Hitchcock, Titanic, and the Key

As Hitchcock prepared to make the move to Hollywood, David O Selznick was mooting the idea of making a film of the ill-fated Titanic. Selznick even planned to purchase the SS Leviathan, and Hitchcock proposed an opening credit sequence which would begin with a close-up of a rivet, then a gradual pull back of the camera to reveal the entire ship. Hitchcock also joked about filming the sinking sequence, only to discover that there was no film in the camera!

On 08/Jul/1938, The Times reported…

Mr. Alfred Hitchcock, who is one of the few English film directors whose work is as well known in America as it is in this country, has now undertaken to make a film at Hollywood. He will work in association with Mr David. O. Selznick, and the subject of his first film will be the sinking of the Titanic. The reconstruction of disasters to ships at sea has in the past been vividly done in the film, and the sinking of the Titanic will be photographed as realistically as possible. The first scenes will be photographed early next year.

In the end, the costs of the production would have been to high and several shipping lines threatened Selznick with lawsuits, and Hitchcock and Selznick set their sights on “Rebecca” instead.

We can only speculate what a Hitchcock version of Titanic might have been like, but a recent news item about the key that would have opened the binoculars store for the crows nest would have made for a classic MacGuffin and wonderful opening for the film — maybe Hitchcock could have started with his “rivet”ing (sorry!) close-up with the pull back to the entire ship, followed by a zoom in to the right hand of Second officer David Blair, still clutching the fateful key prior to his disembarking at Southampton? The crew would hunt high and low for the key, but only the audience would know where it really was!

(the zoom in to the key in “Notorious“)

One Response to Hitchcock, Titanic, and the Key

  1. this should deff go in the films page on the wiki. its still the only one with no page… Thanks for finally finding info!


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