He took an umbrella with him. “Just in case I decide to float over the edge,” he explained.
“Before I make a picture I must always experience the hero’s emotions myself.”
Over he goes
He poised his rolypoly figure on a railing of the safety fence and looked down at the seas breaking on the rocks hundreds of feet below.
The westerly blew his umbrella inside out; the renowned chins and jowl quivered with the cold.
But his eyes lit up to saucer-like proportions.
“Ah, yes, ideal,” beamed the master of suspense.
“I can see it all.
“The villain has the hero on the edge of the cliff and is slowly pushing him over, backwards.
“We have close-up shots of their faces.
“Then we have closeups of their feet, scuffling on the brink. The wind is shrieking . . . the waves are boiling far beneath … we know how far the hero has to fall.
“At the last moment he wrenches himself free and the villain goes over The Gap.
“We’d use a – trick shot for this — take the camera down with him as he drops — and then black-out the screen as he’s about to hit the rocks.
“Yes, a really ideal setting for suspense. We’d have plenty of drama in it.”
The Harbour Bridge was another “natural” for a suspense film set in Sydney, said the master. “But I’m used to bridges,” he shrugged. “In ‘Vertigo’ we had Kim Novak jump off the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco.
“No, I’d prefer The Gap for Sydney.”
The 60-year-old Mr Hitchcock, who has made more than 40 suspense pictures, is in Sydney with his wife as a guest of Paramount Pictures and ATN Channel 7.
ATN Channel 7 shows the “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” television series.
“In a TV production we make about eight minutes’ running time of film a day, yet in a movie we’re satisfied if we complete two,” said Mr Hitchcock.
“The contract for the ‘Alfred Hitchcock Presents’ TV series has just been renewed for another two years — making it a seven-year production in all. “Every year I have to find 39 different stories to produce.”
Mr Hitchcock said his latest movie, “Psycho,” had yet to be released in Sydney.
“Yes, I’m in it,” he said. “You’ll see me through a window in Phoenix, Arizona, wearing a six-gallon hat.
“A 10-gallon hat was too big, so I settled for a six.”
Asked if he had any favourite film star, he replied: “I take them as they come.”
His favourite from among his own productions: “Um . . . ‘Rebecca’ … I liked ‘A Shadow of a Doubt’ too.”
His latest picture: “We have a military aircraft flying high in the sky with an atom bomb aboard.
“The crew are ordered to fuse the bomb and set it to explode automatically at 5,000ft.
“Then they’re told the emergency is over, and to defuse the bomb.
“But something has jammed. They can’t defuse it. The atom bomb is live in the aircraft.
“How do they get down through the 5,000ft level without it exploding?
“Ah. that’s my secret,” smiled the master in his best suspenseful fashion.