By Troy Petenbrink
Photography by Troy Petenbrink
With the recent release of HBO’s The Girl and the current success of Hitchcock starring Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren and Scarlett Johansson, there has been renewed interest in one of the world’s most well-known (and somewhat creepy) movie directors.
Alfred Hitchcock fans — new and old — will be happy to know that many of the settings from his movies are still around and accessible.
I actually imagined myself as Melanie Daniels (played back in the day by Tippi Hedren) during a recent visit to Potter School House near the California coastal town of Bodega Bay. (Luckily, unlike Tippi, I was not attacked by a flock of crazed crows.) The school and the town featured prominently in The Birds. The school is now privately owned and closed to the public but is perfect for pictures.
Hitchcock also filmed nearly all of Shadow of a Doubt on location in Santa Rosa, CA, just a short drive east of Bodega Bay and in the heart of California wine country. The family home of the main characters at 904 McDonald Avenue and the old train depot at 9 Fourth Street, seen when the serial murderer Uncle Charlie (played by Joseph Cotten) arrives in town, remain relatively unchanged.
If you have been dying to yell “Norman!” like Norman Bates’ mother in Psycho, you can head to Universal Studios Hollywood to visit a studio lot with the original Psycho house and a recreated Bates Motel (the original motel set was destroyed in a fire).
Many of the settings from Vertigo can still be found throughout San Francisco. The Brocklebank, the grand L-shaped apartment building where Kim Novak’s character lived, and 900 Lombard Street, the setting for Jimmy Stewart’s character’s flat, look much the same as when the movie was filmed here more than 50 years ago.
While most of Hitchcock’s US movies were filmed in California, there are still other locations across the country with ties to the director. In North by Northwest, Cary Grant’s character is abducted from New York City’s The Plaza hotel. (The hotel also appeared in many other films, including Funny Girl, Arthur and The Cotton Club). And in 1964’s Marnie, Tippi Hedren’s character stays at the historic Red Fox Inn and Tavern in Middleburg, VA.
The website The Worldwide Guide to Movie Locations offers a comprehensive and easily navigable guide to all of Hitchcock’s films.