Wired: The Auteur Myth
The reason the studios were so important for Hitchcock is that they allowed him to cultivate the right kind of creative team. While the director relied on many longstanding partners, such as his decade-long relationship with the editor George Tomasini and cinematographer Robert Burks, he also routinely brought in new talent, including John Steinbeck, Raymond Chandler and Salvador Dali.
For instance, on North by Northwest, a classic Cary Grant thriller, Hitchcock insisted on working with Ernest Lehman, a screenwriter best known for Sabrina. It was, at first glance, a peculiar choice: Sabrina was a romantic comedy, and Hitchcock had been hired to create a dark suspense movie. But Hitchcock knew what he was doing. In fact, he gave Lehman a tremendous amount of creative freedom. (Hitchcock's only requirement was that the plot contain three elements: a case of mistaken identity, the United Nations building and a chase scene across the face of Mt. Rushmore.) Although it took Lehman more than a year to write the script, the wait was worth it. "I wanted to write the Hitchcock picture to end all Hitchcock pictures," Lehman said.
And that's exactly what he did.
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