Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Thriller Knight; on the Anniversary of Movie Director Sir Alfred Hitchcock's Death, Marion McMullen Looks Back at the Life and Work of One of Cinema's All-Time Greats

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Thriller Knight; on the Anniversary of Movie Director Sir Alfred Hitchcock's Death, Marion McMullen Looks Back at the Life and Work of One of Cinema's All-Time Greats

Article excerpt

Byline: Marion McMullen

SPOTTING Alfred Hitchcock's cameo appearances in his famous movies is one of the great joys for film buffs.

The master of suspense can be seen leaving a pet shop with his own two dogs in The Birds, sitting on a bus next to Cary Grant in To Catch A Thief and can even be glimpsed through an office window in Psycho wearing a stetson.

He can even be seen missing a bus in one of his biggest hits North By Northwest.

The famous figure, who died today in 1980 at the age of 80, has been spotted in 39 of his movies and once stated: "I have a perfect cure for a sore throat ... cut it."

Hitchcock made a generation of film audiences afraid to take a shower with the release of Psycho (1960).

He deferred his standard $250,000 fee for the film and opted for a share of its net profits instead. It led to him earning more than $15 million.

Hitch later summed up the secret of his film success by saying: "My good luck in life was to be a really frightened person. I'm fortunate to be a coward, to have a low threshold of fear, because a hero couldn't make a good suspense film."

The grocer's son's rise to Hollywood fame began when he directed a film version of crime writer Ethel Lina White's novel The Wheel Spins in 1938.

He retitled it The Lady Vanishes and it became the most successful British movie of the era.

It was Hitchcock who first spotted the book's cinematic potential. He turned it into what is now regarded as a classic and it also helped turn its leading cast members, Margaret Lockwood and Michael Redgrave (in his screen debut), into major stars.

But for Hitch, it had an even bigger impact - giving him a calling card to crack Hollywood. Two years later, after negotiating a lucrative Stateside deal, he released his first Tinseltown project, Rebecca, and never looked back.

He always wore a suit on set and worked with many of Hollywood's leading ladies including Grace Kelly, Ingrid Bergman, Eva Marie Saint, Joan Fontaine, Kim Novak, Janet Leigh and Tippi Hedren.

"When an actor comes to me and wants to discuss his character, I say, 'It's in the script.' If he says, 'but what's my motivation?' I say, 'Your salary.'" Hitch was quoted as once saying.

Hitchcock's real life is now proving inspiration for film-makers. The fractious relationship he had with his screenwriter wife Alma Reville was at the centre of the recent movie Hitchcock. …

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