Alcohol - It's Just Medicine

Brandon Shaw: I've always thought that it was out of character for David to drink anything as corrupt as Whiskey.
Phillip Morgan: Out of character for him to be murdered, too.
(Rope, 1948)


Rope, 1948

John Dall and James Stewart in Rope (1948).


Alcohol in Alfred Hitchcock's Films


When Roddy (Roderick comes home sick and exhausted), the butler is bringing him a drink

Easy Virtue

Mrs Filton's husband is drinking. She complains that he twisted her arm when he was drunk

Mrs. Filton's new boyfriend is mixing a drink as if he is masturbating


The policeman asks for brandy, but the bottle is empty, so he goes to get some at the police station

Fane has got brandy (Martell) in his wardrobe at the circus. He says he drinks to calm his nerves.

Number Seventeen

The hobo Ben takes a sip of the brandy in Barton's flask after having fallen down the stairs.

The Ackroyd girl drinks brandy after having fallen through the roof window.

Ben drinks Tonic Wine on the train when he is in a wagon full of wine.

The 39 Steps

Hannay drinks whisky at the inn when he is handcuffed to Pamela (Madeleine Carroll), and then he exclaims: "That's better!"

Young and Innocent

Erica (Nova Pilbeam) asks for brandy to Tisdall when she gives his first-aid at the police station by massaging his ears violently.


Maxim gives his second wife something to drink in the car right after it was discovered that there was a hole in the boat. "It’ll do you good," he says.

Foreign Correspondent

The journalist who receives Huntley Haverstock in London, Stebbins (Robert Benchley), can for health reasons not drink alcohol. He drinks milk and evies Haverstock who drinks whisky. Stebbins says the milk tasted better when he was an infant.

At the Peace Party reception Haverstock meets a Latvian weirdo. They can't communicate because of the language barrier, but when they are served cocktail, Haverstock comments: "The universal language."

Mr. and Mrs. Smith

David's wife to his colleague: "This isn’t alcohol, it’s medicine!"


Barry Kane wants to give his deceased friend's mother brandy when he is offering her his sincere condolences.

Shadow of a Doubt

Uncle Charlie brings imported wine for dinner and champagne for the party after the meeting. He quotes the Bible: "Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities." (1 Timothy 5:23)

After the murder attempt in the garage, little Charlie is offered brandy.

Stage Fright

I the lying flashback Jonathan gives Charlotte Inwood a drink saying: "I thought I had some Brandy... Here, drink this!"

The detective Wilfrid O. 'Ordinary' Smith (Michael Wilding) offers Eve, who pretends she is ill, brandy. "A little Brandy can’t do you any harm!" he says.

Rear Window (1954)

The song-writer arrives drunk in his apartement after having been out, apparently having drowned his frustrations in alcohol.

Miss Lonelyheart drinks to get strength before she leaves the apartement to meet a man.

Vertigo (1958)

In Gavin Elster's (Tom Helmore) office, Elster is offering Scottie (James Stewart) a drink, but Scottie rejects saying it's too early on the day for a drink.

After Gavin Elster has told Scottie about Madeleine and Carlotta at the Club, Scottie takes a drink saying : "Boy, I do need this!"

Scottie says to Judy: "Here, Judy, drink this straight down - it's just like medicine."

At Scottie's place after having bought clothes, Scottie gives Judy a drink because she is sad he doesn't love her for who she is.

North by Northwest

Roger O. Thornhill (Cary Grant) asks his secretary to tell his mother not to smell his breath (he is going to take a couple of Martini's with his business associates.

Leonard calls forcing Thornhill to drink "a libation".

Driving under the influence: Thornhill's wild ride to save his life (parallelled in Family Plot).


Mark asks Marnie if she wants a Cognac.


Blaney (Jon Finch) loses his job as a bartender being accused of drinking without paying for it.

Family Plot

Blanche Tyler needs a sherry after playing a psychic at Mrs Rainbird's house.

Maloney needs a drink when he visits Arthur Adamson at his jewelry store.



Is there any brandy in the house?

North by Northwest

Cary Grant, alcohol

Cary Grant experiences "the universal language" of alcohol in North by Northwest. Medicine or a lethal weapon?



Brandon: But why should I want to come back?
Phillip Morgan: Yes, why?
Brandon: For the pleasure of our company, or another drink?
Rupert Cadell: That's a very good idea. May I have one for the road?
(Rope, 1948)

Rear Window (1954)

Miss Lonelyhearts. Rear Window

Miss Lonelyhearts drinks to get strength before she leaves the apartement to meet a man.



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