Alfred Hitchcock...

Thread: Alfred Hitchcock...

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Hilversum, The Netherlands

    Alfred Hitchcock...

    I'm a bit of an Hitchcock fan, and I recently bought "The Masterpiece Collection". 15 of his best 'American Period' movies on DVD. All digitally restored, in a very nice box.
    You are probably wondering why this is relevant to the Vintage Watches Forum, but in the second movie I viewed, "Shadow Of A Doubt", there are a few scenes that tell us something about the history of the wristwatch.

    This movie, apparently Hitchcock's favorite, was made in 1942. In it one of the lead characters, a murderer as it turns out, comes to stay with his sister and her family. He brings gifts for the family. His brother in law gets a wristwatch. While putting the watch on his wrist the brother in law remarks "say I've never had a wristwatch"

    Apparently it was normal in the early 40's for a reasonably well off, middle aged man, not to have a wristwatch. But obviously it was becoming a fashionable, modern accessory by then as is proved by the following remark: "Fellows at the bank'll think I'm quite a sport"

    Shortly after this scene, the door bell rings, and we see the same man walking to the front door, still fiddling with his watch. Knowing Hitchcock a little, this is not without meaning. He likes to make little but meaningful jokes about his characters, and he's showing us that this man is fascinated by his new watch.

    The caller at the front door turns out to be a good friend of the man, and the man using an obvious excuse, looks at his watch, making sure his friend notices his new possession. Just look at envy in the face of his friend.

    Apparently wearing a wristwatch is so unusual that his friends remarks "Oh. A watch".

    I think Hitchcock was a good observer of people, and that he was very much in tune with what was 'happening' in his days. And he tells us here, that in the early 40's wristwatches were still special, but also modern and fashionable. Maybe a bit like the Ipod of it's days .
    Last edited by Ron Engels; April 5th, 2007 at 21:21.

  2. #2
    Member JohnF's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Oberstedten, Germany

    Re: Alfred Hitchcock...

    Hi Ron -

    Thanks for that post. You are correct: Hitchcock was a good observer of people (his relations with women are fascinating...and showed how very human he was, as he desired carnally every leading lady and was rarely successful with them) and I can remember - showing my age perhaps - that getting a watch was still a fairly big thing. My first watch I bought at JFK on our way to a 10-week trip around the world in early 1970, and the most important thing I remember is simple empowerment: I finally knew what time it was without having to ask. I, fool that I was, refused to trade it for all sorts of Soviet watches offered to me as we journeyed through that strange and troubled land...

    It was a Timex. I do remember having to reset it pretty much every time I wound it, using my father's Omega as a reference during that trip (Constellation, destroyed in a horrible car accident in 1973). Big, clunky, very 1970s...but it was mine, I chose it. I wore it through highschool, my first job, and left it at the grave site of my brother Chris in Canyonlands in Utah (to be specific: near Dead Horse Point), where we spread his ashes in 1973. Long story, that one. I know exactly where it is, under a small cairn of rocks, and I visited there with my family in 1993 and knew exactly where to go...

    I didn't wear another watch until 1977, when I acquired an early LED watch from, I think, Fairchild Electronics (!), that I wore doing archeology in Jordan, which pretty much destroyed the watch (extreme climatic conditions and dust...). Next one was an early Casio LCD with tritium backlight, followed by various Casio and Seiko LCD watches. Recently found the Seiko databank watch I wore during graduate studies...

    First mechanical was the Fortis I bought after 6 years working in Basel about 12 years ago, followed 5 years later with a Poljot Aviator that led me nto watch collecting and here.

    A small trip down memory lane...

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  3. #3
    Member Ray MacDonald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Almonte ON Canada

    Re: Alfred Hitchcock...

    The man with the wristwatch is Henry Travers, better known for his role as the angel in "It's a Wonderful Life". I think his friend is played by Hume Cronyn.
    Of course it was the chilling Joseph Cotten who took center stage as Uncle Charlie.

    There are fathers who do not love their children; there is no grandfather who does not adore his grandson. ~ Victor Hugo

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