Alfred Hitchcock: Ten Things to Know About the Master of Suspense

Here are 10 trivia facts about Alfred Hitchcock. There are hundreds of pieces of behind-the-scenes information about the master director. Please feel free to comment and add more trivia we might have missed.

Alfred Hitchcock" Blackmail 1929 1. The 1929 thriller Blackmail is often considered to be the first British talking feature, thanks to British International Pictures’ decision to shoot the film’s final sequences with sound. Their plans, however, didn’t sit well with director Hitchcock, who opted instead to re-do the entire picture as a “talkie” (save for the opening six and a half minutes). Ironically, the silent version of Blackmail was a bigger box office success, because very few UK theaters were capable of showing sound movies.





Alfred Hitchcock Movie Poll 2. In the MovieFanFare Movie Poll “Who’s your Favorite Horror Master,” Alfred Hitchcock won with 66% of the votes, beating out such fright icons as John Carpenter, Wes Craven and George Romero. Hitchcock’s reputation in the horror genre, of course, comes mostly from just three of his 50-plus movies, Psycho, (1960), The Birds” (1963) and Frenzy. He thought of himself more as a suspense filmmaker.





The 39 Steps: Ten Things To Know About The Master of Suspense 3. The 39 Steps (1935), is one of the first of Hitchcock films to introduce the concept of the “MacGuffin”, a plot device around which a whole story seems to revolve, but ultimately has nothing to do with the true meaning or ending of the story. What was the MacGuffin in The 39 Steps?





4. The 1944 WWII thriller Lifeboat,” based on a story by John Steinbeck, had a minor problem with Hitchcock’s traditional cameo appearance because of the film’s title locale. The issue was solved by having two images of the director–who had recently lost some of his trademark girth–appear in a before-and-after advertisement for “Reduco Obesity Slayer” in the newspaper that William Bendix is reading in the boat.





10 Facts about Alfred Hitchcock: Topaz 1969 5. In the 1969 espionage thriller Topaz, Hitchcock experimented with using the on-screen colors, red, yellow and white to reveal and influence the plot. He later admitted that this did not work out as planned.





Alfred Hitchcock Movie Poll 6. Alfred Hitchcock made three films with Philadelphia-born Grace Kelly: Dial M for Murder (1954), Rear Window (1954), and To Catch a Thief (1955). When asked about their favorite Grace Kelly performance, MovieFanFare readers voted Grace’s turn as socialite Lisa Fremont in Rear Window as their top pick.





Alfred Hitchcock Hitchcock Cameo To Catch A Thief 7. Hitchcock’s habit of making a cameo appearance in each of his films began in his silent days in England and continued through nearly 40 pictures, including all of his Hollywood efforts. As he became more famous, the director found he had to turn up earlier and earlier in the movie, so that audiences could stop looking for him and concentrate on the plot. Some of Hitch’s more notable pop-ups include as a silhouette on a neon sign (1948’s Rope), and on a bus next to a fugitive Cary Grant (To Catch a Thief).





Alfred Hitchcock: 10 Facts 8. Prior to the release of Psycho, Hitchcock clashed with censors over whether one of star Janet Leigh’s breasts was visible during the infamous shower scene. The canny Hitch simply waited for a few days, submitted the same, unchanged print a second time, and found that the censors who were certain they had seen the offending breast now had changed their mind, and vice versa. The film was ultimately okayed for exhibition, although the director did acquiesce and took out a shot of Leigh’s stand-in’s posterior.





10 Facts About Hitchcock: Alfred Hitchcock Presents 9. Along with Walt Disney, Alfred Hitchcock was one of the first film directors to realize the nascent power of television. His anthology series Alfred Hitchcock Presents aired from 1955 to 1965 with over 360 episodes. The self-drawn caricature of Hitchcock has made him the most recognizable film director of all time.





Alfred Hitchcock Facts about the Master of Horror 10. It is rumored that Hitchcock never looked in the viewfinder of a camera, rather, relying solely on heavily detailed storyboards. Although this idea has been argued by Hitchcock At Work, author Bill Krohn, what cannot be argued is the fact that attention to detail is unsurpassed in Hitchcock films.