A Look at The Master of Suspense’s Top Cameos
In Alfred Hitchcock’s first film, THE LODGER: A STORY OF THE LONDON FOG (1927), he found himself short on extras. So Hitchcock, in desperate need, volunteered himself to fill the position. Little did Hitchcock know this appearance would be the start of his signature cameos.
From 1927 to 1976, Alfred Hitchcock made a totally of 39 cameos in his films. His cameos went on to influence future directors as well, such as Steven Spielberg, David Lynch, M. Night Shyamalan and Martin Scorsese. In honor of Alfred Hitchcock’s birthday (August 13, 1899), DMG Entertainment highlights Hitchcock’s sneakiest film cameos. So get ready to play cinematic history’s greatest game of “Where’s Waldo?”
THE DOGWALKER – THE BIRDS (1963)
Two minutes and eighteen seconds into THE BIRDS (1963), Alfred Hitchcock walks out of a pet shop with two Sealyham Terriers as Tippi Hedren enters. Although it’s rather comical to see Hitchcock walking two small dogs, those terriers are actually Hitchcock’s pets. With the help of his dogs, Geoffrey and Stanley, Hitchcock created an unforgettable cameo.
THE LITTERBUG – THE 39 STEPS (1935)
Six minutes and fifty-nine seconds into the film, Hitchcock tosses a cigarette box while a bus pulls up just in time for Lucie Mannheim and Robert Donat’s escape. Come on Hitchcock, you could have taken a few more steps to clean up the environment.
THE MODERN MIRCALE – TOPAZ (1969)
Thirty-two minutes and twenty-seven seconds into TOPAZ (1969), Hitchcock is seen pushed in a wheelchair inside an airport terminal. Unexpectedly, Hitchcock stands up from the wheelchair, shakes hands with a stranger, and then walks out of frame. Whether Hitchcock did this stunt for a few laughs or a handicap parking permit, this cameo became an instant classic.
THE CLOCK WINDER – REAR WINDOW (1954)
Twenty-six minutes and twelve seconds into the film, James Stewart peers into an apartment and watches Hitchcock wind a clock in the songwriter’s apartment. What makes this cameo so special? Hitchcock looks directly at the audience, questionably breaking the sacred fourth wall.
THE COWBOY – PSYCHO (1960)
Seven minutes into the film, the Master of Suspense stands outside Marion Crane’s office in a master disguise: a cowboy hat. Why is this a classic cameo? Well… It’s Hitchcock in a cowboy hat. Merely the thought of Hitchcock as a cowboy tickles us. No one doubt’s Hitchcock talent in front or behind the camera, but we do doubt his cattle herding abilities.
THE LATE PASSENGER – NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959)
Two minutes and nine seconds into NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959), Hitchcock misses a bus during the opening credits. What makes this cameo special? Hitchcock misses the bus just as his personal credit leaves the frame as if he chases his own credit from the screen. Hitchcock’s work was always ahead of his time, but he’ll always arrive too late for that bus.
THE MAN NEXT TO YOU – TO CATCH A THIEF (1955)
Nine minutes and forty seconds into the film, Cary Grant finds himself sitting next to the famed director on a bus. Cary Grant, sitting to the right of Hitchcock, looks directly at him as if Grant’s acknowledging Hitchcock’s long-running joke. This cameo even includes a musical cue for Hitchcock! Clearly, Hitchcock enjoys these cameos as much as we do!
THE BULLIED – BLACKMAIL (1929)
Ten minutes and twenty-five seconds into the film, Hitchcock reads a book on a London Underground subway car. What makes this cameo so special? Hitchcock finds harassed by an unruly young child. Despite Hitchcock’s best efforts to stop the boy, the little kid continues to bother him for roughly 19 seconds. Is it a coincidence the title of his following film was, “Murder!”? You be the judge.
Now it’s time for Hitchcock’s most notorious and sneakiest cameo. In LIFEBOAT (1944), an American ship is attacked by a German U-Boat. A group of survivors escape on a lifeboat, but their safety is jeopardized when they rescue a survivor from the same U-Boat. The film is entirely focused on the nine survivors in the lifeboat, located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. So how could Hitchcock make his signature cameo? Twenty-five minutes into the film, Hitchcock appears in the “before” and “after” image in a newspaper ad for “Reduco Obesity Slayer”. What makes this cameo even better? Hitchcock reprises his role as the fictional weight loss product’s spokesperson in the ROPE (1948). Well done Hitch, well done.
Happy 117 Birthday Alfred Hitchcock!
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