Hitchcock's Definition of Happiness

In addition to creating several of the most nerve-wracking and suspenseful movies ever made, filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock was an infamously vicious prankster and tormentor of ingenues.

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Nevertheless, this has got to be one of the most succinctly and serenely affirming definitions of happiness ever uttered by an artist:


Via Devour

“…you’re looking forward, the road is clear ahead, and now you are going to create something… I think that’s as happy as I would ever want to be.”

Hell yes.


Promo photo for The Birds

9 Responses to “Hitchcock's Definition of Happiness”

  1. Matt Keefer Says:

    I genuinely admire the first and last parts of Hitch’s answer here. I’m apprehensive about all the talk about things like hatred being unproductive or negative emotions being wasted energy (I think today’s “happiness” involves a sort of impotence), but I was delighted to hear him use the phrase “clear horizon” and immediately characterize such a horizon as a creative space.

    This man has the right idea.

  2. Richard Caldwell Says:

    I think it’s preemptive. I’d say happiness is finding that aesthetic sense of relief at a job well done, a sentence finished, a fully remembered smile.
    Happiness really exists only in hindsight.

  3. Meredith Yayanos Says:

    Really? I have experienced, many times, and in present tense, what I could only describe as intense and unmistakable full-bodied/brained happiness. I’ve even managed to sustain it over long periods of time. (It wasn’t what I’d describe as mania or euphoria, either.) And that state almost invariably occurred while I was in the midst of creating something… not after it was finished.

  4. Matt Keefer Says:

    I think we might just need to distinguish between *being* happy and *reflecting* on being happy. Any creator knows the link between creation and happiness. That kind of happiness is effectively a deep involvement and engagement which is often too busy to reflect on its own deep satisfaction. The world of the artist (to paraphrase Merleau-Ponty) is a tightly-woven fabric; one has to unwind it a little to see precisely which fibers make it up and if therein we might find one called happiness.

    Or maybe Mer’s a fae. Shit, I don’t know.

  5. Richard Caldwell Says:

    I think the greatest Art is bringing actual life into the world. The nine months can be messy and embarrassing and challenging and a general gamut of emotion. But the end product puts it all in perspective, and totally overpowers any high points from the process itself. But then, that’s Happiness in relation to Creation.
    I think in all other times, Happiness at its best is usually far more left-field. And still sometimes messy.

  6. Meredith Yayanos Says:

    Relevant to our interests:

    “I’m not essentially a happy person, but I have all kinds of joy. And there is a difference, you know.”

    Orson Welles, just hours before his death, discussing happiness, joy, age, creativity, his great loves and friendship, etc. SO good.

  7. Richard Caldwell Says:

    WOW.

  8. Carol Hollow Says:

    I’m subscribed via RSS. Playing this clip at the same time as the Laurie Spiegel composition posted earlier is creepy and kind of enthralling.

  9. Svetlana Says:

    That Orson Welles interview is just great. Wow. Hitchcock is right on as well.

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