When Andy Warhol Interviewed Alfred Hitchcock

By February 27, 2015Blog

It’s always interesting to see how two cultural icons interact.  This brief exchange from Interview Magazine in 1974 is noteworthy:

Andy Warhol: Since you know all these cases, did you ever figure out why people really murder? It’s always bothered me. Why.

Alfred Hitchcock: Well I’ll tell you. Years ago, it was economic, really. Especially in England. First of all, divorce was very hard to get, and it cost a lot of money.

Andy Warhol: But what kind of person really murders? I mean, why.

Alfred Hitchcock: In desperation. They do it in desperation.

Andy Warhol: Really?….

Alfred Hitchcock: Absolute desperation. They have nowhere to go, there were no motels in those days, and they’d have to go behind the bushes in the park. And in desperation they would murder.

Andy Warhol: But what about a mass murderer.

Alfred Hitchcock: Well, they are psychotics, you see. They’re absolutely psychotic. They’re very often impotent. As I showed in “Frenzy.” The man was completely impotent until he murdered and that’s how he got his kicks. But today of course, with the Age of the Revolver, as one might call it, I think there is more use of guns in the home than there is in the streets. You know? And men lose their heads?

Andy Warhol: Well I was shot by a gun, and it just seems like a movie. I can’t see it as being anything real. The whole thing is still like a movie to me. It happened to me, but it’s like watching TV. If you’re watching TV, it’s the same thing as having it done to yourself.

Alfred Hitchcock: Yes. Yes.

Andy Warhol: So I always think that people who do it must feel the same way.

Alfred Hitchcock: Well a lot of it’s done on the spur of the moment. You know.

Andy Warhol: Well if you do it once, then you can do it again, and if you keep doing it, I guess it’s just something to do.

Alfred Hitchcock: Well it depends whether you’ve disposed of the first body. That is a slight problem. After you’ve committed your first murder.

Andy Warhol: Yes, so if you do that well, then you’re on your way. See, I always thought that butchers could do it very easily. I always thought that butchers could be the best murderers.

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Did you know? Warhol was diagnosed with Sydenham’s chorea as a child, and bedridden for almost 2 months. The illness is produces fast, uncontrollable movements induced by rheumatic fever. It’s also known as “St. Vitus’s dance.”

Warhol’s mother encouraged her son to explore his interest in art and pop culture while he was sick, so Warhol began to collect photos of movie stars and celebrities.

 

So there you have it.  Not a lot of insightful filmmaking wisdom, but a fascinating exchange nonetheless.  Do you have any other favorite encounters between filmmakers and cultural icons?