Hitchcock Chronology: 1940
Month by Month
- 7th - The Los Angeles Times reports that Hitchcock is amongst those helping organise the Franco-British War Relief Dinner-Dance, which is due to be held at the Ambassador on 17 January.
- Hitchcock is briefly involved with the production of Walter Wanger's film The House Across the Bay
- At Hitchcock's request, Walter Wanger hires British writer Charles Bennett to work on the screenplay for Personal History (later retitled Foreign Correspondent) for a period of 4 weeks at $1,000 per week. Together with Hitchcock and Joan Harrison, Bennett fashions a script that pushes against the US Neutrality Acts which limit pro-war propaganda in Hollywood.
- 20th - Actress Nova Pilbeam plays the title role in a BBC Radio adaptation of J.M. Barrie's play "Mary Rose", produced by Barbara Burnham.
- Rebecca opens across cinemas in the USA.
- Charles Bennett submits his draft script for Foreign Correspondent. Despite remaining on friendly terms, Bennett never works with Hitchcock again.
- 21st - A fund raising tennis tournament is held for the British War Relief, with Hollywood stars matched against professional tennis players. Along with Hitchcock, other attendees include Herbert Marshall, Maureen O'Hara, Nigel Bruce, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Dame May Whitty and Madeleine Carroll.
- 4th - Variety reports that Alma Reville is sailing from Genoa to New York aboard the Manhattan.
- 13th - Alma Reville passes through United States Immigration in New York.
- 15th - Variety reports that Alma Reville has arrived back into Los Angeles.
- 13th - Hitchcock attends the première of the Bette Davis film All This and Heaven Too at the Carthay Circle Theater in Los Angeles.
- Filming is completed on Foreign Correspondent, with the film's final scene being the last to be shot.
- 3rd - Variety reports that Hitchcock is travelling from Los Angeles to New York.
- 22nd - An adaptation of The Lodger is broadcast on US radio, apparently featuring Hitchcock (his voice was actually provided by actor Joseph Kearns), with actors Herbert Marshall and Edmund Gwenn starring as the lodger and landlord respectively. Although well received, David O. Selznick rules out Hitchcock having any further involvement with a proposed radio series. Revived in 1942, Suspense ran for 20 years and included a radio adaptation of The 39 Steps in 1952.
- Hitchcock purchases the 200 acre "Heart o' the Mountains" estate in Scotts Valley, California and this becomes the family's second home and weekend retreat.
- Hitchcock commences filming on Mr and Mrs Smith for RKO, starring Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery.
- 27th - Foreign Correspondent is given a preview screening at the Four Star Theater in Los Angeles with a limited number of seats available to the public.
- British producer Michael Balcon is quoted in British and American newspapers denouncing the "famous directors" of Britain who have elected to hide out the war in Hollywood. Although not mentioning him by name, his reference to a certain "plump young junior technician" is deeply hurtful to Hitchcock.
- 4th - Variety reports that Hitchcock is travelling from New York to Los Angeles.
- 9th - In preparation for leaving England, Alma Reville's mother Lucy and sister Eveline are issued with American visas — numbers SEC.5.1612 and SEC.5.1613 respectively.
- 23rd - Alma Reville's mother Lucy and sister Eveline leave England for the safety of America. They depart from Liverpool aboard the Samaria.
- 25th - Foreign Correspondent receives its Hollywood première at the Four Star Theater.
- 3rd - Alma Reville's mother Lucy and sister Eveline arrive into New York aboard the Samaria and pass through Immigration.
- 28th - The Hitchcocks and Joan Harrison attend a Halloween party at the opening night of the Palladium ballroom on Sunset Boulevard.
- Alma and Joan Harrison complete an initial treatment of Francis Iles' 1932 book Before the Fact. Screenwriter Samson Raphaelson then spends the next 5 weeks fashioning the full script for what would become Suspicion. Raphaelson would later recall it as being "the easiest and most pleasant" experience he had working in the film industry.
- 12th - Loew's Grand Theatre, Atlanta, hosts the "anniversary premiere" screening of Selznick's Gone With the Wind. A plane carrying Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier and Hitchcock to Atlanta is unable to land due to fog and diverts to Augusta (150 miles away). Leigh, Olivier and Hitchcock miss the screening and fly back to Los Angeles the following day.
- 18th - Variety names Hitchcock as the second highest grossing director of 1940, behind Victor Fleming (Gone With the Wind).
Notes & References
- Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light (2003) by Patrick McGilligan, page 255
- Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light (2003) by Patrick McGilligan, page 255-6
- Wikpedia: Neutrality Acts of 1930s
- Project Genome: BBC Radio Times Archive.
- Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light (2003) by Patrick McGilligan, page 253
- Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light (2003) by Patrick McGilligan, page 256
- "Tennis Matches to Aid British War Relief Fund" in Los Angeles Times (21/Apr/1940)
- Variety (04/May/1940) - Sailings. The details are confirmed on the passenger manifest for the Manhattan, where Alma's name is listed was typed as "ALENA HITCHCOCK", with a handwritten correction to "Alma L. Hitchcock". Oddly, Alma's mother is named as "NELLIE BELMONT, ENGLAND".
- Variety (15/May/1940) - Arrivals.
- "Bette Davis Acclaimed by Throng" in Los Angeles Times (14/Jun/1940)
- Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light (2003) by Patrick McGilligan, page 272
- Variety (03/Jul/1940) - L.A. to N.Y.
- Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light (2003) by Patrick McGilligan, pages 275-6
- "Alfred Hitchcock found contentment in SV" by Marion Dale Pokriots (Scotts Valley Historical Society)
- Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light (2003) by Patrick McGilligan, page 276
- "Preview Set at Four Star" in Los Angeles Times (27/Aug/1940)
- Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light (2003) by Patrick McGilligan, pages 272-4
- Variety (04/Sep/1940) - N.Y. to L.A.
- "New Four Star Premiere Gets Gala Trimmings" in Los Angeles Times (24/Sep/1940)
- "Palladium Will Open to Halloween Throngs" in Los Angeles Times (27/Oct/1940)
- Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light (2003) by Patrick McGilligan, pages 277-8
- As reported in several U.S. local newspapers, e.g. Ogden Standard Examiner (13/Dec/1940) and TIME (23/Dec/1940).
- "Top 1940 Stars and Pix" in Variety (18/Dec/1940)