frame, in a mag­a­zine — both Hitch­cock­ian and Warho­lian? A ques­tion, per­haps, best left to the the­o­rists.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch Andy Warhol’s 1965 Film, Vinyl, Adapt­ed from Antho­ny Burgess’ A Clock­work Orange

Three “Anti-Films” by Andy Warhol: Sleep, Eat & Kiss

Lis­ten to François Truffaut’s Big, 12-Hour Inter­view with Alfred Hitch­cock (1962)

36 Hitch­cock Mur­der Scenes Cli­max­ing in Uni­son

Alfred Hitchcock’s 50 Ways to Kill a Char­ac­ter (and Our Favorite Hitch Resources on the Web)

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on cities, lan­guage, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.