Starring Alfred Hitchcock: A viewer’s guide to Hitch’s Cameos
Alfred Hitchcock’s witty cameos in his own films were a hit with his audiences and became one of his trademarks. He began the practice by accident, however: Short an actor in one of his first films, Hitchcock took it upon himself to play the small part. Here’s what “The Master of Suspense” himself had to say in a 1966 London interview:
“I always give a little thought to my appearances and come on as early as possible– don’t want to hold them in suspense for the wrong reason! I’ve been in all my films on and off. Missed a few. Only cancelled one. It got into the press ahead of time… I was going to walk along with a girl and talk to her– in deaf-and-dumb language. My hands would be working very fast. And she turns around and slaps my face.”
Here’s a guide to the Master’s on-screen appearances.
The Lodger (1926) : At a desk in a newsroom and later in the crowd watching an arrest.
Easy Virtue (1927) : Walking past a tennis court, carrying a walking stick.
Blackmail (1929) : Bothered by a small boy as he reads a book in the subway.
Murder (1930) : Walking past the house where the murder was commited, about an hour into the movie.
The 39 Steps (1935) : Tossing some litter while Robert Donat and Lucie Mannheim run from the theater.
Young and Innocent (1938) : Outside the courthouse, holding a camera.
The Lady Vanishes (1938) : In Victoria station, wearing a black coat and smoking a cigarette.
Rebecca (1940) : Walking near the phone booth just after George Sanders makes a call.
Foreign Correspondent (1940) : After Joel McCrea leaves his hotel, reading a newspaper.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith (1941) : Passing Robert Montgomery in front of his building.
Suspicion (1941) : Mailing a letter at the village postbox.
Saboteur (1942) : Standing in front of Cut Rate Drugs in New York as the saboteur’s car stops.
Shadow of a Doubt (1943) : On the train to Santa Rosa, playing cards.
Lifeboat (1944) : A difficult one to pull off since the entire film takes place on a lifeboat! Hitchcock appears in the “before” and “after” pictures in a newspaper ad for Reduco Obesity Slayer.
Spellbound (1945) : Coming out an elevator at the Empire Hotel, carrying a violin case.
Notorious (1946) : At a big party in Claude Rains’s mansion, drinking champaigne.
The Paradine Case (1947) : Leaving the train at Cumberland Station, carrying a cello.
Rope (1948) : His trademark can be seen briefly on a neon sign in the view of the apartment window.
Under Capricorn (1949) : Within the first five minutes, wearing a blue coat and a brown hat during a parade in the town square. Ten minutes later, he is one of three men on the steps outside the Government House.
Stage Fright (1950) : Turning to look at Jane Wyman in her disguise as Marlene Dietrich’s maid.
Strangers on a Train (1951) : Boarding a train with a double bass fiddle.
I Confess (1953) : Crossing the top of a staircase after the opening credits.
Dial M for Murder (1954) : In a class-reunion photo in Grace Kelly’s apartment.
Rear Window (1954) : Winding the clock in the songwriter’s appartment.
To Catch a Thief (1955) : Sitting to the left of Cary Grant on a bus.
The Trouble with Harry (1955) : Walking past a parked limousine.
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) : Watching acrobats in the Morrocan marketplace (his back to the camera).
The Wrong Man (1956) : Narrating the film’s prologue.
Vertigo (1958) : In a gray suit walking the street.
North by Northwest (1959) : Missing a bus during the opening credits.
Psycho (1960) : Through Janet Leigh’s window as she returns to her office. He is wearing a cowboy hat.
The Birds (1963) : Leaving a pet shop with two white terriers (his own pets) as Tippi Hedren enters.
Marnie (1964) : Entering from the left of the hotel corridor after Tippi Hedren passes by.
Torn Curtain (1966) : Sitting in Hotel d’Anglettere lobby holding a baby.
Topaz (1969) : Being pushed in a wheelchair in an airport. He gets up from the chair, shakes hands with a man and walks off.
Frenzy (1972) : In the center of a crowd, he is the only one not applauding the speaker.
Family Plot (1976) : In silhouette through the door of the Registrar of Births and Deaths.