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Film makers walk the streets in search of the unknown Hitchcock

PUBLISHED: 18:52 20 October 2008 | UPDATED: 13:42 05 October 2010

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FILM makers are looking for help with a new documentary about Alfred Hitchcock's early life in London's East End. The world-famous movie director lived as a young man in rooms above his parents' grocery store in Limehouse, near the London Docks

Mike Brooke

FILM makers are looking for help with a new documentary about Alfred Hitchcock’s early life in London’s East End.

The world-famous movie director lived as a young man in rooms above his parents’ grocery store in Limehouse, near the London Docks.

He was born in Leytonstone in 1899 and would go on to create some of the most successful films of all time, including Rear Window, The Birds and Psycho.

The documentary being made by Hackney’s McGuffin Film Society will explore the lesser-known facts about his early life while identifying the key sites from his youth which still exist today.

Hitchcock spent much of his later childhood and teenage years in Limehouse, at the store off the Commercial Road in Salmon Lane. The young director later occupied the flat above.

His sister Nellie married the landlord of a local pub and a second family shop also existed near Tower Bridge, although its exact whereabouts is unknown.

Hitchcock went to St Ignatius College in Hackney, where he developed his love of literature and drama. Every Sunday he would also travel to the St Francis of Assisi RC Church in The Grove at Stratford with his mother and sister.

“Hitchcock remains a film icon of international reputation—yet few people are aware of his roots in East London,” said the film society’s Bill Hodgson.

“We hope the documentary illustrates why his early days and surroundings had a profound impact on his later work and why his legacy is still of value to East London.”

Location filming has already started in East London and various rare archive films have also been secured for the production.

The documentary is hoped to be completed in time for a major Hitchcock event next summer. A previous film by the society about Walthamstow’s historic EMD Cinema has been released on DVD, while the new Hitchcock film is also likely to be made commercially available.

The McGuffin Film Society wants to hear from anyone who may be able to help with the project with information or insights about the time Hitchcock grew up in East London.

Its address is 458 Hoe Street, Walthamstow, London E17 9AH. The society’s website is:

www.mcguffin.info

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