2022 marks the 100 year directorial debut of Alfred Hitchcock with the film Number Thirteen, a two reeler comedy which Hitchcock directed but never finished. To commemorate the start of Britain’s most famous director, Tony Lee Moral, author of three Hitchcock books has written a fourth, “The Young Alfred Hitchcock’s Moviemaking Master Class”. Here are 10 things you may not know about the Master of Suspense during his younger years.

Alfred Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock

1. Alfred Hitchcock was born in Leytonstone in the east end of London on Sunday 13th August 1899, the son of a greengrocer. To honour their most famous son on the centenary of his birth, the council commissioned a series of 16 mosaics which can be seen today in Leytonstone Underground station.

2. Hitchcock directed his first complete film in 1925 with The Pleasure Garden which was filmed in Lake Como and starred the American actress Virginia Valli. Hitchcock had a fondness for Europe and spent much time in Germany and Italy during his youth.

3. His first job in the film industry was designing title cards for the American company Famous Players Lasky in 1920 after having worked as an apprentice at a Telegraph company and attending London art school. For the rest of his life, he enjoyed sketching and doodling for his colleagues and had important sequences of his films storyboarded.

4. Hitchcock was very shy about women. By the age of 23 he had never been out with a woman in his life and never had a drink in his life. He spent his youth attending plays alone and also started to read the film trade papers.

5. He married Alma Reville at the age of 26, an editor whom he had met during the production of Woman to Woman. For the first couple of years he never spoke to Alma out of shyness, but they became lifelong work and life partners.

6. Hitch and Alma honeymooned in St Moritz at the Badrutt’s Palace Hotel and enjoyed it so much, they often returned every year for Christmas in Switzerland. The Swiss resort also features in the 1934 film The Man Who Knew Too Much.

7. 2022 also marks the 50th anniversary of his film Frenzy which he filmed in Covent Garden in the early 1970s. It was the first time he had filmed a complete picture in England for over 30 years. The story was of a neck tie murderer who strangles women.

8. The serial killer or psychopath has long fascinated Hitchcock ever since he made  The Lodger in 1927 starring matinee idol Ivor Novello, right through to Psycho in 1960. Hitchcock has given us some of the most memorable villains to grace the screen such as Uncle Charlie in Shadow of a Doubt and Bruno Antony in Strangers on a Train. That’s because he avoided the cliché through character and made his villains attractive. 

9.  His favourite food was steak and potatoes and he would have exactly the same for lunch every day, often with a glass of wine. He also loved Dover sole and would have fresh fish flown in from the UK fish markets to his home in LA.

10. His favourite actresses were Ingrid Bergman and Grace Kelly who stared in three films apiece for Hitchcock. He famously said, “Blondes make the best victims. They’re like virgin snow that shows up the bloody footprints.:

Tony Lee Moral
Tony Lee Moral

Tony Lee Moral is an author specializing in mystery and suspense. He has written four books on the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock:  The Making of Hitchcock’s The Birds (2013) published by Kamera Books, and Hitchcock and the Making of Marnie (2005) published by Scarecrow Press. Tony Lee Moral’s book The Young Alfred Hitchcock’s Moviemaking Master Class is published by Sabana on October 25th priced at £12.99 and Alfred Hitchcock: The Storyboards is published in September 2023 by Titan Books.

Tony Lee Moral’s book The Young Alfred Hitchcock’s Moviemaking Master Class Available Amazon