Alfred Hitchcock Cameos
Starring Alfred Hitchcock: A viewer's guide to Hitch's Cameos
I've never seen Hitchcock look through a camera-- some directors never stop.
-- James Stewart
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.