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.

8 Responses

  1. Do I remember it right? Tippi Hedren's cute blonde updo being pulled apart by the BIRDS! Augh! Get them out of my hair!

    • Troy Petenbrink says:

      You have it correct. Here is the clip from the movie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hplpQt424Ls. As you will see the school looks very much the same — absent the playground equipment. I will note that the body of water that you see the children running toward in the movie is actually many miles away from the school (creative editing or very fast kids).

  2. Traveling Adventures of a Farm Girl says:

    I enjoyed your blog. A few years ago I was able to go to the Southern Illinois site where the plane went down for the movie the Fugitive.

    Cindy Ladage http://travelingadventuresofafarmgirl.com/

  3. I'd love to see the actual place where they filmed Nights on Rodanthe and Field of Dreams. I have been to New York, where I have seen countless filming locations

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  6. daytona says:

    The school is now privately owned and closed to the public , I will note that the body of water.

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Kwin MosbyKwin is Managing Producer of TravelChannel.com. His multimedia career has included working as a TV news reporter/producer and publications editor. What inspires Kwin to travel? It’s relaxing beach locations, vibrant...

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