Cinéma Cartier and Château Frontenac honour 60th anniversary of Hitchcock in Quebec City

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Photo: supplied by Michel Savoy, Cinéma Cartier

Alfred Hitchcock, master of suspense, was in Quebec City in August 1952 to film I Confess and returned to launch its premiere on February 12, 1953.

To celebrate the 60th year since the world-famous movie director and master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock came to Quebec City, Director Michel Savoy created the Hitchcock Film Festival to be held at the Cinéma Cartier where Hitchcock’s movie I Confess was first shown. The Festival will be devoted exclusively to the great British artist. Savoy selected 20 of Hitchcock’s hits which will be shown in the original English version with French subtitles from February 10 to 16.

I Confess was set and filmed in Quebec City and was based on a 1902 French play by Paul Anthelme called Nos Deux Consciences, a play Hitchcock saw in the 1930s in London. It is about a young priest, Father Michael William Logan, who becomes the prime suspect in a murder when he refuses to reveal the details of a parishioner’s confession. He was also involved in a love story before he took his vows of celibacy. Quebec City scenes accurately showed the city as it was in 1952. Simons, the National Assembly, the Château Frontenac and other sites figure in this priceless recording of the city.

When Savoy was recently at the Château Frontenac, he happened to mention his project to Geneviève Parent, head of public relations at the historic hotel where Alfred Hitchcock rented a suite in August 1952 while directing I Confess. Parent was immediately interested and the Château Frontenac has generously agreed to offer a grand prize to Hitchcock Film Festival goers. The lucky winner will spend one night in the luxurious and exclusive replica of Alfred Hitchcock’s suite at the Château Frontenac – a $500 to $800 value – where the master of mystery stayed and also filmed several scenes for his Quebec City thriller in August 1952. The draw will be held on February 16 and the winner will have one year in which to take advantage of their prize.

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The original poster that announced the Grande Premiere of I Confess in 1953. It is part of Renée Hudon’s personal memorabilia that she has carefully kept since she acted in it sixty years ago. Photo by Renée Hudon

The Alfred Hitchcock suite is named in honour of the rooms the master director had rented in 1952, though it is not the same as the one he had had. Hitchcock had taken a section in the oldest part of the renowned hotel which has since been renovated. However, today’s Alfred Hitchcock suite is also situated in the oldest circa 1893 wing. The room has a particularity about it. One accesses this junior suite by way of a winding staircase reached exclusively from the elevator by the bar at the back of the building. The suite covers the complete last floor in the northeast tower. It features a spacious half-moon living room, a luxurious bathroom and a king-size bed set in a master bedroom. Replica memorabilia – posters of the I Confess dual premiere – grace the walls and an Underwood typewriter of the times reposes on a side table to remind guests of how the famous director immortalized his work.

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The replica of Alfred Hitchcock’s suite at the Château Frontenac where the master of mystery stayed and also filmed several scenes for his Quebec City thriller I Confess in August 1952.    Photo supplied by Cinéma Cartier

The Festival will open with the first projection of I Confess (La loi du silence) on February 10 at 1:00 p.m. and the second will be on February 11 at 7 p.m. Short documentary footage that shows the Cinéma Cartier viewing for the silent characters and then Hitchcock, Anne Baxter and Quebec City actress Renée Hudon arriving at the Capitole Theatre for the Grande Premiere will be shown prior to these projections. Renée Hudon  played a 10-year-old girl who had seen the murderer escaping from the scene of the crime. Hudon still lives in Quebec City and vividly remembers the event. (see accompanying article)

The Hitchcock Film Festival will be held at Cinéma Cartier located at 1019 avenue Cartier. Check the website for the full list of movies and their showings and ticket prices. This is a huge treat for movie fans and history buffs to thoroughly enjoy !