Hitch's first, grainy appearance was as a journalist in his debut feature, an Expressionist-tinged thriller set in a fog-bound London. Hunched over a desk with his back turned to the camera, it's a demure start to his cameoing career. There's a brief second cameo later in the film as a bystander in a flat cap. [00:04:57 and 01:25:07]
Here he is nonchalantly wandering between camera and actors, promenading with a ladyfriend. It's the kind of eyeline-erasure that would cause a warp-spasm on the set of Terminator Salvation, but, hey, that's one of the perks of being the boss man. [0.59.40]
As Richard Hannay (Robert Donat) and his mysterious fraulein escape from the theatre, Hitchcock saunters across the screen, chucking a piece of litter away as he goes, in a gratuitous example of not keeping Britain tidy. [00:06:37]
The cameo in this peerless potboiler is not Hitch's finest moment. Posing as a photojournalist outside a courthouse, he shuffles uncomfortably while clutching a camera and looking like a man who's just realised he's left the iron on. [00:15:38]
Hitch wonders through this fraught wartime espionage thriller engrossed in the paper and without a care in the world. He passes John Jones (Joel McCrea) titular journo who has Nazi spy rings on the mind. [00:11:56]
Another of those long shot appearances. Here Hitch posts a letter next to what looks like a double-parked Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in possibly the quaintest chocolate box village to grace the silver screen. [00:45:10]
It's a shadowy appearance by the master in this Americanised 39 Steps reboot. He's just discernible hanging out by a New York newsstand as Barry Kane (Robert Cummings) arrives with Nazi agents in close attendance. [01:01:57]
This train-bound cameo is the only occasion another character directly addresses Hitchcock ("You don't look very well," observes his fellow card player) but the humour is instantly recognisable. Just check out that hand. [00:15:57]
Clever one this: with his small cast adrift in a storm-tossed lifeboat, Hitch had to think laterally to fit in a cameo. He manages it with the help of a Reduco Obesity Slayer ad. It's a goodie but we'd still have liked to have seen him nip past in a jaunty pedalo. [00:25:02]
Here he emerges from the Empire State Hotel's elevator wearing a double-breasted suit, smoking a cigarette, clutching a violin case and generally looking like an unfit gangster. Dr. Constance Petersen (Ingrid Bergman) appears just as he exits, anxious to track down her neurological patient Dr. Anthony Edwardes (Gregory Peck). [00:37:16]
This noir classic features one of Hitchcock's latest, and most significant, appearances in one of his films. His gets at the champagne with an Oliver Reed-like zest, indirectly prompting Alicia Huberman's (Ingrid Bergman) trip to the cellar and the discovery of that uranium stash. [01:01:48]
The stagey set-up of this seminal thriller - all filmed in one Manhattan apartment - posed a problem for Hitchcock. Presumably discounting a window cleaning or pizza delivery gig, he shows up as a passing pedestrian on the street below and again, in neon form, as a Reduco logo on a distant building. [00:01:54 and 00:53:02]
One of two films to feature two cameos (three if you include Rope), Hitch turns up as a fair dinkum Aussie in this Sydney-set drama, first as part of a milling crowd by the harbour and here on the steps of Government House, taking what seems to be a cheeky colonial fag break. [00:13:00]
Like Marnie, this London-based mystery thriller posits Hitchcock as a surrogate audience member. Passing a dowdily disguised Jane Wyman in the street, he gives her the once-over before concluding that, yes, that is her, and, no, it isn't a very good disguise.
As Guy Haines (Farley Granger) disembarks from that fateful train journey, who should squeeze past him but a double bass-wielding Hitch. The musical instrument and use of public transport were two signatures of his cameos, making them motifs within a motif, which is a bit meta. [00:10:08]
Hitchcock shows up in a clock-winding capacity in the apartment facing Jeff Jeffries' (James Stewart) window. Here's a piece of musical trivia: Hitch shares the scene with the piano-playing Ross Bagdasarian, the real-life composer behind sonic terrorists Alvin & The Chipmunks. [00:25:09]
There's so many things to love about this one: the dotty old dear taking her bird for an outing, Hitch's impassive demeanour, and that classic Cary Grant bemusement as he sizes up one, then the other. Hitch is too polite to point out that he's the one wearing the silly jumper. [00:09:38]
At a couple of seconds of peripheral screentime spent moseying past a limo while an old man peruses John Forsythe's collection of bric-a-brac, this one is virtually undetectable unless you're actually looking for it. [00:21:18]
Only that famous bald noggin betrays Hitch's presence in this scene. His back is turned to the camera as he joins Benjamin McKenna (James Stewart) and Doris Day in watching a troupe of Marrakesh street acrobats. [00:24:19]
This courtroom drama features a unique appearance from Hitchcock. Mirroring the format of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, the directors appears in silhouette to tell the audience that it's a true story he's about to tell and that they'd better be paying attention. [00:00:18]
Like most of his later cameos, Hitch shows up early in North By Northwest to avoid distracting from the plot. Here he misses the bus by a whisker, perhaps because the bus driver's realised that he's accidentally stopped at a giant ash tray. [00:02:03]
Hitch once said, "For me, the cinema is not a slice of life, but a piece of cake," and in The Birds he's a pretty much unmissable cherry on top, exiting a pet shop with two new terriers in tow, as Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) passes in the opposite direction. [00:02:13]
Sly winks to the camera were a Hitch hallmark. Usually they're stylistic; in this case he offers a real one. He appears from a hotel room just as Marnie Edgar (Tippi Hedren) wanders past with hair dyed, turns to the camera and gives us a look that says 'did you see that?' Yes, we did. [00:04:48]
Holding a baby in a hotel lobby, Hitchcock sticks out in this espionage thriller like, well, a famous movie director holding a baby in a hotel lobby. The joyous cheesiness of the cameo is enhanced by the score's bigtop-style trombone wheeze. If you missed this one, you'd need your eyes and ears examined. [00:07:58]
A nurse wheels Hitch through an airport in this underpowered spy saga. He looks disabled and… hang on! he's leapt out of the wheelchair and wandered off! For those who spotted it, it could have been the uneven Topaz's finest moment. It was definitely the silliest of all Hitch cameos and pre-dates Little Britain's Lou and Andy by 34 years. [00:32:27]
Sir Alfred shows up looking a bit glum, in one of his regular spectating turns. And no wonder: he's listening to a politician chuntering away on the steps of County Hall. Luckily, a corpse washes up in the Thames and everyone perks up. [00:03:08]
A suitably iconic end to a magnificent career, Hitch's appears in silhouette in his final film, the frothy Family Plot, bidding his audience farewell with a solid bout of finger-jabbing. [0:38:57]
Director Alfred Hitchcock made huge number of cameo appereances within his almost 60-years career. For a brief moment, he would be seen for example boarding a bus, crossing in front of a building, standing in an apartment across the courtyard, or even appearing in a newspaper photograph (required for 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 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 obscure extras, in a crowd or walking through a scene in a long camera shot. 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'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.