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Suits in Alfred Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent

KILO NOVEMBER

Practically Family
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969
Location
Hurricane Coast Florida
I was re-watching Foreign Correspondent again last night. One scene I vividly remembered was how Johnny Jones outwits the assassins by slipping out the window of the bathroom in his hotel suite.

The scene combines silliness with real tension. Jones is sitting in his room planning to go out. He is in his underwear, wearing a dressing gown and his shoes. Seeing a man fleeing for his life on a building ledge in his underwear with his shoes, socks, and sock garters (suspenders for the UK crowd) is pretty funny to me.

It got me thinking though. I've seen other movies of the period (this was a 1940 release) where men are dressing to go out and are wearing their shoes, but haven't yet put on their pants. I imagine the idea was to keep the pants from wrinkling, but it occurred to me that unless the guy was planning to remove his shoes, put his pants on, and then put the shoes on again (not likely), the pants legs must have been HUGE in order to permit him to put his pants on while wearing his shoes.

So I got to looking carefully at the suits. There is a scene where Jones and the chief villain are together. Each is wearing a suit I'd really like to own. I've posted some screen captures below.

Can any of you comment on the pockets of the jackets? Neither jacket appears to have flaps over the pockets. Was that a common feature of the day, or has the director had them tuck the flaps into the pockets so that they can insert and remove their hands more easily?
fischer-and-jones.jpg

fischer-front.jpg

fischer-back.jpg

fischer-lapel-close-up.jpg

tweed-front-view.jpg

jones-back.jpg

jones-lapels.jpg
 
Last edited:

skyvue

Call Me a Cab
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2,221
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New York City
I think slipping into vintage trousers with one's shoes on doesn't generally present a problem. It doesn't with any of my vintage trousers, in any case.
 

avedwards

Call Me a Cab
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2,425
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London and Midlands, UK
From my experience, I would have no problem putting the trousers of my 40s suit on whilst wearing shoes. However I never do so because I don't want to get the inside of the trousers dirty. I could probably squeeze into the trousers of my 50s suits whilst wearing shoes but it would not be quite as easy because the trousers are still wide but significantly less wide than the 40s suit.

Regarding flapless pockets, I believe they were quite common back then, as were flapped pockets. I think there was just more variety then than now. To my knowledge it wasn't until after the 70s that pocket flaps became the default.
 

Matt_the_chap

One of the Regulars
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129
Location
Sheffield, England
I've not tried it personally, due to being too afraid for my trousers - it'd be possible with most of my suits though - except one 1938 number with legs that are more tapered than on my modern suit.
 

H.Johnson

One Too Many
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1,562
Location
Midlands, UK
This practice (puuting on trousers after shoes) was normal for the 1930s and 40s generation. When I started to wear modestly slim cut trousers in the late 1950s ('drainpipes' were at the more extreme end of fashion) my father's cronies would invariably ask, 'How do you put your trousers on over you shoes?' and I used to think, 'Why would I want to?'
 

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