List of Alfred Hitchcock cameo appearances
English film director Alfred Hitchcock made cameo appearances in 39 of his 52 surviving major films (his second film, The Mountain Eagle, is lost). For the films in which he appeared, he would be seen for a brief moment in a non-speaking part as an extra, such as boarding a bus, crossing in front of a building, standing in an apartment across the courtyard, or even appearing in a newspaper photograph (as seen in the film Lifeboat, which otherwise provided no other opportunity for him to appear).
This playful gesture became one of Hitchcock's signatures; and fans would make a sport of trying to spot his cameos. As a recurring theme, he would carry a musical instrument — especially memorable was the double bass case that he wrestles onto the train at the beginning of Strangers on a Train. In his earliest appearances, he filled in as an obscure extra in crowds or walking through scenes in long camera shots. His later appearances became more prominent, such as when he turns to see Jane Wyman's disguise as she passes him in Stage Fright, and in stark silhouette in his final film Family Plot.
His appearances became so popular that he began to make them earlier in his films so as not to distract the audience from the plot. Hitchcock confirms this in extended interviews with François Truffaut, and indeed the majority of his appearances occur within the first half-hour of his films, with over half in the first 15 minutes.
Hitchcock's longest cameo appearances are in his British films Blackmail and Young and Innocent. He appears in all 30 features from Rebecca (his first American film) onward; before his move to Hollywood, he only occasionally performed cameos.
Cameo appearances in Hitchcock films
This is a list of Hitchcock's cameo appearances in films that he directed.
|The Birds||1963||0:02:18||Leaving the pet shop with two of his own Sealyham terriers, Geoffrey and Stanley, as Tippi Hedren enters.|
|Blackmail||1929||0:10:25||Being bothered by a small boy as he reads a book on the London Underground. This cameo is 19 seconds long.|
|Dial M for Murder||1954||0:13:13||On the left side in the class-reunion photo.|
|Easy Virtue||1928||0:21:15||Walking past a tennis court carrying a walking stick.|
|Family Plot||1976||0:40:00||In silhouette through the door of the Registrar of Births and Deaths.|
|Foreign Correspondent||1940||0:12:44||After Joel McCrea leaves his hotel, wearing a coat and hat and reading a newspaper.|
|Frenzy||1972||0:04:07||In the center of a crowd, wearing a bowler hat; he is the only one not applauding the speaker; and a minute later, right after the victim washes ashore, standing next to a gray-haired man with a gray beard.|
|I Confess||1953||0:01:33||Crossing the top of a flight of steps.|
|The Lady Vanishes||1938||1:32:31||In Victoria Station, wearing a black coat, smoking a cigarette, and making a strange movement with his head.|
|Lifeboat||1944||0:00:25||In the "before" and "after" pictures in the newspaper ad for "Reduco Obesity Slayer".|
|The Lodger||1927||0:03||At a desk in the newsroom.|
|1:24||In the mob scene next to Detective Joe, who's bearing the lodger's weight on the fence by holding his arms.|
|The Man Who Knew Too Much||1956||0:25:12||As the McKennas watch the acrobats in the marketplace, Hitchcock appears at the left in a suit and puts his hands in his pockets.|
|The Man Who Knew Too Much||1934||0:33:25||Walking across a road in a dark trench coat as a bus passes.|
|Marnie||1964||0:00:05||Entering from the left of the hotel corridor after Tippi Hedren passes by, and clearly breaking the fourth wall by looking the audience straight in the eye.|
|Mr. & Mrs. Smith||1941||0:42:57||Passing Robert Montgomery in front of his building.|
|Murder!||1930||0:59:45||Walking past the house where the murder was committed with a female companion, at the end of Sir John's visit to the scene with Markham and his wife Lucy.|
|North by Northwest||1959||0:02:09||Missing a bus, just after his credit passes off screen during the title sequence.|
|Notorious||1946||1:04:44||At the big party in Claude Rains's mansion, drinking champagne and then quickly departing.|
|Number Seventeen||1932||0:51:25||On the bus amongst other passengers, in a dark coat and hat, facing away, he bounces up and down; approx. four seconds.|
|The Paradine Case||1947||0:38:00||Leaving the train at a railway station, carrying a cello case.|
|Psycho||1960||0:06:59||Seen through an office window wearing a Stetson cowboy hat as Janet Leigh comes through the door.|
|Rear Window||1954||0:26:12||Winding the clock in the songwriter's apartment.|
|Rebecca||1940||2:06:57||Walking near the phone booth just after George Sanders makes a call.|
|Rope||1948||0:01:51||Just after his credit towards the end of the opening sequence of the film, walking alongside a woman (to her right), and swinging a newspaper in stride from his right hand.|
|0:55:00||In the background as a red flashing neon sign of his trademark profile.|
|Sabotage||1936||0:08:56||Just after the lights come back on in front of the Bijou, looking up as he crosses in front of the crowd.|
|Saboteur||1942||1:04:45||Standing in front of "Cut Rate Drugs" as the saboteurs' car stops.|
|Shadow of a Doubt||1943||0:16:27||On the train to Santa Rosa, playing cards, his back to the camera.|
|Spellbound||1945||0:39:01||Coming out of an elevator at the Empire State Hotel, carrying a violin case and smoking a cigarette.|
|Stage Fright||1950||0:39:49||Turning to look back at Jane Wyman in her disguise as Marlene Dietrich's maid.|
|Strangers on a Train||1951||0:10:34||Boarding a train with a double bass as Farley Granger gets off in his hometown.|
|Suspicion||1941||0:03:25||Walking a horse across the screen at the hunt meet.|
|0:44:58||Mailing a letter at the village postbox (long shot).|
|The 39 Steps||1935||0:06:56||The man tossing a white cigarette box while the bus pulls up for Robert Donat and Lucie Mannheim to leave the theatre.|
|To Catch a Thief||1955||0:09:40||Sitting next to Cary Grant on the bus.|
|Topaz||1969||0:32:27||Being pushed in a wheelchair in the airport. Hitchcock gets up from the chair, shakes hands with a man, and walks off to the right.|
|Torn Curtain||1966||0:00:08||Sitting in the Hotel d'Angleterre lobby with a baby on his knee. He shifts the child from one knee to the other. The music playing at this point in the film is an adaptation of Charles Gounod's Funeral March of a Marionette, a song now associated with Hitchcock due to it being used as the theme for his television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents|
|The Trouble with Harry||1955||0:22:14||Seen outside of the window—the man walking past the parked limousine of an old man who is looking at paintings.|
|Under Capricorn||1949||0:02:11||In the town square during new governor's speech, wearing a blue coat and brown hat.|
|0:12:17||One of three men on the steps of Government House.|
|Vertigo||1958||0:11:40||In a grey suit walking in the street with a trumpet case.|
|The Wrong Man||1956||0:00:18||Seen in silhouette narrating the film's prologue. Donald Spoto's biography says that Hitchcock chose to make an explicit appearance in this film (rather than a cameo) to emphasize that, unlike his other movies, The Wrong Man was a true story about an actual person.|
|Young and Innocent||1937||0:15:00||Outside the courthouse, holding a camera.|
Other cameo appearances
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- Alfred Hitchcock regularly made cameo appearances in his films. However, only once did he appear in an installment of his Alfred Hitchcock Presents television show (aside from his personal introductions and closings). The one cameo was in the 1958 episode of the third season titled "Dip in the Pool". At 5:15 minutes into the episode, Hitchcock appears on the cover of a magazine being read by Mr. Renshaw (Philip Bourneuf).
- Hitchcock's image shows up in Alain Resnais's Last Year at Marienbad, as an homage to Hitchcock's cameo appearances.
- Director Richard Franklin incorporates a Hitchcock cameo into Psycho II (1983), even though Hitchcock had been dead for three years. When Mary Samuels and Norman Bates pay an early nighttime visit to Mother's bedroom, Hitchcock's famous silhouette can be seen in shadow on the far right wall just after they enter the room and before they turn on the lights.
- In Gus Van Sant's 1998 shot-for-shot remake of Psycho, Van Sant can be seen standing next to a Hitchcock look-alike at the same point in the film as in the original.
- As pointed out by Nick @ Nite Rewind, Alfred's shadow appears in an episode of The Odd Couple.