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1. Rebecca (1940) was the first movie Sir Alfred Hitchcock made in Hollywood, and it is the only film of his that won the Oscar for Best Picture. It received 11 nominations at the Academy Awards and won two; Best Picture and Best Cinematography.
2. Shadow of a Doubt (1943) was critically-acclaimed upon its release, but it was a box office failure. Despite its commercial performance, Hitchcock often proclaimed it his favorite of all his films. He reportedly claimed that he loved the idea of bringing menace to a seemingly idyllic town.
3. The legendary on-again, off-again kiss between Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman in Notorious (1946) was designed to skirt the Hayes Code, which restricted kisses to no more than three seconds each
4. Spellbound (1945) featured the dynamic pairing of Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck, and their on-screen chemistry carried over when the cameras stopped rolling. Both Bergman and Peck were married to others during production, but they had a brief affair during filming. Peck confessed to the secret affair during an interview in 1987, stating, "All I can say is that I had a fiery kinda love for her, and I think that’s where I ought to stop… I was young. She was young. We were involved for weeks in close and intense work."
5. Hitchcock made multiple films with some of Hollywood's biggest stars, including James Stewart (4), Ingrid Bergman (3), Cary Grant (4), and Grace Kelly (3).
6. In Strangers on a Train (1951), the stunt where the man crawled under the carousel was not done with trick photography. Hitchcock claimed that this was the most dangerous stunt ever performed under his direction, and he would never allow it to be done again.
7. In Dial M For Murder (1954), Hitchcock arranged to have Grace Kelly dressed in bright colors at the start of the film, and then he made them get progressively darker as time goes on. He would later allow Kelly to make all costume decisions for herself in their later films due to her keen eye and fashion opinions.
8. Between 1954 and 1960, Hitchcock directed four films that are often ranked as among the greatest of all time: Rear Window (1954), Vertigo (1958), North by Northwest (1959) and Psycho (1960).
9. On the set of Rear Window (1954), everyone was head-over-heels for Grace Kelly. According to Jimmy Stewart, "Everybody just sat around and waited for her to come in the morning, so we could just look at her. She was kind to everybody, so considerate, just great, and so beautiful."
10. The opening title sequence in Vertigo (1958) was designed by Saul Bass, and it was the first movie to use computer graphics.
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11. Cary Grant was initially reluctant to take on the role of Roger Thornhill in To Catch a Thief (1955) since at 55 he was much older than the character. He also found the script baffling and told Hitchcock such, having said, "It's a terrible script. We've already done a third of the picture and I still can't make head nor tail of it!" Hitchcock knew his confusion would only help strengthen his performance as the character.
12. Despite being arguably Hitchcock's most famous work, Psycho (1960) ruffled a few feathers in Hollywood. Walt Disney refused to allow the director to film at Disneyland in the 1960s because he made, "that disgusting movie, Psycho."
13. Alfred Hitchcock revealed that 3,200 birds were trained and used for The Birds (1963), and that the ravens were the cleverest and the seagulls were the most vicious. The latter were fed a mixture of wheat and whiskey in order to get them to stand around so much.
14. Grace Kelly, who by 1963 was Princess of Monaco, was offered the lead role in Marnie (1964). The reaction in Monaco was extremely negative, and despite Kelly's announcement that she would donate her $800,000 salary to Monaco charities, the tune from the press did not change. She ultimately dropped out from the project and the role was given to Tippi Hedren.
15. The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) is Hitchcock's second film using this title, the first being his own 1934 film of the same name. In response to having created two versions of the same film, the director shared, "Let's say the first version is the work of a talented amateur and the second was made by a professional."
16. Cary Grant retired from acting in February 1953, which he attributed to the rise of method actors like Marlon Brando. He felt audience's no longer wanted to see him. However, To Catch a Thief (1955) effectively brought him out of retirement and he continued acting for an additional 11 years.
17. Despite his impressive and impactful film career, Alfred Hitchcock never won an Oscar for Best Director despite his five nominations. He was, however, awarded the Irving Thalberg Memorial Award at the 1967 Academy Awards.
18. Upon receiving the Irving Thalberg Memorial Award, Hitchcock delivered the shortest acceptance speech in Academy Awards history. He simply said, "Thank you."
19. Ingrid Bergman and her husband were often invited to dinner parties at Alfred Hitchcock's home. According to other guests present, she never noticed her host sulking because of his crush on her.
20. Hitchcock wanted to use his now-famous "vertigo zoom" as far back as Rebecca (1940). Due to the lack of technology, he couldn't do it until the technique came to fruition after the director fainted during a party.
21. For her debut performance in The Birds (1963), Tippi Hedren endured a grueling filming schedule. Despite being told the birds in the final scene would be mechanic, they were not. She endured five days of prop men throwing live seagulls, crows, and ravens at her. Of the experience, Hedren once said, "I probably learned in three years what it would have taken me 15 years to learn otherwise."
22. Considered one of the greatest and most influential costume designers in film history, Edith Head was used by Hitchcock on all his Paramount films.
23. The "Hitchcockian" style includes the use of camera movement to mimic a person's gaze, thereby turning viewers into voyeurs and he utilized and framed his shots to maximize fear.
24. The famed director really gained popularity in the United States in 1955 when his television show Alfred Hitchcock Presents first debuted. The show was broadcasted to viewers every week, giving him and ultimately his films much bigger exposure to the public eye.
25. When he won his Lifetime Achievement award in 1979, Hitchcock joked to his friends that he must be about to die soon. He passed away a year later at the age of 80.
Alfred Hitchcock. (n.d). IMDb. Retrieved October 25, 2021 from https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000033/bio?ref_=nm_dyk_trv_sm#trivia
Grace Kelly. (n.d). IMDb. Retrieved October 25, 2021 from https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000038/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0
Rear Window. (1954) - IMDb. (n.d). www.imdb.com. Retrieved October 25, 2021 from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0047396/trivia/?ref_=tt_trv_trv
The Birds. (1963) - IMDb. (n.d.). www.imdb.com. Retrieved October 25, 2021 from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056869/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0
Thrilling Facts about Alfred Hitchcock Movies. (2018, April 3). Factinate. https://www.factinate.com/things/42-thrilling-facts-alfred-hitchcock-movies/
© 2021 Rachel M Johnson