Transcript: The Making of a Motion Picture 2 | Mar 28, 1989

Elwy Yost appears. He’s in his fifties, mostly bald with some dark hair on the sides, and he has a moustache. He wears glasses, a grey suit jacket, a white shirt, a black tie, and black trousers. He hosts the program sitting on a chair against a black background with a red film reel. The reel reads “Talking Film” several times, alternately in white and orange. Elwy holds some memory notes on his lap.

Elwy says WELCOME ONCE AGAIN, LADIES AND
GENTLEMEN, TO
TALKING FILM.
ON THIS PROGRAM, YOU'LL MEET
THREE FILMMAKERS WHO ARE
ASSOCIATED IN VARIOUS
CAPACITIES WITH THE MAKING OF
THREE OF THE TRULY CLASSIC
PICTURES IN THE HORROR GENRE --
PSYCHO,
WHATEVER
HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?
AND
ROSEMARY'S BABY.
OUR GUESTS INCLUDE, SAUL
BASS, WILLIAM FRAKER,
AND ROBERT ALDRICH.
SAUL BASS IS ONE OF
HOLLYWOOD'S BEST GRAPHIC
DESIGNERS WHO WORKED FOR
OTTO PREMINGER ON THE TITLE
SEQUENCES AND IN THE POSTER
DESIGNS OF
MAN WITH A GOLDEN
ARM,
ANATOMY OF A MURDER,
AND
ADVISE AND CONSENT.
1960, ALFRED HITCHCOCK
EMPLOYED HIM AS A VISUAL
CONSULTANT ON
PSYCHO.
ROBERT ALDRICH DISTINGUISHED
HIMSELF AS ONE OF THE MOST
SUCCESSFUL, INDEPENDENT
PRODUCER DIRECTORS IN
HOLLYWOOD WITH SUCH FILMS AS
ATTACK,
HUSH HUSH SWEET
CHARLOTTE, AND
THE DIRTY DOZEN.
ON THIS PROGRAM, HE EXAMINES
THE MAKING OF HIS MASTERPIECE,
WHATEVER HAPPENED
TO BABY JANE?
AND OUR THIRD GUEST, WILLIAM
FRAKER, WAS DIRECTOR OF
PHOTOGRAPHY ON
BULLITT,
HEAVEN CAN WAIT, AND
LOOKING FOR Mr. GOODBAR,
AMONG OTHERS.
HE'LL DISCUSS WORKING WITH
ROMAN POLANSKI IN THE MAKING
OF
ROSEMARY'S BABY.
OUR PROGRAM BEGINS WITH
SAUL BASS TALKING ABOUT HIS
CONTRIBUTIONS TO
THE FILM,
PSYCHO.
AND IN PARTICULAR, HIS ROLE
IN THE DESIGN AND SHOOTING OF
THE SHOWER SCENE AND THE
STAIRCASE SEQUENCE IN WHICH
MARTIN BALSAM MEETS
A VERY GRISLY END.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THREE
FILMMAKERS TALKING FILM.

Saul Bass appears in his office. He’s in his late fifties, mostly bald with some dark hair on the sides, and he also has a moustache. He is wearing a white shirt with the sleeves rolled up. He is sitting at his desk opposite Elwy. In the background, there are several photographs pinned to the wall. Saul gestures with his hands as he answers.

Elwy says SAUL BASS, WOULD YOU TAKE US
ON A JOURNEY THROUGH YOUR
ASSOCIATION WITH Mr. HITCHCOCK
IN THE MAKING OF
PSYCHO.
IN TERMS OF THAT PICTURE, THAT
MAN, AND WHAT YOU DID.
I'M THINKING OF THE SHOWER
SCENE, AND THAT OTHER
TREMENDOUS SCENE, BUT IT'S
UP TO YOU FROM THIS MOMENT.

Saul says WELL, YOU KNOW, HITCHCOCK,
THAT EXPERIENCE WAS AN
EXTRAORDINARY EXPERIENCE FOR
ME BECAUSE WHAT HAPPENED WAS,
HITCHCOCK REALLY SORT OF TOOK
ME UNDER HIS WING ON THAT
FILM AND GAVE ME WHAT AMOUNTS
TO AN INTENSIVE SHORT COURSE
ON FILM MAKING.
HE ENGAGED ME, ORIGINALLY, TO
DESIGN THE SHOWER SEQUENCE
AND SEVERAL OTHER SEQUENCES
THAT WERE CRUCIAL TO THE FILM --
MARTY BALSAM'S MURDER, THE
DISCOVERY OF THE MOTHER'S
SKELETON IN THE CHAIR,
AND A FEW OTHER THINGS.
AND AS I WAS ON THE SET, HE
SIMPLY FOUND HIMSELF WITH AN
EXTREMELY APT OBSERVER,
SOMEONE HIGHLY MOTIVATED AND
VERY INTENSELY CONCERNED
AND INVOLVED IN THE THING.
AND, YOU KNOW, THERE'S NOTHING
THAT BRINGS OUT THE TEACHER
IN SOMEONE AS A
REALLY APT PUPIL.
AND BY GOD, I
WAS AN APT PUPIL.

A caption appears on screen. It reads “Saul Bass, Visual Consultant of Psycho.”

Saul continues SO HE ENJOYED, I THINK, THE
PROCESS OF JUST SIMPLY, IN A
SENSE, SHOWING ME THE ROPES.
AND NATURALLY, I GOBBLED
THAT UP, LIKE IT WAS --

Elwy says I'LL BET, YEAH.

Saul says LIKE IT WAS HOT DOGS
AND MALTEDS, YOU KNOW?
SO I REALLY HAD A TREMENDOUS
LEARNING EXPERIENCE.
AND HE WAS REALLY WONDERFUL.
IN THE COURSE OF THIS, WHEN I
HAD DOPED OUT THE SEQUENCES,
HE WAS GENEROUS ENOUGH TO SAY
TO ME, LOOK, YOU'VE WORKED IT
OUT, GO AHEAD, DIRECT THEM.
SO THERE WE WERE ON THE SET,
AND HITCH WAS SITTING IN HIS
BUDDHA MODE ON HIS
HIGH DIRECTOR'S CHAIR,
AND I SET UP THE SEQUENCE.
AND I REMEMBER I TURNED TO
HIM, ON THE FIRST SHOT,
AND I SAID, IS THAT OKAY?
HE SAYS, YOU'RE DIRECTING.

Elwy says MY GOD!

Saul says AND I SAID OKAY.
AND I DID THE SEQUENCE.
AND THEN HE WAS KIND
ENOUGH TO LET ME WORK WITH
GEORGE TOMASINI,
WHO WAS THE EDITOR,
AND I EDITED THE
SEQUENCE WITH GEORGE.
I REMEMBER IT WAS
ON A SATURDAY.
AND WE GOT THE
WHOLE THING EDITED.
AND THEN HITCH LOOKED AT IT,
AND HE ADDED TWO CUTS TO IT.
ONE OF THEM WAS THE
KNIFE IN THE BELLY.

They both laugh.

Saul continues MY NOTION ABOUT THE SEQUENCE
WAS I REALLY WANTED A
BLOODLESS MURDER.
I DIDN'T WANT TO
SEE ANY BLOOD.
I DIDN'T EVEN WANT TO SEE THE
KNIFE OR THE OBJECT STRIKE.
AND THE ONLY BLOOD --

Elwy says ALL SUGGESTION.

Saul says THE ONLY BLOOD I HAD ACTUALLY
YOU VISUAL SAW WAS THE FINAL
SHOT, WHERE THE BLOOD WENT
DOWN THE DRAIN IN THE TUB.
HITCH LOOKED AT IT,
AND HE ADDED TWO CUTS.
ONE WAS A KNIFE IN THE BELLY,
WHERE YOU ACTUALLY SAW, YOU
THINK YOU SAW, ACTUALLY WHAT
IT WAS, THE POINT OF THE KNIFE
AGAINST THE BELLY, HE PULLED IT
BACK AND RAN THE FILM FORWARD.
AND THAT WAS THE SORT
OF IMPACT OF THE KNIFE.
AND THEN THERE WAS A SPLATTER
OF BLOOD THAT HE PUT ON JANET
LEIGH, AS SHE
WAS BEING STRUCK.
THAT, YOU KNOW, SORT OF
CHANGED IT A LITTLE BIT FOR ME.
I CAN'T HONESTLY
SAY HE WASN'T RIGHT.
OR MAYBE IT WOULD HAVE WORKED
EQUALLY WELL WITHOUT IT.
MY THEORY OF THE THING WAS
I REALLY WANTED TO BE A
TOUR DE FORCE WHERE YOU COULD
REALLY GET ALL THE HORROR
AND ANXIETY WITHOUT REALLY
EVER SHOWING BLOOD,
EXCEPT BY INFERENCE
AT THE END.

Elwy says THAT COMES ACROSS, SAUL.
MY MEMORY OF THE SCENE,
BEFORE OUR MEETING,
WAS OF THE BLOODLESS MURDER.
I DON'T REMEMBER
THOSE OTHER SHOTS.

Saul says THESE WERE THE TWO
CUTS HITCH ADDED.
AFTER ALL, HE'S THE MASTER,
SO MAYBE HE KNOWS BEST.
THAT'S SORT OF UNIMPORTANT.
THE THING IS, IT WAS A
TERRIFIC EXPERIENCE,
AND I LEARNED
A LOT FROM IT.
AND IT WAS REALLY QUITE A WILD
THING THAT HAPPENED TO ME THERE.

Elwy says CREATIVELY, HOW DID YOU GO
ABOUT, CAN YOU DEFINE THIS,
IN COMPOSING THOSE.
WAS IT 67, AM I
RIGHT, OR 73?

Saul says I DON'T KNOW.
THERE WAS A LOT OF SHOTS.

Elwy says A LOT OF SHOTS.
HOW DO YOU GO
ABOUT THAT, SAUL?

Saul says YOU KNOW, I DID A FILM ON
THE SUBJECT OF CREATIVITY,
A SHORT FILM.
IT'S CALLED
WHY MAN CREATES,
IN WHICH I ATTEMPTED TO DEAL
WITH THE NOTION OF CREATIVITY
IN THE GENERALIZED SENSE,
NOT IN THIS FILMIC SENSE.
AND THE INTERESTING
THING ABOUT THAT FILM,
WHAT'S INTERESTING ABOUT IT
IS I REALLY, IN THE END,
DID NOT REALLY ATTEMPT TO DEFINE
HOW THESE THINGS HAPPENED.
I MERELY DESCRIBE THE
PROCESS AS IT APPEARS
WHEN IT'S HAPPENING.
THAT'S VERY MUCH DIFFERENT
FROM TRYING TO UNDERSTAND
WHY IT HAPPENS.

Elwy says YES.

Saul says BECAUSE I FEEL THE
PROCESS IS REALLY MYSTERIOUS.
WE EACH OF US DEVELOP THEORIES
ABOUT WHY THINGS HAPPEN.
IT'S VERY DANGEROUS TO DEVELOP
THEORIES BECAUSE GOD HELP YOU
IF YOU TRY TO FOLLOW A THEORY,
THEN YOU ARE IN BIG TROUBLE.
THEORIES ARE ONLY VALUABLE,
THEY ONLY OCCUR, FIRST OF ALL,
AFTER THE FACT.
WHEN YOU'VE DONE SOMETHING,
AND IT WORKS, YOU CAN DEVELOP
WHAT IT KNOWN, FOR INSTANCE,
AS I'VE OFTEN DONE,
IT'S CALLED THE BASS HANDY
DANDY THEORY OF CREATIVITY.

Elwy laughs.

Saul continues YOU SEE?
AND THE ONLY THING I CAN SAY
TO MY OWN CREDIT IS I HAVE
SENSE ENOUGH NOT TO FOLLOW THE
THEORY ON MY NEXT TIME OUT.
I SAY, THAT'S AN INTERESTING
THEORY ABOUT HOW IT HAPPENED
FOR THAT MOMENT.
NOW THE QUESTION REALLY IS,
WHAT'S THAT GOT TO DO WITH
WHAT'S COMING UP
BECAUSE THAT'S DEATH?
SO MY VIEW OF THEORY IS
IT'S USEFUL FROM SEVERAL
POINTS OF VIEW.
IT'S AN AFTER-THE-FACT
ANALYSIS WHICH IS INTERESTING,
IF NOT PERHAPS USEFUL.
IT'S ALSO REASSURING BECAUSE
WE ALL WANT, WE ALL HOPE THERE
ARE TRUE, THAT THERE TRULY
ARE FORMULARIZED WAYS, OR
SEMI-FORMULARIZED WAYS, THAT'S
WHAT A THEORY IS, IT GIVES
YOU A FRAME IN WHICH YOU
CAN APPLY TO A NEW SITUATION.
AND IT MAY, FOR THE MOMENT,
SERVE TO STEADY YOU DURING THE
BEGINNING OF SOMETHING WHEN
YOU HAVE THAT TERRIBLE BLANK
MIND, THAT BLANK SHEET,
THAT BLANK WHATEVER IT IS,
AND THEN YOU GO ON.
AND YOU IGNORE THE THEORY.
AND YOU DO WHAT
HAS TO BE DONE.
SO IN THE FILM…

Saul chuckles and continues COMING BACK
TO THE CREATIVITY FILM,
I KNEW ENOUGH NOT TO
TRY TO DESCRIBE IT.
I THINK IT'S REALLY
QUITE MYSTERIOUS.
AND MANY ATTEMPTS HAVE
BEEN MADE TO DESCRIBE IT
BOTH PSYCHOLOGICALLY,
PHYSIOLOGICALLY AND IN
OTHER WAYS.
I MYSELF DON'T FEEL I'M
CAPABLE OF DOING THAT.
BUT WHAT I WAS CAPABLE OF
DOING, AND I THINK I DID IT
INTERESTINGLY, WAS TO
DESCRIBE THE PROCESS.
AND ONE THING WE KNOW, THE
PROCESS IS AN AMAZING PROCESS,
WHICH IS FULL OF
CONTRADICTIONS.
IT'S ALTERNATELY
ORDERLY AND MESSY.
IT'S THE MESSIEST
PROCESS IN THE WORLD.
IT'S FRUSTRATING AND AGONIZING
AND PAINFUL, AND JOYOUS,
IN TURN.
AND IT CONTAINS EVERYTHING
THAT WE WOULD CALL THE HUMAN
EXPERIENCE, ALL PILED INTO
AN INTENSIFIED WAY INTO
THAT TOTAL EXPERIENCE.
AND IN THE FILM, I ALSO TRY
TO MAKE THE POINT THAT THE
NOTION OF CREATIVITY IS A
BROADLY EXPERIENCED THING
THAT SPANS,
INCIDENTALLY, ALL FIELDS.
WE HAVE A TENDENCY TO
THINK ART IS CREATIVE
AS SCIENCE IS RATIONAL.
IN FACT, THE MOST IMPORTANT
SCIENCE IS IRRATIONAL AND IS
BASED UPON HIGHLY INTUITIVE
AND CREATIVE NOTIONS THAT HAVE
NO BASIS IN FACT, BUT
TURN OUT IN THE END.
THE MOST IMPORTANT THEORIES,
THE MOST IMPORTANT DISCOVERIES
IN SCIENCE HAVE COME ABOUT AS
A RESULT OF AN INTUITIONAL
PROCESS THAT'S NOT MUCH
DIFFERENT FROM MAKING
A PAINTING OR MAKING A FILM.
EVEN THOUGH IN THE END IT'S
EMPIRICALLY TESTED AS A
HYPOTHETICAL NOTION.
BUT THE MOST SIGNIFICANT
HYPOTHESIS, THE MOST IMPORTANT
SCIENTISTS WILL TELL YOU,
ARE INTUITIONAL HUNCHES.
NOW WE KNOW WHAT HUNCHES ARE.
WE KNOW HUNCHES ARE REALLY
SUBMERGED EXPERIENCE.
AND WHEN YOU THINK SOMETHING
IS RIGHT, OR SOMETHING MAKES
SENSE, THERE'S PROBABLY
A DATABASE FOR IT,
BUT IT'S BURIED SO DEEP WITHIN
YOURSELF THAT YOU CAN'T REACH IT
AT THE MOMENT.
AND IT'S ONLY LATER WHEN YOU
DO SOMETHING YOU SAY, HEY,
THAT FEELS RIGHT.
THEN YOU LOOK AT IT, AND
YOU FIND A MILLION REASONS
WHY IT'S RIGHT.
NOW, YOU ARE DIPPING INTO THE
RATIONAL ISSUES THAT FED INTO
THAT IRRATIONAL
HUNCH, YOU SEE?
AND THEN YOU JUSTIFY IT.
AND YOU'RE ALWAYS AMAZED AT
THE FACT YOU WERE ABLE TO COME
UP WITH SUCH A WILD NOTION.
AND IT TURNS OUT TO
CHECK OUT A.B.C.D.E.F.G.
AND YOU SAY, ISN'T THAT
WONDERFUL, IT WORKS.
IN FACT, THAT'S
WHERE IT CAME FROM.
SO THAT'S KIND OF SOME OF
THE ISSUES, YOU KNOW --

Elwy says BOY, WHAT AN ANSWER.
I THINK THAT'S GORGEOUS.
ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS.
SAUL BASS, HITCHCOCK, DID HE
AGREE WITH YOUR APPROACH ON
THAT STAIR SEQUENCE WITH BALSAM,
WHEN MARTIN MET HIS DOOM.
WHICH IS ONE OF MY FAVOURITE
HORROR MOMENTS OF ALL TIME.
BECAUSE YOU DIRECTED
THAT AS WELL, DIDN'T YOU?

Saul says WELL, IN FACT, THERE WAS A
VERY INTERESTING THING THAT
DEVELOPED ON THAT
THAT WAS VERY CURIOUS.
IT DEPENDS...
SEE, THE INTERESTING ISSUE
ABOUT BEING SCARED IN A FILM IS
WHETHER, AND THIS IS
A GENERALIZED NOTION.
THIS IS CALLED, AGAIN, THIS
IS ANOTHER ONE OF THOSE BASS
HANDY DANDY THEORIES THAT
PROBABLY WORKS MOST OF THE
TIME, BUT IS BEST UNDERSTOOD
WHEN THE RULE IS BROKEN
SO TO SPEAK.
AND IT'S NOT A RULE, REALLY, BUT
IT'S A SORT OF AN OBSERVATION.
THAT WHEN SOMETHING HORRIBLE
HAPPENS OUT OF THE BLUE,
IT'S NOT AS HORRIBLE AS WHEN YOU
EXPECTED SOMETHING TERRIBLE
MIGHT HAPPEN, BUT IT TURNS
OUT TO BE MORE TERRIBLE
THAN YOU EXPECTED.

Elwy laughs.

Saul continues AND IT HAPPENS NOT AT THE MOMENT
YOU EXPECTED IT TO HAPPEN.
SO I THINK IT'S NECESSARY
TO SET UP THE NOTION OF THE
POTENTIAL OF THE SITUATION.
OTHERWISE, IF IT COMES TOTALLY
OUT OF THE BLUE, IT SOMEHOW
OR OTHER, YOU HAVEN'T YET
SET YOURSELF UP FOR IT.
SO COMING BACK TO THAT
COMING UP THE STAIRS,
I, IN MY ORIGINAL DESIGN
FOR THAT SEQUENCE,
REALLY SET IT UP TOO CLEARLY.
HITCHCOCK REVISED THAT.
AND HE UNDERSTOOD VERY WELL
THAT THE GENERAL AMBIANCE
WAS SO THREATENING IN
THE TOTAL FILM THAT
THAT WAS REALLY ADEQUATE.
SO WE REVISED THAT SO MARTY
BALSAM, YOU KNEW HE WAS HEADING
FOR SOMETHING, AND HE WOULD
DISCOVER SOMETHING NOT GOOD.

Elwy laughs and says YES, THAT'S TRUE.

Saul continues BUT WHAT YOU DIDN'T KNOW WAS
HOW TERRIBLE IT WAS GOING TO BE.
LIKE ULTIMATELY, YOU SEE?

Elwy says YES, YES.

Saul says SO HE WENT UP, AND HE DID A SORT
OF A LA-DI-DA KIND OF THING.
HE WAS, OH, WONDER
WHAT'S UP THERE.
WHEREAS I HAD SET IT UP WITH
INTERCUTS OF HIS HAND ON THE
RAIL GOING UP.

Saul chuckles and continues DOING THIS.
AND I HAD SHOTS OVER HIS
SHOULDER AT THE DOOR.
AND I WAS TELEGRAPHING IT
SLIGHTLY, SO WHEN THE FINAL
BLOW CAME, IT WAS, WELL,
WHAT ELSE DO YOU EXPECT?
SOMETHING TERRIBLE IS BOUND TO
HAPPEN AS A RESULT OF THIS.
BUT HITCH SOFTENED THAT, AND
HE PULLED IT BACK SO WHEN I
DID THAT IT WAS A MUCH SOFTER
SEQUENCE, AND THEREFORE THE
FINAL BLOW WAS REALLY
ABSOLUTELY DEVASTATING
WHEN IT CAME.
AND, YOU KNOW, WHEN HE
FELL DOWN THE STAIRS,
I HAD A WONDERFUL SHOT
IN THERE THAT I LIKED.
IT WAS SORT OF A TAKE OFF ON
THE SHOWER SHOT, WHERE I HAD
JANET LEIGH PULL THE CURTAIN,
AND YOU SAW, IN THOSE DAYS,
SHOWER CURTAINS WERE IN THOSE
LITTLE LOOPS, AND IT WENT...
IT WENT OFF.
I HAD HIS HAND GO THROUGH ALL,
WHEN HE WENT DOWN THE STAIRS,
I HAD HIS HAND GO THROUGH...

Elwy says THE SPOKES, THE
BANISTER SPOKES.

Saul says THE SPOKES, THE BANISTER
SPOKES OF THE STAIRS.
SO HE GRABBED ONE, AND HIS
HAND WENT RIGHT THROUGH ALL
OF THEM AS HE WENT DOWN.

Elwy says BEAUTIFUL.

Saul says WHICH WAS A GOOD EFFECT.
ANYWAY, SO MUCH FOR THAT.

Elwy says SO MUCH FOR THAT.

Back in the studio, Elwy says WHATEVER HAPPENED TO
BABY JANE?
WAS RELEASED
IN 1963 AND WAS ONE OF
THE BIGGEST BOX OFFICE
AND ARTISTIC TRIUMPHS
OF THAT YEAR.
IT IS TODAY CONSIDERED TO BE
ONE OF THE BEST HORROR FILMS
EVER MADE.
I THINK IT'S TRULY A
MARVELLOUSLY IMAGINATIVE
JOURNEY INTO THE MACABRE.
WE HEAR NOW FROM THE PRODUCER
AND DIRECTOR OF THAT FILM,
ROBERT ALDRICH.
THE MAN RESPONSIBLE FOR
SUCH ECLECTIC SUCCESSES AS
ATTACK, THE DIRTY DOZEN,
APACHE
AND
THE BIG KNIFE.
HERE HE IS NOW.

Robert Aldrich and Elwy appear in a living room. Both are sitting comfortably on separate coaches; Robert has his feet on a table. Elwy is wearing a light blue suit and a white shirt. The jacket is plain, and the trousers are checkered. Robert is in his early sixties, has grey hair, and wears glasses. He is wearing a white shirt, dark grey trousers, and a black scarf. The living room has a big lamp and a painting of a lady on a wooden wall.

Elwy says ROBERT ALDRICH, ONE OF MY
FAVOURITE ROBERT ALDRICH
PICTURES, AND I GUESS IT'S
MANY PEOPLE'S FAVOURITE IS
WHATEVER HAPPENED
TO BABY JANE?
I THINK IT'S ONE OF THE
GREAT THRILLERS OF ALL TIME.
WAS IT BASED ON REAL PEOPLE?
IF SO, OR IF NOT, HOW DID
THE CONCEPT AND THE PROJECT
COME ABOUT?

Robert says I WAS SHOOTING A
PICTURE IN ITALY
AND SOMEBODY SENT
ME THE BOOK.
AND MOST INDEPENDENT COMPANIES
HAVE PEOPLE THEY CALL FINDERS.
AND YOU PAY THEM A FEE IF
YOU USE ANY OF THE LITERARY
MATERIAL THEY SUGGEST.
AND A FINDER SENT
ME THIS BOOK.
IT HADN'T BEEN PUBLISHED YET.
IT WAS PUBLISHED EVENTUALLY IN
ENGLAND, LONG BEFORE IT WAS
IN THE UNITED STATES.
AND I HAD WORKED
WITH CRAWFORD.
I HAD NEVER WORKED
WITH DAVIS.
AND I THOUGHT THERE WOULD BE
AN EXTRAORDINARY OPPORTUNITY
FOR THOSE TWO MARVELLOUS
ACTRESSES TO WORK TOGETHER.
SO I EMPLOYED AN
ENGLISH WRITER.
AND HE CAME AND LIVED WITH US
IN ROME FOR ABOUT SIX MONTHS
WHILE HE DID THE SCREENPLAY.
AND I SENT THE
SCREENPLAY TO CRAWFORD,
AND CRAWFORD AGREED TO DO IT.
AND NEVER HAVING MET MISS
DAVIS, I SENT HER A LETTER IN
WHICH I SAID, IF THIS WASN'T
THE BEST SCRIPT SHE'D EVER READ
SHE SHOULDN'T DO IT.

A caption appears on screen. It reads “Robert Aldrich, Director of Baby Jane.”

Robert continues AND SHE WAS DOING
THE NIGHT
OF THE IGUANA
IN NEW YORK
ON THE STAGE AT THE TIME.
AND I NEVER HEARD FROM HER
FOR ABOUT SIX OR SEVEN WEEKS,
AND I REALIZED THAT WAS
BRASH AND NOT VERY BRIGHT,
AND NOT A VERY
POLITIC THING TO DO.
AND AFTER ABOUT SIX WEEKS, I
GOT A LETTER IN LONGHAND THAT
SAID, NO, IT WASN'T THE BEST
SCRIPT SHE'S EVER READ,
BUT IT WAS THE SECOND BEST.

Elwy laughs.

Robert continues SHE CONSIDERED
HUMAN
BONDAGE
A BETTER SCRIPT.
AND IF I WANTED TO COME TO NEW
YORK AND DISCUSS IT WITH HER,
SHE'D BE HAPPY TO MEET ME.
SO I FLEW TO NEW
YORK AND MET HER
AFTER THE EVENING'S
PERFORMANCE.
AND A GOOD DEAL OF WHISKY
WENT BACK AND FORTH,
AND SHE AGREED TO DO IT.
ONE OF THE REASONS I'D LOVE TO
TELL YOU ONLY BECAUSE I'M A
GENIUS OF THAT PICTURE OF
WORK, THAT'S JUST NOT TRUE.
THE WORLD AUDIENCES READ
INTO THAT MOVIE A KIND OF
SECONDARY BELIEF THAT THESE
KIND OF THINGS HAPPEN.
WHETHER THEY WERE PORTRAYING
SOME SILENT SECRET HISTORY OF
HOLLYWOOD THAT THE WORLD
HAD NOT DISCOVERED.

Elwy says WE ALL DID, YES.

Robert says AND IT REALLY ISN'T TRUE.
BUT WE TRIED TO MAKE, TODAY
THEY'RE CALLED DOCUDRAMAS,
RIGHT?
WELL, THEY WEREN'T
CALLED THAT THEN.
WE TRIED TO MAKE IT AS CINÉMA
VÉRITÉ AS POSSIBLE, AS
REALISTIC AS POSSIBLE,
AND IT WORKED.
AND THOSE LADIES
WERE TREMENDOUS.
AND THE PICTURE KIND OF
GOT CAUGHT UP IN A WAVE OF
BELIEVABILITY THAT WAS AN
EXTRAORDINARY SUCCESS STORY.
BUT NO, IT WASN'T TRUE.
AND NO IT DIDN'T HAPPEN.

Elwy says NO IT DIDN'T.
MARVELLOUS.
MARVELLOUS SECRETS
REVEALED IN IT.

Robert says THOSE LADIES WERE MARVELLOUS.
THEY WERE TREMENDOUS.

Elwy says ONE WOULD HAVE THOUGHT SUCH
HIGH POWERED GALS, TWO OF THE
GREATEST IN THE WHOLE HISTORY
OF MOTION PICTURES, THAT
THERE MIGHT HAVE BEEN
SPARKS ON THE SET.
WAS THIS TRUE OR NOT?

Robert says I THINK IT DEPENDS ON
HOW YOU DEFINE SPARKS.
ON THE FIRST PICTURE, I THINK
IT'S SUFFICIENT TO SAY THEY
WERE TERRIBLY PROFESSIONAL.
THEY BEHAVED AS TRUE
PROS, AS TRUE LADIES.
THAT WAS NOT QUITE THE CASE
WHEN WE MADE, WE MADE A SEQUEL
CALLED
HUSH HUSH SWEET
CHARLOTTE, WITH CRAWFORD AND
DAVIS, AND CRAWFORD GOT VERY
ILL ABOUT TWO WEEKS IN.
AND REALLY VERY ILL.
AND WE HAD TO RECAST.
WE WENT WITH OLIVIA
DE HAVILLAND.
THE SECOND PICTURE
WASN'T THAT PROFESSIONAL.
THE FIRST PICTURE,
THE LADIES BEHAVED.

Elwy says AND SO IT GOES, EH?
THE VAGARIES OF
THE PROFESSION.
Mr. ALDRICH, WHERE DID
YOU SHOOT BABY JANE?
WAS IT A STUDIO?

Robert says WELL, THERE'S A STUDIO ABOUT
FOUR BLOCKS FROM THIS OFFICE
WE ARE SITTING IN NOW
CALLED CALIFORNIA.
IT'S AN OLD RUNDOWN BEAT UP
STUDIO THAT'S VERY INEXPENSIVE.
AND IT WAS THE PLACE WHERE
ENTERPRISE FILMS WAS HOUSED
AND WHERE THEY USED TO
MAKE
HOPALONG CASSIDY.
IT'S VERY OLD AND ANCIENT,
AND MOST IMPORTANT,
VERY INEXPENSIVE.
AND WE SHOT WHAT IS THE
CRAWFORD DAVIS HOUSE THERE.
EVERYTHING ELSE WE SHOT IN THE
STREETS OR IN NEIGHBOURHOODS
OR AT THE BEACH OR
IN REAL LOCATIONS.
BUT THE HOUSE, THE SET FOR
THEIR LIVING QUARTERS WAS AT
THAT CALIFORNIA STUDIOS.

Elwy says HOW LONG DID YOU WORK EACH
DAY WHEN YOU WERE SHOOTING?
WHAT'S AN AVERAGE
PRODUCTION DAY LIKE?

Robert says LONG DAYS, DIDN'T
HAVE MUCH MONEY.
IT SOUNDS LIKE A LOT OF
MONEY, BUT THE BUDGET OF THAT
PICTURE WAS 1 MILLION
AND 10 THOUSAND DOLLARS.

Elwy says THAT ISN'T BY PRESENT
DAY STANDARDS, IS IT?

Robert says NO, IT WASN'T THEN EITHER.
BUT WE HAD 28 DAYS
TO DO THE PICTURE.
WE DID THE PICTURE
IN 30 DAYS.
WE WERE TWO DAYS OVER.
AND WE WERE ABOUT 7 THOUSAND DOLLARS OVER.

Elwy says THAT'S PRETTY TIGHT.

Robert says I THOUGHT SO.
THE LENGTH OF THE
DAYS WERE ENORMOUS.
TO GET IN BECAUSE YOU HAVE
FIXED CHARGES AND DAILY CHARGES.
AND THE FIXED CHARGES
ARE WHAT KILL YOU.
SO WE REALLY HAD TO
STICK TO THAT SCHEDULE.
AND CONSEQUENTLY WE STARTED
TO SHOOT ABOUT 8:30,
AND WE FINISHED
SHOOTING ABOUT 8:30.

Elwy says HOW MUCH WOULD
IT COST FOR A DAY.
WHAT IS IT UP TO?

Robert says WELL, ON THAT PICTURE,
IT'S HARD TO TELL.
THOSE LADIES DIDN'T TAKE AN
AWFUL LOT OF MONEY BECAUSE
THEY HAD ENORMOUS
PROFIT PARTICIPATIONS.
TODAY, I JUST FINISHED A
PICTURE THAT OUR DAILY COSTS
RAN APPROXIMATELY
60 THOUSAND DOLLARS A DAY.

Elwy whistles showing surprise.

Robert continues THAT WASN'T TRUE
THEN, OF COURSE.

Elwy says FOR THE PUBLIC TO HEAR THAT,
I THINK, IS VERY IMPORTANT.
BECAUSE YOU CAN IMAGINE IF YOU
ARE ON LOCATION, THERE'S SOME
BAD WEATHER, AND YOU
ARE STILL PAYING.

Robert says LOCATION WOULD BE MORE BECAUSE
THAT PICTURE I'M REFERRING TO,
YOU WEREN'T PAYING LIVING,
HOUSING AND TRANSPORTATION.
IT'S ALL IN STUDIO.
YOU CAN ADD ANOTHER 25,000 TO
THAT IF YOU ARE TAKING A BIG
CREW AND YOU ARE ON LOCATION.

Elwy says SO YOU ARE 85,000 AT LEAST
THEN ON A THING LIKE THAT
EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Back in the studio, Elwy says I DON'T KNOW HOW YOU REGARDED
ROSEMARY'S BABY
WHEN YOU
FIRST SAW IT.
I KNOW THAT I WAS CHILLED
ALL THE WAY THROUGH.
IT'S DIRECTOR, ROMAN POLANSKI
IS FAMOUS FOR FILMS OF THE
HORROR GENRE, AND THESE
INCLUDE SUCH AS
REPULSION,
CUL-DE-SAC, AND MORE RECENTLY,
THE TENANT
AND
CHINATOWN.
ON THIS FINAL SEGMENT, THE
MAN WHO PHOTOGRAPHED
ROSEMARY'S BABY
TELLS ABOUT
THAT FILM AND ROMAN POLANSKI.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,
MEET WILLIAM FRAKER.

William Fraker and Elwy appear sitting opposite each other. There is a fireplace in the background. Elwy has a white shirt. William is in his fifties and has a prominent white full beard, and a receding hairline. He is wearing a brown jacket, a blue shirt and blue trousers. William is full of expression, and tries to explain with his hands most of what he says.

William says NUMBER ONE, WITH ROMAN,
I HIGHLY RESPECT HIM,
DEARLY LOVE HIM, AND A VERY,
VERY GOOD CLOSE FRIEND OF HIS
FOR LIFE.
I ADORE HIM.
MORE THAN THAT, MORE
IMPORTANT, I THINK, IS
I REALLY RESPECT HIS WORK.

A caption appears on screen. “It reads William Fraker, Cinematographer, Rosemary’s Baby.”

William continues HE IS CONSUMMATE FILMMAKER.
COMPLETELY DEVOTED,
UNDERSTANDS EVERY PART
OF OUR MEDIUM AND
IS DEDICATED.
ROSEMARY'S BABY
WAS A TREMENDOUS,
TREMENDOUS EXPERIENCE.
AND MAINLY FROM THE STANDPOINT
OF TAKING AN AUDIENCE,
GRABBING HOLD OF
THEM AND MOVING THEM.
HE MOVES PEOPLE.
HE MOVES A WHOLE AUDIENCE.
AND WHEN I SAY A
WHOLE AUDIENCE,
I LITERALLY MEAN A
WHOLE
AUDIENCE.
EXAMPLE.
IN
ROSEMARY'S BABY, YOU WILL
SEE THAT MIA FARROW AND
JOHN CASSAVETES HAVE JUST
FINISHED THEIR APARTMENT
IN THE DAKOTAS, BY THE
WAY, WHICH IS VERY FUNNY,
TALKING TO PETER
YATES YESTERDAY.
PETER AND HIS WIFE VIRGINIA
JUST BOUGHT AN APARTMENT AT
THE DAKOTAS.

William laughs.

Elwy says OH, NO.
THE MAN WHO MADE
BULLITT
.

William says ISN'T THAT MARVELLOUS?

Elwy says THAT'S A REAL COINCIDENCE.

William says NOW WE RECREATED THE DAKOTA
APARTMENT AT STUDIO PARAMOUNT
IN HOLLYWOOD.
AND RECREATED IN ACTUALITY.
THE CEILINGS WERE
20 FOOT HIGH.
WHICH CREATED A TREMENDOUS
PROBLEM BECAUSE YOU ACTUALLY
CAN'T LIGHT FROM THAT HIGH
BECAUSE ONCE YOU LIGHT FROM
THAT HIGH, THE LIGHT SHINES
ACTUALLY DOWN, AND IT STRIKES
SOMEBODY IN THE FACE, AND
YOU HAVE DEEP POCKETS
IN THE EYES.
YOU DON'T SEE THE EYES.
AND RICHARD BROOKS ALWAYS
SAYS, I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU
DO, BLACK, WHITE, HOW MUCH
LIGHT, I WANT TO SEE THE EYES.

Elwy says IT WAS OKAY FOR
THE GODFATHER.

Williams nods and says YES, EXACTLY.
AND SO IT'S THE FIRST TIME
IN THE HISTORY OF PARAMOUNT
WHERE AN ARCHITECTURAL
DRAWING OF THE SET WAS GIVEN
TO THE ELECTRICAL
DEPARTMENT.
AND WE DEVELOPED WHAT WE CALL
TROMBONES THAT HOOK ON THE
EDGE OF A SET
MADE OUT OF STEEL.
HAD A PIPE RUNNING UP AND
DOWN, AND THEN YOU PLACE A
LIGHT ON IT.
THEN YOU HOOK IT ON
THE EDGE OF A SET.
THEN YOU COULD MOVE YOUR LIGHT
UP AND DOWN ANY HEIGHT YOU
WANT TO PUT IT WHERE
YOU WANT TO PUT IT.
WE MADE 250 TROMBONES
FOR THAT PICTURE.
FOR THAT SET, TO RIG THAT SET.
WHICH ALSO MEANT THAT
SINCE THE SET WAS BUILT --
RICHARD SYLBERT BY THE WAY,
DICK SYLBERT, A MAGNIFICENT
PRODUCTION DESIGNER BUILT
THE SET SO THE WALLS WERE
INTERLOCKED WITH
SOME SPECIAL GADGET.
THERE WERE NO
NAILS ON THE SET.
SO THEREFORE, IF YOU WANTED TO
TAKE THE WALLS OUT, YOU HAD
TO START AT THE END OF THE
HALL AND PULL THE WALLS OUT
PIECE BY PIECE UNTIL
YOU GOT TO THIS PART
WHERE YOU WANTED TO WORK.
THEN WHEN YOU PUT
IT BACK TOGETHER,
YOU'D CLICK 'EM BACK IN.
YOU'D ACTUALLY
FORCE 'EM BACK IN.

Elwy says WHY?

Williams says WELL, BECAUSE THE SET
WAS BUILT IN ACTUALITY.
AND THEREFORE, WE KNEW WE'D
BE PULLING THESE SETS APART
AND BACK TOGETHER
AGAIN ALL THE TIME.
AND BY NAILING AND NAILING,
THEY'D HAVE TO KEEP
REBUILDING THE SETS.
SO THEY FIGURED,
WE'LL DO IT THIS WAY.
AND IT WORKED MAGNIFICENTLY.

William sighs and continues ALSO, ALL THE RIGGING
WAS DONE UP HIGH.
THERE WAS NO CABLE
ON THE FLOOR.

Elwy says REASON FOR THAT?

William says REASON SO WE COULD MOVE
THROUGH THE APARTMENTS.

Elwy says TO GET THAT FLUIDITY OF
MOTION THAT IS IN THE PICTURE.
AGAIN, IT ALL CONTRIBUTES
TO A LOOK, DOESN'T IT?

William says IT DOES.

Elwy says AN ATMOSPHERE, MOOD.

William says AND NOW THAT PICTURE WAS ALSO
SHOT WITH ONLY TWO LENSES.
AN 18-MILLIMETRE LENS
AND A 25-MILLIMETRE LENS.
EVEN THE PROCESS
WAS SHOT WITH 25.
AND AN 18-MILLIMETRE LENS.

Elwy says WAS THAT TO GIVE A
CONFINING FEELING?

William says NO.
IT'S THAT LOOK OF NARROW
HALLWAYS OF OPENING UP, SO
THAT WHEN YOU MOVED DOWN
THE HALLWAYS YOU COULD FEEL
PERIPHERALLY THAT
THE WALLS GO BY.
SO YOU HAD A PRESENCE.
AND THE PRESENCE WORKS LATER
ON BECAUSE YOU KNOW THAT
SOMETHING IS HAPPENING IN THE
HOUSE, BUT YOU DON'T QUITE
UNDERSTAND WHAT IT IS.
AND THAT'S ROMAN AGAIN
PLACING THAT WEIGHT.
HE'S LIKE RICHARD BROOKS,
THEY PLACE A WEIGHT ON THE
AUDIENCE'S SHOULDERS SO WHEN
THE PICTURE ENDS, YOU SAY,
OH, MY GOD, THAT'S MARVELLOUS.

William waves his arms excitedly.

Elwy says I KNOW.

William says YOU WANT THAT FREEDOM.
BUT THAT'S DIRECTING.

Elwy says AND IT MATCHES THE OCCULT.
THAT WHOLE MOOD OF THE OCCULT,
AGAIN FROM THE CONTENT.

William says PERFECT EXAMPLE.
ROMAN POLANSKI,
ROSEMARY'S BABY.
MIA AND JOHN HAVE JUST
FINISHED THEIR APARTMENT.
THEIR NEIGHBOUR, CASSAVETES,
RUTH GORDON, WHO WON AN OSCAR,
BY THE WAY, FOR HER
PERFORMANCE IN
ROSEMARY'S BABY,
KNOCKS ON THE DOOR.
MIA GOES TO THE DOOR.
SHE OPENS THE DOOR, AND RUTH
FORCES HER WAY IN, AND SAYS,
'MY, MY, THIS IS LOVELY.
YOU KIDS HAVE DONE MARVELLOUS
WITH THIS APARTMENT'.
SHE'S ACTING ALL THE WAY.
ALL THE TIME PUSHING
MIA DOWN THE HALLWAY,
WHICH THE APARTMENT IS
BUILT ON A CENTRAL HALLWAY.
AND ALL THE TIME WE ARE
TRACKING BACK, TRACKING BACK.
BY THE WAY, THE CAMERA
OPERATOR WAS DAVID WALSH,
WHO DID
SILVER STREAK
AND A
LOT OF HERB ROSS' PICTURES
AND ARTHUR HILLER'S PICTURE.

Elwy says MAYBE ON
THE TURNING POINT,
TOO, IF MEMORY SERVES ME,
BUT I'M NOT SURE IF HE
DID
THE TURNING POINT.

William says NO, NO, IT WAS BOB SURTEES
THAT DID
THE TURNING POINT.
NOW, FORCE US BACK, BACK ALL
THE WAY, UNTIL SHE COMES INTO
THE FRONT ROOM.
RUTH GORDON LOOKS AROUND,
AND SAYS, YOU KIDS HAVE DONE
MARVELLOUS WITH
THIS FRONT ROOM.
DO YOU HAVE A TELEPHONE HERE?
IN THIS KIND OF A SHOT.

William makes a frame with his arms, comprising from just above his head to his chest.

William continues DO YOU HAVE A TELEPHONE HERE?
AND MIA SAYS, YES.
IN THE BEDROOM.
NOW, DOOR JAM, HALLWAY, DOOR
JAM, THE BEDROOM THERE.
NOW, YOU STAY ON MIA, RUTH
GORDON WALKS OUT OF THE SHOT,
YOU STAY ON MIA.
MIA IS LOOKING AT RUTH
GORDON GOING TO THE BEDROOM.
ROMAN SAYS, OKAY, CUT.
SAYS, BILLY, GIVE ME A MIA'S
P OF V OF RUTH ON THE BED
ON THE TELEPHONE.
I SAID, OKAY, 20 MINUTES.
HE SAID, OKAY, TERRIFIC.
I SAID, OKAY,
ROMAN, WE'RE READY.
AND ROMAN LOOKS, HE SAYS,
NO, NO, BILLY, IT'S WRONG.
I SAID WHAT DO YOU
MEAN IT'S WRONG?
ROMAN LOOKS AT
THE CAMERA NOW.
HE SAYS, MOVE THE CAMERA, MOVE
THE CAMERA, MOVE THE CAMERA,
MOVE THE CAMERA, AND HE
MOVES THE CAMERA OVER.
AND HE SAID,
LOOK NOW, BILLY.
AND I LOOK THROUGH.
AND HE SAYS, SEE
THAT'S WHAT I WANT.
AND I SAID, BUT
YOU CAN'T SEE RUTH.
HE SAYS, THAT'S RIGHT.
I SAYS, OH, OKAY.
SO WE FIXED A COUPLE OF
THINGS, WE SHOOT IT.
WE GO ON.
I LOOK IN THE
DAILIES THE NEXT DAY,
AND I CAN'T SEE RUTH.
ROMAN SAYS, TERRIFIC
BILLY, THAT'S TERRIFIC.
I SAID, OKAY, TERRIFIC.
NOW, LONG DISSOLVE, RIGHT,
LONG, LONG DISSOLVE.
THE PICTURE COMES OUT,
PREVIEW, I'M SITTING IN
THE THEATRE.
THE SCENE COMES IN, RUTH
KNOCKS ON THE DOOR.
SHE COMES DOWN THE HALLWAY,
WE'RE PULLING BACK.
YOU GOT A PHONE?
YES, OVER THERE.
YOU LOOK AT MIA
LOOKING AT RUTH.
CUT TO THE P OF V.
AND YOU CAN ONLY SEE, YOU
CAN'T SEE RUTH'S FACE,
YOU CAN JUST SEE HER BACK,
AND HER FANNY ON THE BED.

Elwy says YEAH.

William says AND SHE'S TALKING.
YOU CAN'T SEE HER.
CAN'T SEE THE TELEPHONE, CAN'T
SEE HER FACE, CAN'T SEE HER
KNEES OR ANYTHING.
SHE'S HIDDEN BY THE DOOR JAM.
AND YOU GO TO MIA, YOU CUT TO
THE P OF V, AND 1500 PEOPLE
IN THE THEATRE ALL LEAN TO
LOOK AROUND THE DOOR JAM.

Elwy says OH, MY GOSH.
OH, ISN'T THAT... THE
AUDIENCE INVOLVEMENT.

William says THE WHOLE AUDIENCE LEANS
TO SEE AROUND THE DOOR JAM.
AND ROMAN SAYS TO ME SITTING
THERE, HE SAYS, SEE, BILLY, SEE?

Elwy says OH, SAY!

William says THAT'S MARVELLOUS.

Elwy says OH, THAT'S GREAT.
I DID, TOO.
I REMEMBER THAT NOW.
I'D FORGOTTEN ABOUT THAT.

William says SEE, THAT'S THE
WAY ROMAN DIRECTS.

Elwy says A GREAT DIRECTOR.

William says HE'S PHENOMENAL.
AND HE TAKES THAT AUDIENCE
AND MOVES THEM JUST ACTUALLY
MOVES THEM AND LEADS
THEM BY THE NOSE.
HE REALLY, REALLY
KNOWS WHAT HE'S ABOUT.

Watch: The Making of a Motion Picture 2