19 March 2017

Hitchcock's financial problems

Recently I've moved from my hometown Amsterdam in The Netherlands to Barcelona, Spain. As things have been rather hectic, I haven't had time to blog for a while. I do miss it though and, now that everything has settled down a bit, I will try and post again on a regular basis. 

The letter for this post concerns the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock. On 1 August 1977, Hitch wrote to a woman named Ann, speaking of the financial difficulties he was having. I was surprised to learn that Hitch was having money problems, since a decade earlier he had personally earned $15 million with Psycho (1960). I could find no information as to what happened to his fortune, but the letter shows that by 1977 Hitch was short on cash and had trouble paying for his wife Alma's medical bills, some of which were even covered by Medicare.

Incidentally, at the time Hitch was making Family Plot, which was to be his last film and which he referred to in his letter as "a miserable picture".



August 1st 1977

Dear Ann, 

I regret having to write you in this way, but we are entering a phase of financial problems.
It is mainly due to the fact that Alma's second stroke  has now gone on for two years, and the progress of recovery is extremely slow. 
At present we are involved with two nurses -day and night- two therapists daily at least five days a week with twelve hours each and they come to a considerable amount of money-- $420 each a week. Luckily a little of this is absorbed by Medicare.
In consequence I regret to say that we will have to reduce the gift to your mother to ten dollars a month starting with Sept 1977.
Incidentally I am already contributing to the maintenance of my sister in England, and this is natural as she is my only living relative. 
None of this would worry me so much if it wasn't due to the fact that I personally work on a salary and I haven't received any for the last picture since the first day of shooting which was May 12 1975.
It is a miserable picture, but remember I am basically a salary earner, just as you are today.
I do sincerely wish you well in spite of these unpleasant financial miseries. 

With fondest love
Hitch and wife Alma Reville photographed in 1939. The couple married in 1926 and remained married until Hitchcock's death in 1980; Reville died two years later.