In-jokes in Movies
Wednesday, 17th October 2012
Fans of Alfred Hitchcock will know where he makes his trademark director’s cameo in Dial M for Murder (1954), appearing in the photograph taken at Tony Wendice’s class reunion dinner.
But there may be another, more obscure cameo in this picture: the man sitting across the table from the director looks remarkably like Jimmy Stewart, who starred with Grace Kelly in Hitchcock’s other 1954 film, Rear Window.
It may be Ray Milland, who plays Tony Wendice, as the two actors do sometimes look similar, but the man in the photograph parts his hair on the right (like Jimmy Stewart), while Milland usually parted his on the left. Judging by the white aura around the figure, he also seems to have been added later as a cutout. (Perhaps by the same person who got a bit too enthusiastic when touching up Charles Swann’s cigar, just to make absolutely sure the viewer could see it.)
We’re pretty convinced it’s Jimmy Stewart, but until we know for sure, we’re filing this under ‘unconfirmed rumour’.
Near the beginning of The Birds, when Tippi Hedren is walking down the street (having just passed the San Francisco poster), she turns to acknowledge a wolf-whistle from a passing boy. This is an in-joke.
Hitchcock had first seen Hedren in a commercial for Sego diet drink made by Pet Milk. There was a shot in that commercial where she turns and smiles in response to a wolf whistle, and Hitchcock decided to reference it here.