September 24th, 2019

carole lombard 02

Of Hitchcock and his cattle

Carole Lombard was an admirer and close friend of director Alfred Hitchcock, so much so that when she married Clark Gable and they bought a home in Encino, she rented her Bel-Air residence to the British emigre. Did that mean she was immune from Hitch's notorious mind games with actors? Far from it, despite the joviality he and Carole display with Robert Montgomery on the set of "Mr. & Mrs. Smith."

For proof, note this Hedda Hopper snippet from her Los Angeles Times column 79 years ago yesterday, Sept. 23, 1940:

Hopper, a former actress, worked with Carole in the 1929 film "The Racketeer" and had a cameo in her "Nothing Sacred" eight years later. Some stills from that restaurant scene Hopper described:

The cat probably received better treatment than Lombard or Montgomery did. Then again, Hitch was renowned for comparing actors to cattle.

And while Hitchcock apparently didn't have the actors film the winter scene in shorts, he may have persuaded Lombard to pose for this almost certainly censored publicity still as a favor:

Yes, working as a Hitchcock actor was never easy. (Ask Tippi Hedren.) Lombard and Gene Raymond found out firsthand during this midway scene:

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