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A film student asked Hitchcock …

Paige Hawthorne

"How long can you hold a camera on a kiss?"

"Twenty to twenty-five minutes."

Then Hitchcock added, "But first I would place a bomb under the bed."

Discuss.

Switch Blayde

@Paige Hawthorne

He once gave the distinction between suspense and surprise.

A bomb goes off under a table in a restaurant. — surprise

You know there's a bomb under the table that will go off at noon and you're watching the hands of the clock moving. — suspense

docholladay

@Paige Hawthorne

He was the master of cliff hangers. I think most of his were very subtle, almost to the point where they could be overlooked.

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


He once gave the distinction between suspense and surprise.

A bomb goes off under a table in a restaurant. — surprise


A surprise is simply an unexpected twist. Once the surprise unfolds, the story goes in a different direction, but other than that one change, nothing really changes.

With suspense, the character is aware of something, and thus bases everything on the basis of that (i.e. How does this detail impact this bigger plot). Since many of potential insights are completely unrelated, they provide a wide variety of red-herrings or false-leads, which never pan out, but what the lead character might miss flavors his every decision, and thus each insight changes the rest of the book in utterly unexpected ways.

The examples of this are the man who's already been poisoned, and thus is investigating his own death before he dies, or the romantic character who knows his wife/girlfriend is interested in someone, but doesn't know who, or if she will or won't, or even why, and thus he starts questioning everything she says and does, trying to unravel the mystery.

The surprises are easy to write, as they don't take a lot of work. The suspense takes a LOT of work, and completely changes the entire course of the book, on a frequent basis, so fewer authors will even attempt it!

Replies:   BlacKnight
BlacKnight

@Crumbly Writer

Suspense isn't about what the characters know. It's about what the audience knows, and in many cases the characters don't.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
joyR

@Paige Hawthorne

Made some great films, and one awful mistake.

Who in their right mind gets Janet Leigh naked and wet in a shower, and instead of capturing her timeless beauty decides to add an annoying soundtrack and a silly knife..!!

Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

He once gave the distinction between suspense and surprise.


Surprise, you're standing on the footpath and a shoe falls from above to hit the footpath beside you and it makes you jump. Suspense is the period where you stand looking up while watching for the second shoe to arrive.

Crumbly Writer

@BlacKnight

Suspense isn't about what the characters know. It's about what the audience knows, and in many cases the characters don't.

That works in film, where the camera can simply capture a ticking bomb under the table, but it quickly becomes problematic in fiction, as you'd have to figure out how to present the 'unknowable' information.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@joyR

Who in their right mind gets Janet Leigh naked and wet in a shower,


I believe it was a double, not her.

Replies:   joyR
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

in fiction, as you'd have to figure out how to present the 'unknowable' information.


In omniscient, the narrator tells the reader.

In 3rd-limited multiple, you have a scene from the bad guy's POV planting the bomb.

In 1st-person — not a good POV for that.

Ernest Bywater

@joyR

Who in their right mind gets Janet Leigh naked and wet in a shower, and instead of capturing her timeless beauty decides to add an annoying soundtrack and a silly knife..!!


In those days while the cameras often implied nudity they usually had all relevant parts covered with strategically placed materials. Many wore body stockings that starts low down the back.

Replies:   joyR
joyR

@Switch Blayde

I believe it was a double, not her.


Not in my imagination, thank you very much.

joyR

@Ernest Bywater

In those days while the cameras often implied nudity they usually had all relevant parts covered with strategically placed materials. Many wore body stockings that starts low down the back.


Same goes for you, my imagination, my rules, you and Switch Blayde are ruining a perfectly good fantasy with your factual interuptions.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@joyR

Same goes for you, my imagination, my rules,


Hey, there's a few films out there with a really topless Alyssa Milano if you're after that sort of stuff.

Replies:   joyR
joyR

@Ernest Bywater

if you're after that sort of stuff.


I can see a woman topless by just looking into my bedroom mirror.

But i'm not Janet Leigh and neither is Miss Milano. Now if you had suggested Jean Simmons (especially 'A Big Country') that's another matter entirely.

Though thank you for the kind suggestion.

Jim S

@joyR

Who in their right mind gets Janet Leigh naked and wet in a shower, and instead of capturing her timeless beauty decides to add an annoying soundtrack and a silly knife..!!

While Janet was never, uh, revealed on screen, at least her daughter (Jamie Lee Curtis) was. I'm satisfied with that.

Replies:   joyR
joyR

@Jim S

While Janet was never, uh, revealed on screen, at least her daughter (Jamie Lee Curtis) was. I'm satisfied with that.


Easily pleased, huh? *grin*

In my imagination the tree was just as beautiful as the apple, so no, I'm not settling for just JLC, a girl can dream.. Can't she?

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