RMS Aquitania was a Cunard Line ocean liner designed by Leonard Peskett and built by John Brown & Company in Clydebank, Scotland. She was launched on 21 April 1913 and sailed on her maiden voyage to New York on 30 May 1914.
Aquitania was the third in Cunard Line's "grand trio" of express liners, preceded by the RMS Mauretania and RMS Lusitania, and was the last surviving four-funnelled ocean liner. Widely considered one of the most attractive ships of her time, Aquitania earned the nickname "Ship Beautiful".
The liner had several links to Alfred Hitchcock:
- American actresses Virginia Valli and Carmelita Geraghty arrived at Cherbourg from America aboard the Aquitania to film The Pleasure Garden (1925) in Europe.
- Author Gary Giblin names the Aquitania as the liner used in Champagne (1928) for the external footage, which was filmed at Southampton. However, contemporary newspaper reports from the time name the liner used as being Cunard's RMS Berengaria. Regardless of which liner was used for the external filming, Champagne does contain a photograph captioned "NEW YEARS EVE AQUITANIA".
- In September 1934, Gaumont-British head Michael Balcon sailed aboard the Aquitania to New York on a US publicity trip with actor Jack Hulbert, actress Nova Pilbeam and her mother, Margery Pilbeam. They sailed back aboard the same ship, arriving back into England on 19th October.
- Approximately 18 minutes into Rebecca (1940), Mrs Edythe Van Hopper (Florence Bates) tells Joan Fontaine to "Get reservations on the Aquitania and we'll take the 12:30 train for Cherbourg".
- Following his work on Bon Voyage and Aventure Malgache for the Ministry of Information, Hitchcock was scheduled to sail back to America aboard the Aquitania, departing from Greenock, Scotland, on 2nd March 1944. However, it seems that at the last minute, the director was flown back to America by the R.A.F. instead.
Some slightly more tangential links to Hitchcock include:
- Marie Belloc Lowndes, author of The Lodger, travelled to New York aboard the Aquitania in April 1936.
- Actor Herbert Marshall arrived into Southampton aboard the Aquitania in October 1936.
Notes & References
- Alfred Hitchcock's London: A Reference Guide to Locations (2009) by Gary Giblin, pages 289-90
- The passenger lists has a handwritten note "R.A.F. allied forces under orders".
- Corbis Images
- British Universities Film & Video Council