Modern Matinees


May 2–Jun 29, 2018


From left: Alfred Hitchcock. Courtesy of Universal Pictures/Photofest; Francois Truffaut. Courtesy of Photofest

In 1962, an American journalist asked French film director Francois Truffaut (1932–1984) a provocative question: Why do French critics take Alfred Hitchcock’s films so seriously? Truffaut, convinced that Hitchcock’s inclination toward jocular replies to sincere questions cast him in an unflattering light with the media and his peers, resolved to set the record straight. He wrote, “It occurred to me that if he would, for the first time, agree to respond seriously to a systematic questionnaire, the resulting document might modify the American critics’ approach to Hitchcock.”

Truffaut had met Hitchcock (1899–1980) once before, in 1955, during production on Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief in the South of France. The meeting was something of a catastrophe, as Truffaut and his buddy, the director Claude Chabrol, accidentally fell into a fountain in advance of their appointment with Hitchcock. Despite this rocky footing, Hitchcock agreed to 50 hours of interviews with Truffaut, consisting of 500 questions about his career, in chronological order. Questions were limited to the genesis of each film, the preparation of the scripts, and directorial complications. Truffaut capped the interview with Hitchcock’s own candid expectations for the commercial and artistic success of each film.

The first edition of Hitchcock/Truffaut was published in 1967 (with a revised edition in 1983), and it remains an invaluable guide for fans, filmmakers, and critics. This series, drawn primarily from MoMA’s collection, includes an array of films discussed in the book, accompanied by readings from pertinent passages.

Organized by Anne Morra, Associate Curator, Department of Film.



If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA’s Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].