Friday, 16 May 2008

Hitchcock and Westminster Cathedral

Alfred Hitchcock featured Westminster Cathedral in his 1940 thriller 'Foreign Correspondent'. Johnny Jones, the hero, is attacked by a Nazi assassin, who attempts to throw him from the Campanile. Jones steps aside in time, and the evil thug plunges instead to his death.

The film shows the entrance onto Ambrosden Avenue, now used for the Gift Shop, but in those days the principal public entrance to the Cathedral.

As Jones enters the Cathedral (the interior is not shown), it is pleasing to note two Daughters of Charity approaching, in their old wimples. This shows accurate local knowledge - the Daughters of Charity Convent is nearby in Carlisle Place.

The 'accident' is reported in the Press, with a helpful broken line marking the unfortunate assassin's trajectory.

Hitchcock was a Catholic, having attended St Ignatius Jesuit School in Enfield. Following his death in 1980, a Memorial Mass was held at Westminster Cathedral.


Anonymous said...

I wish the Daughters of Charity would rediscover those old wimples. Let us be Catholic and proud of it; not hide away.

Must get that DVD though. Early Hitchcock was very good and more 'Anglicised'.

Anonymous said...

Not Enfield but Stamford Hill. The move to Enfield was long after Hitchcock's time.

Anonymous said...

It's a pity the original side entrance can't be restored with the current building works. It's much grander and would prob be easier to adapt for wheelchair access. I've never really liked using the current side doors. Don't know where the gift shop would go though?!

Anonymous said...

recusant wishes to see the old wimples restored on the Sisters of Charity. I understand they disappeared with the advent of the Metro in Paris as they kept on getting stuck in the doors!

Anonymous said...

Alfred Hitchcock also paid for the chapel at The Campion School, Hornchurch, Essex (offshoot to St Ignatius College) which opened in 1962. Other Old Boys of St Ignatius include Cardinal John Carmel Heenan.