Alfred Hitchcock Recalls Working with Salvador Dali on Spellbound: “No, You Can’t Pour Live Ants All Over Ingrid Bergman!”

In 1945 Alfred Hitch­cock had to explain one of Hol­ly­wood’s unwrit­ten rules to Sal­vador Dalí: No, you can’t pour live ants all over Ingrid Bergman! Hitch­cock had approached Dalí 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 a 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.” The result you can watch below:

Note: This video first appeared on our site in 2011. See­ing that it’s Dal­i’s birth­day today, we’re bring­ing it back!

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Tarot Card Deck Designed by Sal­vador Dalí

Sal­vador Dalí’s 1973 Cook­book Gets Reis­sued: Sur­re­al­ist Art Meets Haute Cui­sine

Sal­vador Dalí’s Avant-Garde Christ­mas Cards

Walk Inside a Sur­re­al­ist Sal­vador Dalí Paint­ing with This 360º Vir­tu­al Real­i­ty Video

Hierony­mus Bosch Fig­urines: Col­lect Sur­re­al Char­ac­ters from Bosch’s Paint­ings & Put Them on Your Book­shelf

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.