London, Aug 17 : Alfred Hitchcock may a secret guest appearance in one of his most famous films, his fans believe. Debate is raging on movie message boards over whether a plump, jowly woman who briefly features as a train passenger in North by Northwest was actually the acclaimed film director in drag.
Hitchcock was known for making quirky cameo appearances in his movies, but was never previously thought to have played a woman.
The key scene comes around 44 minutes into North by Northwest, which was released in 1959.
The woman, who wears a turquoise dress and blue and white hat, is one of several passengers who have their tickets checked by an inspector.
She has no dialogue in the film, but in the original script dug out by Hitchcock fans she exchanges three terse lines with the guard.
She is described in the stage directions as "a little huffy", after the inspector queries whether she has handed over her ticket.
The woman's resemblance to the director's famous fat-cheeked silhouette was first pointed out on an Alfred Hitchcock fan forum.
Davey P was one of several commenters who thinks the theory may have some credence.
"We know from some of Hitch's biographies that he wasn't averse to dressing up as woman for the amusement of guests at his house," the Telegraph quoted him, as writing on the Alfred Hitchcok Wiki Forum.
"Also, one of the central themes of North by Northwest is that nobody is who they seem to be," he added.
But other commenters have pointed out that Hitchcock's ample belly should make more of a bulge than is visible under the woman's dress.