Original Ending to be Inserted Back Into Alfred Hitchcock's North By Northwest

By Jason Haggstrom, April 1, 2011

Future generations, please note the date of publication on this article

In a surprise announcement, Warner Bros. pictures has revealed that the original edit of the climactic scene of Alfred Hitchcock's North By Northwest has turned up in the studio's archives. This newly found footage, a far less subtle—and far more vulgar—version of the film's classic "train entering the tunnel" joke (a visual pun referring to the couple's sexual activity) existed mostly in film circles as a rumor of mythic proportions. Few have heard of the original ending because it has not only been long lost in the Warner archives, but because the only reference to the footage exists in the first editions of the interview book, Hitchcock/Truffaut (later editions of the book omitted the reference to the original North By Northwest ending because of Hitchcock's disparaging words about the film's star, Cary Grant). Because of this, first editions of the book have become a hard-to-find collector's item. The following exchange regarding the original ending occurs on page 257:

ALFRED HITCHCOCK: George [Tomasini, editor on North By Northwest] and I were carrying on one night in the editing room about how much we loathed that blaggard Will Hays—you know, that Micky Mouse-looking bastard who threatened to censor every great thing we made. I had the idea for the climactic scene of the film—you know, the train entering the tunnel—but George got so fired up talking about Hays that he decided it'd be jolly fun to make the joke even more vulgar. George really wanted to take the piss out of the Production Code. Rub their noses in it.

FRANÇOIS TRUFFAUT: If you and George were so set on the more vulgar version, why didn't it make it into the final cut of the film?

A.H.: Well, when Cary saw it he got very angry and vowed to never work with me again, the bastard. Eva, on the other hand, thought it was brilliant. She has a wicked sense of humor, that one. But I guess that after a few days the humor of it just wore off.

F.T.: Did you screen it for Alma?

A.H.: You must be joking.

Warner Bros. plans to reinsert the footage into future copies of the film on both DVD and Blu-ray. In the meantime, you can view the newly found original ending to North By Northwest below.

Like this? Then make sure to catch the follow-up post, "The Dirtiest Sex Scene of 1951 (in Technicolor!)."

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22 Comments

By Pookie on April 1, 2011 at 8:36 PM

Lame April Fool's joke.

By Jason Haggstrom on April 1, 2011 at 9:17 PM

"Well, nobody's perfect."

By Stuart on April 1, 2011 at 9:39 PM

Great April Fool's joke!

By Topangapan on April 2, 2011 at 5:48 PM

You greatly underestimate the mind and talent of Hitchcock

By Nicholas on April 2, 2011 at 7:23 PM

Jason,

Thanks for this! Well done.

By Hannu Björkbacka on April 6, 2011 at 1:34 PM

Antti Alanen's film blog Film Diary alerted me to this one! Great joke, well done! Thanks~(;^)~
The future generations have to be told!

By P Lopez on April 11, 2011 at 8:06 PM

The "transcript" kind of gave it away. Hitchcock spoke in a very proper measured way, probably because of his strict catholic upbringing. He would have never used the words "carry on", "blagger" or even "You must be joking". He didn't use slang and always talked in rather long sentences.

By Jason Haggstrom on April 11, 2011 at 9:32 PM

Alvy Singer: Well, that's funny, because I happen to have Mr. Hitchcock right here, so, so, yeah, just let me... [pulls Hitch out from behind a nearby poster]... Come over here for a second... tell her!

Alfred Hitchcock: I heard what you were saying! You know nothing of my work!

;)

By Brian W. Fairbanks on April 19, 2011 at 10:48 AM

As P. Lopez noted, the transcript was so obviously fake. In all the interviews I've read or seen with Hitchcock, he never used such coarse words as "bastard." Even when he was critical of someone, he didn't resort to nastiness.

By Eric on April 19, 2011 at 11:11 AM

I got a good laugh out of this. Thanks for posting!

By John West on April 19, 2011 at 11:56 AM

VERY well done, Jason. Excellent 4/1 item. One for the archives.

By AJ in Nashville on April 19, 2011 at 12:41 PM

Perhaps the title of this post should have been:

Original Ending to be Inserted Back (and Forth, and Back and Forth...) Into Alfred Hitchcock's North By Northwest

...Now that would have been cool. :)

By Jason Haggstrom on April 19, 2011 at 12:46 PM

@P Lopez & Brian Fairbanks:

Sigh. You presume incorrectly that I was trying to fool people when I was actually aiming for the opposite. The goal was to be completely over-the-top. I hoped that the richness of the details and tone would make it even funnier for those people who really know their Hitch.

On a side note, I only now realize that I messed up when I referred to Joseph Breen as being the "Mickey-Mouse looking bastard" when I really meant his predecessor, William Hays. Updating it now.

By Robert on April 19, 2011 at 1:31 PM

Good hoax, but Hitch was quite capable of coming up with his own dirty jokes.. as seen here: http://youtu.be/zl6SMOSXa7A

By wcmartell on April 19, 2011 at 3:28 PM

Hey, I have the first edition of H/F and don't remember that... but I do wonder about the dubbed dialogue in that scene, since their lips do not match the words on the audio track.

- Bill
http://sex-in-a-sub.blogspot.com/
(not about sex or submarines - about screenwriting and often Hitchcock)

By BC on April 19, 2011 at 5:51 PM

Since people are still falling for this even weeks after April 1, it's a shame that you kind of give away the game in the mock interview when you have Hitch saying "blagger" instead of "blackguard." (I assume that's what you intended.) Why not edit that, and catch even more fish with this?

By Jason Haggstrom on April 19, 2011 at 6:42 PM

@BC:

You got it, but I meant to use "blaggard." Didn't even realize it derived from "blackguard" until looking it up just now. That's what I get for trying to impersonate the British.

By BC on April 19, 2011 at 8:58 PM

I've actually never seen the word spelled as blaggard. Is that really a common variant? Heh, I learn something new every day.

By Jason Haggstrom on April 19, 2011 at 9:10 PM

Somehow I'm guessing it's the Americanized variant. I'm counting the minutes until somebody tells me that Hitch would never spell it that way... ;)

By Kframe on April 19, 2011 at 9:11 PM

P. Lopez: Hitchcock was Calvinist, not Catholic. This is significant when viewing his work.

By wcmartell on April 20, 2011 at 6:02 AM

Paul Schrader is/was Calvanist, Hitchcock was Catholic.

- Bill (OBSESSION fan)

By Bob Fool on April 23, 2011 at 7:50 AM

April Fool's everyone

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