Jump to: navigation, search

Hollywood Magazine (1940) - Hollywood Newsreel (July)




Laurence Olivier, before setting out with Vivien Leigh to tour Romeo and Juliet, concocted a gag to play on his old friend and director, Alfred Hitchcock.

Knowing that the 239-pound Hitchcock was a lover of fine bottled goods for use at gala dinners, Olivier got hold of a prop Napoleon brandy bottle and had the studio laboratory fill it up with a solution of photo developing chemicals. The result of the chemists' endeavors was an evil-smelling and foul tasting concoction unfit to slide down a drain, let alone the throat of a connoisseur.

Some time later Olivier inquired by letter whether Hitchcock had enjoyed the gift. The director, no novice ribber himself wrote back:

"I sent your very kind gift to a desperately sick friend of mine. After drinking some of the brandy he took a sudden turn for the worse."

Olivier was so remorse-stricken that he had to be reassured by wire that Hitchcock had recognized at a distance of thirty paces that the contents of the bottle was not brandy.