Alfred his cock presents

cock

There’s a story, which I have trouble believing, that to get a shocked reaction from Madeleine Carroll for one particular close-up in THE 39 STEPS, Hitchcock unbuttoned his fly and startled her with the sight of his partial namesake. (The shot above looks to me like the only reasonable contender. The expression on Carroll’s face is hard to read: concern? Pity?)

When asked, by a subsequent interviewer, if this tale were true, Hitch is supposed to have confirmed it (I can believe that much), and said that he had used this technique on a number of actresses.

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For the record, Madeleine Carroll is awesome in THE 39 STEPS, and I don’t believe such a technique would be either necessary or productive, to say nothing of the legal implications. Hitch did claim to have pranked her mercilessly, partly for fun and partly to get her to, er, unstiffen. That’s almost certainly true. But the story of the nob, which Matthew Sweet seizes upon so eagerly in his book Shepperton Babylon, strikes me as a stretch.

Also, it reminds me of Churchill’s comment when told his fly was undone: “Dead birds don’t fall out of nests.”

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12 Responses to “Alfred his cock presents”

  1. When I saw Miss Carroll’s picture, and the comments ensuing, I started to laugh. As I saw the following pictures, i started to laugh increasingly louder.

    And then I saw Tallullah’s picture.

    And I almost fell from my chair.

    I agree with you that the story sounds like a bit of a stretch, but as the Italians say “si non e vero, é ben trobato”

  2. Christopher Says:

    no!..not Hitch!..=:oO…..LOL..nevertheless

  3. Imagining the music from Psycho over those pictures seems to help too.

  4. David, FYI and for what it’s worth (not a great deal), I’m going to be linking my forthcoming column to your excellent review of Rich and Strange. Hope you don’t mind a (very) little extra traffic next week!

  5. He must have been worried when filming The Birds.

  6. Thanks, John! Rich and Strange is one that definitely deserves to be seen by more people, so if between us we can guide anyone to it, that’d be swell. And if you can guide people here, that’s also good!

  7. “Dead birds don’t fall out of nests”. What a helluva thing to say. Damn funny, and incredible for its seeming to come out of nowhere. There’s a part of me makes me wish I would’ve said it.

  8. Churchill was pretty funny, for a quasi-fascist. Reminds me of one of the late Ken Campbell’s stories: he met an ex-soldier who’d been at Yalta for the signing of the peace treaty at the end of WWII. “That must have been interesting,” said Ken. “Oh yes, especially to be in the company of such evil men.” “You mean, like, Stalin?” “Not particularly.”

  9. [...] Hitchcock. Dieser Eintrag wurde veröffentlicht in Netznotizen, Ticker. Bookmarken: Permanent-Link. Kommentieren oder ein Trackback hinterlassen: Trackback-URL. « Krimi-Forschung: Räume, Orte [...]

  10. Reminds me of the story about Truman Capote. A man, visibly impatient at his girlfriend for queing to get a book signed, is asked by Capote after he’d signed the girlfriend’s book if there’s anything he’d like signed. Yeah, he says pulling out his Hitchcock, sign this. Oh, says Capote with a smirk, so just initials then.

  11. This reminds me the famous dialogue from “The Concorde … Airport 1979″:
    Isabelle: You pilots are such… men.
    Capt. Joe Patroni: Well, they don’t call it a “cockpit” for nothing.

  12. Whole thing’s probably a cock-and-bull story.

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