Alfred Hitchcock's
Film Cameo
Appearances in His Own Films

In Two Parts

Hitchcock's Film Cameo Appearances: Alfred Hitchcock made a total of 39 self-referential cameos in his films over a 50 year period (from 1927-1976), if one counts his off-screen narration at the start of The Wrong Man (1956). Four of his films featured two cameo appearances (The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927, UK), Suspicion (1941), Rope (1948), and Under Capricorn (1949)). [Note: Two appearances in a film were counted only once.] Hitchcock's appearance in Secret Agent (1936, UK) is very speculative and not officially counted.]

Hitchcock's first appearance was in his third major UK film, The Lodger (1927) (earlier credited and completed films without cameos included The Pleasure Garden (1925) and The Mountain Eagle (1926, UK) (aka Fear o' God) - a lost film), and then in more of his major British films, followed by numerous appearances in his US productions.

Two war-time shorts after 1940, Bon Voyage (1944) and Aventure Malgache (1944), did not contain cameos either. The most ingenious cameo appearances were in films with limited sets, as in Lifeboat (1944), Rope (1948), and Dial M for Murder (1954).

Two recurring themes were that: (1) Hitchcock often carried a musical instrument, and (2) Hitchcock often used public transportation (buses, trains, etc.), and was seen as a casual passer-by in the crowd in the public place (train stations, at an airport, etc.). Most of the cameos appeared early in the film, and often there was a bit of mild humor in the appearance (weight-reduction ads, getting up from a wheelchair, having an unbeatable bridge hand, drinking champagne to lessen the supply, etc.).

Note: Only once did he appear in an installment of his Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955-1966) TV show - besides his personal introductions. The one appearance was in the 1958 episode of the third season titled A Dip in the Pool, in which he showed up on the cover of a magazine being read by Mr. Renshaw (Philip Bourneuf).

See also this site's information on the Most Famous Film Director Cameos.

Note: The films that are marked with a yellow star are the films that "The Greatest Films" site has selected as the 100 Greatest Films.

Hitchcock's Cameo Appearances in His Own Films
(in reverse chronological order, Part 1)
See all Alfred Hitchcock Title Screens
Film Title
Description of Hitchcock Cameo
Minutes Into Film (approx.)
Family Plot (1976) With his widely-familiar but stern silhouette viewed through the frosted-glass door of the "Registrar of Births and Deaths." Hitchcock appears to be arguing with an elderly woman and accusedly jabbing and pointing his finger. 40 minutes
Frenzy (1972) In the center of a crowd, wearing a black bowler hat, facing to the left. He is the only one not applauding the political speech-maker (delivering a speech about pollution and cleaning up the Thames River).

A moment later, he is among bystanders watching as another necktie murder corpse (naked) floats ashore. He listens as a white-bearded crowd member (Joby Blanshard) talks about the grisly tactics of Jack the Ripper.
3 minutes
Topaz (1969) In a crowded LaGuardia International Airport scene, seated in a wheelchair as he is being pushed by a nurse under a sign with an arrow reading "United Airlines - To Planes." He miraculously stands up from the wheelchair, greets and shakes hands with a man, and walks off to the right. 33 minutes
Torn Curtain (1966) In Copenhagen, sitting in the large Hotel d'Angleterre's lobby entrance with a blonde-haired baby in his lap (who possibly wet itself), with his back to the camera. During the brief cameo, the music changes to resemble the famous "Hitchcock theme," also known as the Funeral March of the Marionette. 8 minutes
Marnie (1964) Entering from the left of the hotel corridor from a hotel room after Marnie Edgar (Tippi Hedren) has passed by with a bellman carrying her things. The director looks guiltily at the camera. 5 minutes
The Birds (1963) Leaving downtown San Francisco's Davidson's Pet Shop with two white terriers (Hitchcock's own Sealyham terriers Geoffrey and Stanley on leashes) as elegantly-dressed blonde Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) enters. 2 minutes
Psycho (1960) Wearing a large cowboy hat and discretely viewed through Marion Crane's (Janet Leigh) office store-front window, loitering or standing on the sidewalk, as she returns to her Phoenix real estate company after a lunchtime quickie in a cheap hotel with lover Sam Loomis (John Gavin). 7 minutes
North By Northwest (1959) At the end of the opening title credits sequence in a bustling NYC, missing a green city bus that slams its door in his face, anticipating a similar scene in the countryside near a cornfield when a bus door shuts on Roger O. Thornhill (Cary Grant). 2 minutes
Vertigo (1958) In a gray suit walking across the street past Gavin Elster's (Tom Helmore) Mission District shipyard and office in San Francisco, in front of columns and a newspaper rack, carrying a horn (or trumpet) case. 11 minutes
The Wrong Man (1956) (Narration Only) Hitchcock (in silhouette) narrates the film's prologue and introduces the film's true story before the credits appear. Not a traditional cameo, but this was the sole time Hitchcock actually spoke in any of his feature films. Beginning of film
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) Hitchcock was the balding man (on the left side of the frame with his back to the camera) watching a troupe of acrobats in the crowded outdoor French Moroccan (Marrakesh) marketplace, just before the murder of Louis Bernard (Daniel Gelin). 25 minutes
The Trouble With Harry (1955) (Not easily identifiable) Walking past a parked-by-the-side-of-the-road limousine of an old man who is looking at Sam Marlowe's (John Forsythe) outdoor stand/exhibition of artwork and paintings. 22 minutes
To Catch A Thief (1955) Staring straight ahead and sitting motionless to the left of John Robie (Cary Grant) in the rear-seat of a bus, revealed as the camera slightly panned to the right. To Robie's right is a woman (Adele St Mauer) with a bird cage (containing two birds). 10 minutes
Rear Window (1954) Winding/repairing a clock in the songwriter's/musician's (real-life composer and vocalist Ross Bagdasarian, Jr.) apartment, across from where J. Jefferies (James Stewart) was being a voyeur. 26 minutes
Dial M for Murder (1954) On the left side of Tony Wendice's (Ray Milland) Cambridge class-reunion dinner photograph hung on the wall, turning back and looking up to his right, seated at a white table-clothed table. The framed photograph was taken off the wall by Tony and shown to Captain Lesgate/Charles Swann (Anthony Dawson) (Swann was blackmailed into murdering Tony's wife), who is across the table from tuxedoed Hitchcock in the photo. 13 minutes
I Confess (1953) Strolling across or along the top of a long flight of stair-steps in Quebec, in a long-shot silhouette filmed at a distance, during/after the opening credits. 1 minute
Strangers on A Train (1951) Struggling to board a train with a very large and awkward double bass fiddle (similar in shape to Hitchcock's own rotund body), as Guy Haines (Farley Granger) gets off in his hometown of Metcalf. 10 minutes

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