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In one of his trademark cameos, Hitchcock boards the train in Metcalf after Farley Granger's character exits in Strangers on a Train (1951).

English film director Alfred Hitchcock made cameo appearances in 40 of his 53 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).

During the filming of The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog, Hitchcock later said his cameo came about at the last minute. The actor who was supposed to play the bit part of a telephone operator failed to show up, so Hitchcock filled in for him. This playful gesture became one of Hitchcock's trademark signatures, with fans making 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,[1] 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.[2] 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 an alphabetical list of Hitchcock's cameo appearances in films that he directed.

Title Year H:M[:S] Description
The Birds 1963 0:02:18 Leaving the pet shop with two of his own Sealyham terriers, Geoffrey and Stanley, as Tippi Hedren enters.[3]
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 sitting at the same table near Swan and Wendice.
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, he is seen wearing a coat and hat and reading a newspaper.
Frenzy 1972 0:02:24 At the very end of the aerial shot of the opening credits, wearing a bowler hat and leaning on the riverside wall at the bottom left of the concluding long shot. About a minute later, in the centre of a crowd, the only one not applauding the speaker; and another minute later, right after the victim washes ashore, standing next to a grey-haired bearded man.
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 0:25:00 In the "before" and "after" pictures in the newspaper ad for "Reduco Obesity Slayer".
The Lodger 1927 00:04:44 Sitting with his back to the camera at a desk in the newsroom.
01:23:50 In the mob scene next to Detective Joe, who is bearing the lodger's weight on the fence by holding his arms. (Disputed)[4]
The Man Who Knew Too Much 1934 0:33:25 Walking across a road in a dark trench coat as a bus passes.
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.
Marnie 1964 0:05:00 Entering from the left of the hotel corridor after Tippi Hedren passes by.
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 opening title sequence.
Notorious 1946 1:04:44 At the big party in Claude Rains's mansion, drinking champagne and then quickly departing as Cary Grant enters.
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 at the fireplace in the songwriter's apartment.
Rebecca 1940 2:06:57 The man wearing a bowler and topcoat with upturned collar that walks right to left behind Favell, played by George Sanders, and the policeman after Favell calls Mrs. Danvers.
Rope 1948 0:01:51 Just after Hitchcock's credit towards the end of the opening sequence, walking alongside a woman.
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; he has a full hand of spades.
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 as she is rehearsing her cover.
Strangers on a Train 1951 0:02:22 On the cover of the book Farley Granger is reading.
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 littering by 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 at the airport by a nurse. Hitchcock gets up from the chair, shakes hands with a man, and walks off to the right.
Torn Curtain 1966 0:08:00 Sitting in the Hotel d'Angleterre lobby with a baby on his knee. The music playing at this point is an adaptation of Funeral March of a Marionette, the theme for 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 with his back to the camera, wearing a blue coat and brown top hat.
0:12:17 One of three men on the steps of the Government House.
Vertigo 1958 0:11:22 In a grey suit walking across a 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 main entrance as one of several reporters and journalists (he is holding a camera) as Robert Tisdall (Derrick De Marney) walks out.

See also


  1. ^ Truffaut, François (1968) Hitchcock, Secker and Warburg
  2. ^ Walker, Michael (2006) Hitchcock's motifs Amsterdam University Press
  3. ^ McCarthy, Michael (5 February 2009). "Final cut for Hollywood's favourite dog". The Independent. Archived from the original on 2022-06-14. Retrieved 26 December 2011.
  4. ^ The Lodger (1927) – Hitchcock's cameo – The Alfred Hitchcock Wiki