Films in the Family Plot

Early on during the filming of Family Plot (1976) in May 1975, Hitchcock held a press conference to help promote the film. But, this being the grand old Master of Suspense, it wasn’t a normal press conference! The invited members of the press found themselves in a specially constructed graveyard, each with their own personalised gravestone. If you’ve ever seen this photograph before and wondered what it had to do with Family Plot, now you… (read more)

Can You Take a Joke?

From the Los Angeles Times (02/Dec/1951): CAN YOU TAKE A JOKE? by Alfred HitchcockMOTION-PICTURE DIRECTOR DEAR MR. HITCHCOCK: Is it good manners to indulge in practical joking? ANSWER: There are some, I am well aware, who look upon practical jokes as a particularly low form of humor, and the practical joker as a menace to polite society. I must, in self-defense, come to the rescue of the practical joke, inasmuch as I seem to have… (read more)

The Bride Wore Black

I guess it’s fairly well known that François Truffaut’s 1968 film The Bride Wore Black was part homage to Hitchcock. It also marked the second time that Truffaut hired Bernard Herrmann to score one of his films — the first time being Fahrenheit 451 (1966). In one of those odd little coincidences, I stumbled across an advertisement for the publication of Cornell Woolrich’s novel from the New York Times (13/Feb/1941)… …ironic, huh?

“Alfred Hitchcock” by Peter Ackroyd

I was very fortunate to receive a pre-publication copy of Alfred Hitchcock, the new biography by Peter Ackroyd, which is released in the UK tomorrow. As noted on Wikipedia, Ackroyd is a noted “biographer, novelist, and critic with a particular interest in the history and culture of London”. As discussed in a previous blog post, there are no shortage of books about Alfred Hitchcock and Ackroyd is the latest to provide a biographical overview of… (read more)

“Hitchcock Lost and Found” and more…

Without a shadow of a doubt, Hitchcock is one of the most studied and written about directors of all time. At the time of writing, the Wiki lists 2,372 academic journal articles and over 200 books. From pop-up books through to an entire book about just one short film scene, and from London filming locations through to studies of architecture and set design in his films, it seems as though every aspect of Hitchcock’s life… (read more)

The Strange Case of Eliot Stannard

70 years after his death, Eliot Stannard remains an enigma. No-one knows how many films he wrote scenarios or screenplays for — the Internet Movie Database currently lists 168 writing credits, other sources state around 80, whilst an advertisement for Filmophone Limited which appeared in The Times on 19 December 1928 stated Eliot had by then “written over 400 scenarios”. Whatever the true figure, he was one of the most prolific British film writers of… (read more)

The Birds is Coming?

Here’s a little curio which appeared in the San Antonio Light newspaper on 26th April 1945, nearly 20 years before Hitchcock made The Birds (1963). In an article titled “Peace Plans Pour Into Conference”, the newspaper apparently asked Hitchcock what might happen if there was another world war… [Hitchcock] believes that birds will inherit the earth, if there is another war. He told us recently: “Crows, probably. You can see that they’re working that way… (read more)

Movieland’s Spy Master

I can’t recall ever seeing this article reproduced before, so I thought I’d share it with you :) “Movieland’s Spy Master” appeared in the Montana Standard (08/Nov/1942) and looks to have originally been published in Every Week Magazine. The LIFE article it mentions is the well-known “Have You Heard?” photo essay. Movieland’s Spy Master When recent headlines screamed of spies landing on our shores in rubber boats, plenty of heads wagged and voices remarked: “Well,… (read more)

Rest in Peace: 2014

It’s one of the sad facts that the pool of talented people who worked with Hitchcock dwindles each year and I’d just to take a moment to remember those who passed away during 2014: Mary Anderson (1918-2014) — played the role of Alice MacKenzie in Lifeboat (1944) Miliza Milo (1923-2014) — played the role of Saleswoman in Vertigo (1958) Billie Whitelaw (1932-2014) — played the role of Hetty Porter in Frenzy (1972) A number of… (read more)