Despite the potential nail-biting and nerve discomfort that can stem from watching an Alfred Hitchcock movie, there are actually many fun instances there. Now, I’ll admit the nature of some of my chuckles come from such audacious moments filled by the quaint sarcasm of Ray Milland’s deliciously wicked Tony Wendice in Dial “M” for Murder (1954) and James Mason’s biting wit as Philip Van Damm in North by Northwest (1959). Robert Walker’s frightful and frustrated Bruno Antony’s scenes with his mother in Strangers On A Train (1951) still leave my mouth agape at every viewing. Then there are the lovable tongue-in-cheek comedic moments from Cary Grant in all of his collaborations with Hitch that bring on my smiles and blushes. Hell, I’ve taken along for the ride with Joan Fontaine by Grant’s Johnny Aysgarth in Suspicion (1941), too each time… haven’t you?
Anyway… however, in this case, the fun moments I mean here involve Hitch’s cameos in his own works. I’ve always loved trying to spot him in his films. From scenes where he missed the bus in North by Northwest to his spot as a champagne guzzler in Notorious (1946), he was also a star!
As a child, the first time I’d heard of Alfred Hitchcock was when my mom went to see Family Plot (1976) and I remember all of the publicity that surrounded the fact that it was his last film. It was a few years later, just shortly after he died, when I saw Psycho (1960), and at that age as it does now, it scared the hell out of me. Yep – my first Hitch film was Psycho. I remember reading shortly after seeing it that Janet Leigh didn’t like taking showers anymore… such a thought would cross my teenaged mind every time I stepped into the dang tub!
In my beloved “The Films of Alfred Hitchcock” film class a few years later in college, I learned more about the dynamics of film and filmmaking. My appreciation for cinema deepened from that class alone. I also learned about his cameos there and I’ve continued to look for them ever since. You have to. It’s fun and it doesn’t even take you away from the movie. My son has also jumped on the bandwagon and pursued the search, too. Needless to say, I know there are many moments that we’ve missed him.
Well, this morning, I happened to stumble upon this delightful YouTube video (thanks Next On TCM tumblr) dedicated to Hitchcock’s cameos spanning decades along his directorial path. I love it! It’s a treat to watch and “The Funeral March of a Marionette” as its expected and appropriate soundtrack is a delight to hear!
I was surprised to see him in Psycho – I can’t believe I’d never caught that one on my own! Watching the full-length movies will be a lot more fun from now on, since I sorta know where to look from this point.
Take a looksee and enjoy, too!