Critic and filmmaker François Truffaut set out to change that with a series of interviews conducted with Hitchcock over the course of a week in ’62. The pair, via an interpreter, discussed the body of his work film by film; Truffaut sought nothing less than a complete re-evaluation of Hitchcock’s work and the elevation of his status to the very top of the pantheon. The results of the interviews were published in Hitchcock/Truffaut, one of the most influential books about cinema ever published, and it cast such a long shadow over Truffaut the critic that one of the last things he finished before his premature death at the age of 52 was an updated edition of the book.
While Hitchcock/Truffaut updates the book’s legacy in the manner of a new introduction that includes contemporary contributors, one can’t avoid feeling that the film is rather redundant; the proof of this pudding lies in the reading, and the film adds nothing to a text that is universally acknowledged as a classic. Of the talking heads, David Fincher is the most engaging, particularly when he discusses Hitchcock’s embrace and showcasing of his ‘perverse’ side, something which Fincher himself seemingly hasn’t shied away from on occasion. Other contributors include Wes Anderson (who adds little other than an enthusiastic endorsement of the book) and Martin Scorsese, who is his usual erudite self, as well as the inclusion of directors Olivier Assayas (Carlos the Jackal) and James Grey (The Immigrant, We Own The Night).
In its favour, Hitchcock/Truffaut does what any good music or film doc should do: it makes the viewer want to reach for Hitchcock/Truffaut the book. Though to be frank, it may just be more worthwhile to cut to the chase and go straight to the text.