Alfred Hitchcock Cavorts with Dick Cavett

3 12 2012

On Friday, November 23, Turner Classic Movies ran a selection of Alfred Hitchcock’s movies in honor of the opening of the new film “Hitchcock.” TCM kicked off the day with the June 8, 1972, episode of “The Dick Cavett Show,” in which Cavett interviewed the Master of Suspense.

The breezy conversation took place at the time that “Frenzy” had just been released, and Hitchcock was in fine form. Cavett started with a tribute to “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” (see the photo below) and quizzes Hitchcock on many of his films, his background and his delightfully morbid outlook. Hitchcock makes some outrageous claims, such as insisting that he learned about fear from his mother, who said “boo” to him when he was three months old. He’s actually much more convincing later when, on the same subject, he talks briefly about learning about fear from his Jesuit teachers. Hitchcock relates many of his best known stories, such as being locked in a jail cell at age five, or about the time he told an ambitious starlet who asked which was her best side that she was sitting on it.

Hitchcock’s love of wordplay and puns (he actually claims that “puns are the highest form of literature) throws Cavett off once or twice. While talking about affairs between Hollywood stars, Hitchcock declines to give specific examples, saying that he was just generalizing—and by the way, he is not an Army man. General Ising, that is. And after showing a clip from “Frenzy,” in which the naked body falls from the back of a speeding potato truck, Hitchcock says that the most notable thing about the scene was how the taste of the potatoes was improved by the girl’s presence. I thought it Picture 5was more notable that the clip showed the actor’s naked bottom — especially since Hitchcock says that while movies have come a long way in terms of permissiveness since “Psycho” dared to show a toilet in 1960, television has not changed at all in that time.

All in all, it is a fun hour, in which Hithcock chats with great energy and animation — although he looks more comfortable seated than standing. When Cavett suggests they do another show soon, Hitchcock suggests the name “Cavoriting with Cavett,” which is the source of this post’s title. You can find several clips from it on youtube by searching “Dick Cavett Alfred Hitchcock.”


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