Culled from six days of interviews that the French director François Truffaut conducted with his idol Alfred Hitchcock, the book “Hitchcock” immediately stood out from other books about movies when it was published in an English translation in 1967.

“There is not another instance of one practicing director paying homage to another in the entire history of books on cinema,” the critic Andrew Sarris, one of America’s earliest Hitchcock champions, wrote in a review in The Chicago Tribune in January 1968.

In The New York Times, Eliot Fremont-Smith called it “one of the most revealing and engrossing books on film art, technique and history ever put together.” And the critic Charles Champlin of The Los Angeles Times offered a suggestion: “It’s one book that would absolutely make a heck of a movie.”

Now it has. The documentary “Hitchcock/Truffaut,” which opens Wednesday, Dec. 2, and takes its name from the informal title of Truffaut’s book, is both a companion piece to the text and an extension of it. Directed by Kent Jones, the movie draws heavily on Hitchcock clips, the original interview audiotapes, stills taken of the encounter by the photographer Philippe Halsman and interviews with current filmmakers.

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Kent Jones, the director of “Hitchcock/Truffaut.” Credit GODLIS

When Truffaut and Hitchcock sat down for their dayslong conversation in August 1962 at Universal Studios, along with a translator, Helen G. Scott, discussions about film were changing. In the French magazine Cahiers du Cinema in the 1950s, Truffaut had been one of the original proponents of the auteur theory, the notion that the director is the artist of a film. Just months after Truffaut’s Hitchcock interviews, Sarris published a vigorous defense of the theory in the United States, setting off a debate in American film culture that had begun to spill over into the popular discussion by the time the Hitchcock book appeared here.

Truffaut saw Hitchcock as “the most complete filmmaker of all” — a master of all aspects of production, including shooting, cutting and publicity — and not just a maker of successful suspense pictures, as his reputation suggested.

“Truffaut wanted to correct the bias against Hitchcock in the United States,” said Mr. Jones, the director of the New York Film Festival. “But then on the other hand, he was also trying to amend what he thought was the tendency toward abstraction in Cahiers criticism.”

Truffaut was interested in larger issues like how artists managed to work within the studio system, and in specifics like film craft. In both the book and the documentary, the two directors amply discuss technique — how Hitchcock illuminated the glass of milk Cary Grant carries in “Suspicion” (1941) or how the shower scene in “Psycho” (1960) was constructed.

Yet for a book so rich with shoptalk, “Hitchcock/Truffaut” has, for nearly half a century, also retained its reputation as a witty, breezy read, a canonical text for anyone interested in movies. The extensive use of photographic stills was unusual for film books at the time. “My sense is that when you visit somebody that is into film, and you look at their bookshelf, this is one of the books that’s there,” said Sidney Gottlieb, who edited the book “Hitchcock on Hitchcock,” a compilation of the director’s writings and interviews.

Truffaut’s book proved an influence on subsequent generations of filmmakers. The German director Christian Petzold, whose recent “Phoenix” is a homage to Hitchcock’s “Vertigo,” encountered the book at 16 and regards it as a “father/son conversation,” he said by email.

David Fincher, director of “Gone Girl” and “Zodiac,” who appears in Mr. Jones’s documentary, discovered it when he was about 7. “I remember picking it up and looking through it and seeing all of those still images from movies that I had never seen,” he said in a phone interview. “When they were laid across double-fold, and you saw how certain shots worked with other shots, it was kind of revelatory.” It reminded him at the time of a comic book and became “an on-ramp in thinking about cinema as language.”

Martin Scorsese was also struck by the layouts. “You could tell that they were put together by Truffaut and no one else,” Mr. Scorsese, who is in the documentary, said by email. “They represent an attempt to show how a sequence is actually constructed. And they’re enlargements of actual frames of film. They attest to all the time and work that Truffaut put into the book.”

To Whit Stillman, director of “Metropolitan,” the book was so readable in part because of the familiarity of the films but also because of the tome’s graphic design: “the high-water mark of sans serif lettering,” he said by Skype of the cover.

Hitchcock was forthright in discussing the films that he felt fell short. “What he often does is he says, ‘I didn’t get the right actor,’” Mr. Jones said. In one example in the documentary, Hitchcock complains that Montgomery Clift’s insistence on doing only what his character would do nearly prevented him from making a crucial upward glance in “I Confess” (1953).

Holding forth was nothing new to an outsize personality like Hitchcock. “Right from the very beginning, he was open to being interviewed,” Mr. Gottlieb said, citing a profile that ran in March 1926, at the time of “The Lodger,” Hitchcock’s third feature. “I think he invited it not only for the P.R. value — and Hitchcock was a master self-promoter and publicist and things like that — but also because I think he from the very beginning had a kind of dual audience,” the public and the critics.

But “Hitchcock/Truffaut” is also a film about the friendship between the two men. “I don’t know that he would have had that conversation with anyone,” Mr. Fincher said. “I think it took somebody who had artistic understanding, artistic leanings, maybe even artistic pretensions” to suggest that Hitchcock had raised his moviemaking to an elevated place.

Would Mr. Fincher sit down with one of his contemporaries for a similar book? He dismissed the suggestion. “I would be so incoherent,” he said. “It would just be a lot of grunting and mumbling.”