Sophia Loren at the Cannes Film Festival (1959) (via)
Kim Novak & Alfred Hitchcock on the set of Vertigo (1958)
On Kim Novak’s performance: “You think you’re getting a lot. You’re not. It was very difficult to obtain what I wanted from [Kim Novak] because her head was full of her own ideas. But as long as I’m pleased with the result…In any case, the role was intended for another actress, Vera Miles. We were ready to begin filming…when, instead of seizing the opportunity of a lifetime, Vera Miles became pregnant. I ask you! I was offering Vera Miles a big part, the chance to become a beautiful, sophisticated blonde, a real actress. We’d have spent a heap of dollars on it, and she has the bad taste to get pregnant. I hate pregnant women, because then they have children.”
“I don’t know if he ever liked me. I never sat down with him for dinner or tea or anything, except one cast dinner, and I was late to that. It wasn’t my fault, but I think he thought I had delayed to make a star entrance, and he held that against me. During the shooting, he never really told me what he was thinking. I know that Hitchcock gave me a lot of freedom in creating the character, but he was very exact in telling me exactly what to do. How to move, where to stand. I think you can see a little of me resisting that in some of the shots, kind of insisting on my own identity.”
Alfred Hitchcock & James Stewart on the set of Rear Window (1954)
[Cary Grant and James Stewart] were as different in their professionalism as in their onscreen personas. While Grant could be a royal pain, fussy and demanding in his approach to a film, Stewart punched into work like a guy carrying a tin lunch box. Stewart was more of a partner, and the Hitchcock-Stewart films were organized as partnerships, with Stewart’s company sharing a percentage of the gross and profits—and risk. As with Rope (1948), Stewart paid himself a reduced salary, taking the chance of making more money on the back end. The director knew from experience that such an arrangement wouldn’t work with Cary Grant, but after Rope, Stewart would be involved in this way in each of his other three films with Hitchcock, from the script stage through to the end of production.
Hitchcock and Stewart had a peculiar friendship; they were intimate but also proper with each other, close but also businesslike. Stewart wasn’t much of a gossiper, a chuckler at dirty stories, or a practical joker. He attended at least one “blue dye” dinner party at Bellagio Road, where Hitchcock served blue martinis, blue steak, and blue potatoes to the guests, but thereafter he was a rarer visitor to the Hitchcock houses, in Bel Air or up in Santa Cruz. (It worked the other way around; Hitchcock visited Stewart, often at his home in Hawaii.)
In meetings or on the set they didn’t talk much. They had more of an unspoken communion, sharing amused glances—like Mr. and Mrs. Hitchcock.
-Patrick McGilligan, Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light
Grace Kelly & Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window (1954, dir. Alfred Hitchcock) (via)
“Everything about Grace was appealing. I was married, but I wasn’t dead. She had those big warm eyes and, well, if you had ever played a love scene with her, you’d know she wasn’t cold. She had an inner confidence. People who have that are not cold. Grace had that twinkle and a touch of larceny in her eye.”
“Prejudice is such a waste. It makes you logy and half-alive. It gives you nothing. It takes away.”
-Dorothy Dandridge (via)
Ella Fitzgerald & Marilyn Monroe listening to jazz at Hollywood’s Tiffany Club (1955)
“I owe Marilyn Monroe a real debt. It was because of her that I played the Mocambo, a very popular nightclub in the ’50s. She personally called the owner of the Mocambo [ed. note: who had refused to book Fitzgerald because she was black], and told him she wanted me booked immediately, and if he would do it, she would take a front table every night.
She told him - and it was true, due to Marilyn’s superstar status - that the press would go wild. The owner said yes, and Marilyn was there, front table, every night. The press went overboard… After that, I never had to play a small jazz club again. She was an unusual woman - a little ahead of her times. And she didn’t know it.”
Grace Kelly & Cary Grant in To Catch a Thief (1955, Alfred Hitchcock)
Francois Truffaut: In other words, what intrigues you is the paradox between the inner fire and the cool surface.
Alfred Hitchcock: Definitely. I think the most interesting women, sexually, are the English women. I feel the Swedes, the northern Germans, and Scandinavians are a great deal more exciting than the French, the Latin, and the Italian women. Sex should not be advertised. An English girl, looking like a schoolteacher, is apt to get into a cab with you and, to your surprise, she’ll probably pull a man’s pants open.
Truffaut: I appreciate your viewpoint, but I doubt whether the majority of the public shares your tastes in this matter. I think the male audience prefers a highly carnal woman. The very fact that Jane Russell, Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren, and Brigitte Bardot became stars, despite the many flops in which they appeared, seems to bear this out. The majority of the public, it seems to me, prefers the kind of sensuality that is blatant.
Hitchcock: That may well be true, but you yourself admit that those actresses generally make bad films. Do you know why? Because without the element of surprise the scenes become meaningless. Look at the opening of To Catch a Thief. I deliberately photographed Grace Kelly ice-cold and I kept cutting to her profile, looking classical, beautiful, very distant. And then, when Cary Grant accompanies her to the door of her hotel room, what does she do? She thrusts her lips right up to his mouth.
Truffaut: I’m willing to grant that you manage to impose that concept of icy sexuality on the screen, but I still feel the audience prefers the kind of sex that’s obvious and tangible.
Hitchcock: Maybe so. Anyway, when the picture is over, the public’s pretty satisfied with it.
-excerpted from Hitchcock by Francois Truffaut & Helen G. Scott
Federico Fellini & Giulietta Masina on the set of La Strada (1954, dir. Federico Fellini)
Is [your wife, Giulietta Masina] a good actress, in your opinion?
Federico Fellini: Excellent. I think she would have interested me as such even if she hadn’t been my wife. Her mimicry, for example, and that little round face which can express happiness or sadness with such poignant simplicity. That little figure, with its tenderness, its delicacy, fascinates me no end. Her type is crystallized, even stylized for me. As an actress, she represents a special type, a very specific humanity.