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Alfred Hitchcock's Boys and Ghouls Together (1974) Anthology by Alfred Hitchcock (ed Sun77)


Overview:Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock KBE was an iconic and highly influential film director and producer, who pioneered many techniques in the suspense and thriller genres.
Following a very substantial career in his native Britain in both silent films and talkies, Hitchcock moved to Hollywood and became an American citizen with dual nationality in 1956, thus he also remained a British subject. 


Alfred Hitchcock's Boys and Ghouls Together (1974) Anthology by Alfred Hitchcock (ed Sun77) Book Chapter One


INTRODUCTION From time to time I  have informed my readers of the latest developments in the various fields of crime, and the recent flurry of excitement over the disappearance of Ulla Bergsen, the venerable Swedish film director, prompts me to bring to your attention the fantastic story of what really befell Ulla. I'm sure that most of you are familiar with Ulla's works, but for those few who are not, Ulla won inter-national acclaim with his motion picture Divorce Me or I'll Kill You, which was about a  happily married couple whose marriage falls apart when it is unex-pectedly subjected to various unrelated pressures and strains. I  saw the film about six months ago and left the theater completely perplexed as to what it was all about. Frankly, it  left me irritated. Of course I  did hear someone say that its meaning was obvious; however, it was not obvious to me, and ever since viewing the film I had it in mind to pay a call on Ulla. When I   learned soon afterward that Ulla was in town for a reception in his honor I arranged for a meeting. My idea was to find out more about the film from the man who had directed it. I  arrived at his hotel at eight thirty that evening and found the Swedish film maker surrounded by Suzy Wrench, who had starred in Divorce Me or I'll Kill You,
12 ALFRED HITCHCOCK and a clutter of Hollywood characters, actors, some directors and assistant directors, all laughing uproar-iously. When I  asked one of the actors what the oc-casion for the laughter was, he nodded his head toward Ulla and said, "It's Ulla's refreshing viewpoints. I've never heard anything like them." Presently the gathering broke up and I  walked over and said hello to Ulla and I  got right down to business and explained the reason for my visit. He was a heavyset man with a bushy handlebar mustache and dark glasses. He shrugged his shoulders and smiled comfortably. "Divorce Me or I'll Kill You is about realism and life." "What does that mean?" "It's simple. I  made a film without a  plot and com-pletely unrehearsed. We chose two happily married people who'd never acted before to star, and it was filmed entirely in their apartment. The only pro-vision I   made was that they had to constantly play practical jokes on each other. She awakened him one morning by pouring ice water on him. He wired the outside doorknob and arranged a  substantial electrical shock for her. She threw a shovel of sand on him while he shaved. He placed salt in the sugar bowl. Then Suzy ingeniously arranged a small explosive charge when John opened the refrigerator door for a  midnight snack." "This is realism? This is life?" I  asked. He explained, choosing his words carefully, that the unexpected was what life was all about. "Can a  man look into the sky and know that a  thunderbolt is about to strike him down? In this sense Divorce Me or I'll Kill You captures the everyday relation to daily life as we know it. It is the unexpected that the people have to confront."
INTRODUCTION 13 "Absurd," I replied. "Absurd, is it?" he said, and beckoned to Suzy, who sauntered over immediately. "Suzy," he said. "Will you tell this gentleman what your plans are." "I'm divorcing John and marrying Ulla," she said, beaming. "There, you see?" Ulla said, emphatically striking his head. "I took two happily married people and confronted them with the unexpected and they got on each other's nerves, and it got to the point where mere acting became very real. You already know the results of that marriage." "Amazing. I  wouldn't believe it if I  hadn't heard and seen it for myself," I murmured. Of course you've all read in the newspap~rs about how Ulla and Suzy were married on the George Wash-ington Bridge in a  "happening" wedding and honey-mooned in Fort Lee, New Jersey. It was generally known that Ulla and Suzy were at each other's throats in short order, and in no time at all they were di-vorced. For Suzy it was her second and for Ulla his sixth. He declared that Suzy had caused the breakup. It seemed that she had poured ice water on him while he slept to test whether or not their marriage could survive under unfavorable conditions. It couldn't. As the story went, Ulla, sputtering and fuming, threw her out of their second story bedroom window. Luckily for her she landed atop a milkman, which saved her from serious injury. Ulla immediately announced to the press that while he saw no harm in men and women socializing, he was irrevocably through with marriage, and furthermore he saw no reason for the state of marriage in the first place.
14 ALFRED HITCHCOCK I  completely forgot about Ulla until he telephoned one evening and told me that he wanted me to meet Rhonda Aloozag, the star of his next film. "Rhonda Aloozag? I never heard of her." "Of course not, neither has anyone." On the following day we drove to an unprepossess-ing, deserted windowless electronics factory where I met Rhonda. Rhonda Aloozag turned out to be a prodigious elec-tromechanical steel robot. Ulla pointed and proudly proclaimed Rhonda Aloozag the star of his next film, Never Leave Me, or Leave Me and I'll Kill You. He hadn't quite decided on the title. "Madness," I said. "Sheer madness." "Madness, is it?" Ulla thundered. "Think of a woman who loves you no matter what you do to her. I'll show you what I  mean," he said, and grabbed a ball peen hammer and struck Rhonda on the shoulder resoundingly. A blue turret light lit up Rhonda's head and she said, "I love you, I love you, I love you." Ulla burst into laughter. "See, no matter what I  do she loves me. Furthermore, she's been completely pro-grammed to flatter the male ego. Separate circuits have been installed. She encourages, she flatters, she sympa-thizes, and I've even given her one providing a  small measure of jealousy." He turned to the Robot and said, "Rhonda, I'm going to have a  few beers down at the corner with the boys." "You're lying," said Rhonda. "You're going to see Joan or Cathy, or Sylvia, or Mary, or Ruth. Leave me and I'll kill you." "I was only kidding, I'll stay home," said Ulla. "I love you, I  love you, I  love .you," Rhonda mum-bled.

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