The SS Normandie was an ocean liner built in Saint-Nazaire, France, for the French Line Compagnie Générale Transatlantique. She entered service in 1935 as the largest and fastest passenger ship afloat; she is still the most powerful steam turbo-electric-propelled passenger ship ever built.
During service as the flagship of the CGT, she made 139 westbound transatlantic crossings from her home port of Le Havre to New York. Normandie held the Blue Riband for the fastest transatlantic crossing at several points during her service career, during which the RMS Queen Mary was her main rival.
During World War II, Normandie was seized by US authorities at New York and renamed USS Lafayette. In February 1942, the liner caught fire while being converted to a troopship, capsized onto her port side and came to rest on the mud of the Hudson River at Pier 88, the site of the current New York Passenger Ship Terminal. Although salvaged at great expense, restoration was deemed too costly and she was scrapped in October 1946.
The liner had several links to Alfred Hitchcock:
- The Hitchcocks travelled back from New York to England, via Le Harve, in 1938. They arrived in Le Harve on July 18th.
- After the Normandie capsized in New York, Hitchcock dispatched a newsreel team to shoot footage of the liner from a moving car for inclusion in Saboteur (1942).