Telescope was a half-hour Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) television series that aired from 1963-73. Hosted and directed by producer/actor Fletcher Markle, Telescope featured examinations of various topics, as well as profiles of notable figures. Their two-part look at the career of director Alfred Hitchcock, “A Talk with Hitchcock,” aired in 1964. The program was assembled as the auteur was working on his latest picture, Marnie, and we’re treated to on-set footage of the man, along with Marnie stars Tippi Hedren and Sean Connery. But the focus of the special is the interview with Hitch—shot in his Hollywood office—in which the master of suspense is quite candid, casually discussing his oeuvre. It’s very cool to see him so relaxed, conversing with Markle as if there are no cameras present.
Hitchcock cohorts Joan Harrison and Norman Lloyd also appear, as does legendary composer Bernard Hermann. Hermann scored a number of Hitchcock films, including Psycho, a picture made all the more terrifying thanks to Hermann’s heart-stopping compositions. I especially enjoyed learning, by way of Hermann, the Psycho murder scenes were originally intended to be silent, though Hermann disagreed. Once Hitchcock watched the scenes without music and then again with what Hermann had come up with, the director changed his mind. It’s hard to imagine the iconic “shower scene”—as impressive as it is visually—lacking Hermann’s brilliant, hair-raising piece.
“A Talk with Hitchcock” was released on DVD, and though it’s now out of print, a copy can still be had by way of Amazon.
The two-part Telescope episode was recently added to YouTube as a single upload. It’s a fascinating peek into the mind, work, and life of one of cinema’s greatest directors.