Even if you are not a fan of black and white, vintage movies, and you are not familiar with a mid-twentieth century cinema, you have certainly heard about Alfred Hitchcock. The master in creating a tense, creepy atmosphere, a genius for the thrillers and famous for his characteristic choice of actresses, he led an equally mysterious life just like the art he created. Although, according to the words of some actors, Hitchcock was highly challenging for cooperation and treated actors badly, many remember him as a director with a twisted sense of humor and benevolent nature. Since he is one of my favorites directors, let’s take a look at some interesting facts about him you may not know.
- He fought with many phobias, especially those ones including the police and food served for breakfast usually. He even said: “I’m frightened of eggs, worse than frightened, they revolt me. That white round thing without any holes … have you ever seen anything more revolting than an egg yolk breaking and spilling its yellow liquid? Blood is jolly, red. But egg yolk is yellow, revolting. I’ve never tasted it.”His fear of the police has roots in the incident which happened when he was seven years old. His father thought it was a good lesson to send him to the police station with a message saying that he should be locked in a cell for ten minutes, which is exactly what the policeman did. Many years later Hitchcock said he had never taken driving test license out of fear of being stopped by the police (although many sources say that, in contrast, they often saw him drive his daughter to school).
- Hitchcock was the first director to make the so-called cameo appearance in his own movies. Of the fifty-two movies he made (not counting the silent movie from the 1927, that was lost), he appeared in thirty-seven of them. It was almost at the beginning of the movie because he didn’t want the audience to spend the whole movie looking for him, which is why he was often just one of the people in the crowd. In the movie Lifeboat, which was entirely filmed on the boat, he appears in the news ad for weight loss.
- He did not invent but he was responsible for naming the famous MacGuffin concept that actually maintains the action of the movie, although we don’t have to know exactly what it is until the end of it. For example, in Pulp Fiction, MacGuffin is the mysterious content of a briefcase, and in Indiana Jones, it’s the subject which Harrison Ford is looking for and creates an entire action around him. Hitchcock used this concept for the first time in The 39 Steps from 1935, after which it became widespread in the industry.
- He tried to hide Cary Grant in Lincoln’s nostril. Yes, I am aware that this sounds silly, but Hitchcock did not think that it may be a little bit disrespectful. During the filming of North by Northwest, the main action scene takes place on the famous Rushmore mountain where the director wanted to hide the actor in Lincoln’s nostril, and the enemy would reveal him during the screaming scene, in which he would reveal his position. The authorities responded quickly to this, simply asking him how he would feel the situation was reversed, and that Lincoln and Cary Grant turned their roles.
- Hitchcock, along with Ernest Lehman, worked on the script for The Blind Man, but the project was canceled because Walt Disney did not allow him to shoot at Disneyland. Reason? Disney was a great opponent of Hitchcock’s films, especially the movie Psycho that he absolutely hated.
- He was a great fan of unpleasant jokes, and he mostly liked to play them on members of the acting crew. On one occasion, he persuaded a member of his team to spend the night at a very dark and creepy set, offering him a weekly salary for that night. After he agreed and left, Hitchcock offered him a glass of brandy. Later the poor man found out that Hitchcock put laxative in it, and you can imagine in what condition they found him next morning.Some of his other jokes included a gift for the six-year-old daughter of Melanie Griffith – a doll that looked very much like her mother, only she lay in a miniature casket, apparently dead. The whole point of his pranks was to discover what people really are afraid of and to confront them, sending them a full box of spiders or cockroaches, for example.
- He was so fascinated by the incredible turn and the end of the Psycho that he tried to buy every copy of a book on which the movie was based so that the audience can be surprised after watching the movie. He spent about nine thousand dollars and forced the whole crew to sign a contract not to reveal the script.
- You couldn’t watch some of his most famous movies in the cinema because of Hitchcock. He would immediately after the first showing, bought out the rights to them. This way no cinema could display them without paying a large amount of money. After he died, he left the author rights to his daughter Patricia. After five years, she let them go back to distribution.
- Hitchcock never won an Academy Award for Best Director, despite having five nominations for twenty years of work. The Academy attempted to correct the error in 1968 by giving him the famous Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Prize for lifetime achievement. While receiving the prize, he held one of the shortest speeches in history, saying only five words: “Thank you … very much indeed”.
- Hitchcock was afraid of his own movies. In an interview from 1963, he said he can barely watch some of his movies: “I’m scared of my own movies. I never look at them. I do not know how can people watch them. “After the journalist characterized his fear as completely illogical, Hitchcock replied: “But what is logical? There is nothing more stupid than logic.”
By Miss Psycho Cat