1. Alfred Hitchcock’s 1929 film Blackmail is considered to be the first British “talkie,” despite the fact that it actually began production as a silent film. British International Pictures initially wanted to use sound in the last scene, but Hitchcock decided to shoot the entire film in sound, releasing both fully voiced and silent versions for the theatrical release.
2. Although he was often nominated and won various other prestigious awards, including a knighthood in 1980, Alfred Hitchcock himself never actually won an Oscar.
3. Hitchcock made a habit of making a cameo in his own movies, doing so in 39 of his 52 films. While his appearances were initially limited to brief split-second scenes in crowds, they gradually became more prominent; in films where he could not logically appear in person (such as Lifeboat), he would be featured in a newspaper or some other kind of image.
4. Hitchcock suffered from a number of odd phobias, including both eggs (which he called “yellow and revolting”) and the police, the latter being the reason he never learned to drive for fear of getting a ticket. Hitchcock’s fear of the police likely stemmed from an incident in his childhood in which he was locked in a police cell for several minutes as punishment for bad behavior, leaving him with a lifelong fear of authority and false accusation—a motif often repeated throughout his films.
5. Hitchcock was a notorious prankster: during the filming of Thirty Nine Steps he pretended to lose the key to the handcuffs that bound actors Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll together for an entire day. Some of these “jokes” could be extremely cruel: actress Elsie Randolph once made the mistake of revealing her fear of fire to Hitchcock, and so during the filming of Frenzy he had her locked in a telephone box while smoke was pumped inside.
6. Although he’ll probably always best remembered for Psycho and The Birds, Hitchcock’s personal favorite among his own movies was 1943’s Shadow of a Doubt.
7. One of the most shocking aspects of Psycho was the murder of the supposed “main character” Marion Crane about halfway into the film. To preserve this vital twist, Hitchcock forbade theaters from allowing advanced screenings, forcing reviewers to see the movie along with regular audiences—a move that some have cited as the reason behind Psycho’s early mixed reviews.
8. After he opposed and was subsequently gray-listed by the House of Un-American Activities, actor Norman Lloyd was about to be refused a position producing the 1957 series Suspicion. His spot was saved when Hitchcock intervened with three simple words: “I want him.” Lloyd went on to become a successful director and producer in his own right.
9. Being the leading lady in a Hitchcock movie was a ticket to stardom, but by no means was it a walk in the park! Actress Tippi Hedren called Hitchcock “evil and deviant, almost to the point of being dangerous” as she described how he obsessively stalked her and intentionally put her through grueling, physically dangerous takes during the shooting of The Birds. When Hedren finally grew fed up with Hitchcock’s behavior, he intentionally sunk her career—just as he’d promised to do if she ever stepped out of line.
10. Steven Spielberg considered Hitchcock to be his idol and repeatedly tried to meet him, only for Hitchcock to refuse every time. According to actor Bruce Dern’s autobiography, Hitchcock claimed that he refused because he had been paid a million dollars to do the voice of the Jaws ride at the Hollywood Studio Tour in 1978, and meeting “the boy who did the fish movie” would make him feel like “such a whore.” As there is no record of Hitchcock providing a voice for any Jaws ride, it’s possible that this was just a joke on his part.