“The culture at that time was trying to deny that homosexuality even existed, and here they had well known Hollywood players involved in it, so they didn’t want to see what was there. […] What is extraordinary about [Rope] is its treatment of homosexuality. I mean today it still is one of the most sophisticated movies ever made on that subject; probably treats them more as people than anybody else has. Hitchcock certainly knew that, and it certainly attracted him. And what he liked was not that they were homosexual, but that they were homosexual murderers. If they were just murderers he wouldn’t have been interested, if they were just homosexual he wouldn’t have been interested. You had to have another little twist to it…”
— as told by Arthur Laurents, the screenwriter of Rope, a 1948 film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, adapted from a 1929 play based on a real murder case. Arthur Laurents, both of the actors portraying the couple (John Dall and Farley Granger), and the composer of the featured piano score were all known to be gay in real life (though it’s said that Granger resented the gay label, and he officially came out as bisexual towards the end of his life). The character played by Jimmy Stewart in Rope was also gay, but the final version of the script was so subtle due to censorship that Laurents was unsure if Stewart ever realized he was playing a gay character.
Torn Curtain (1966, dir, Alfred Hitchcock)
1. Albert Whitlock’s matte painting of the inside of an East Berlin museum. Torn Curtain was shot during the Cold War, which made it prohibitive to film in the actual location.
2. The soundstage set at Universal Studios
3. In the final composite shot, Paul Newman strides across a “virtual” set.
“In this shot Newman had nothing real to react to, and being a Method actor, he needed an environment. So he asks, ‘Hitch, what’s my motivation for walking in on a straight line?’ And Hitchcock says, ‘If you don’t, you will disappear under the matte painting.’”
North By Northwest by Malc Foy
The 39 Steps (1935, dir. Alfred Hitchcock)
Submitted by MattOwen
The Birds by Corey Holms
From Rebecca’s opening sequence (1940, dir. Alfred Hitchcock, based on Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca)
“Last night, I dreamt I went to Manderley again.
It seemed to me I stood by the iron gate leading to the drive, and for a while I could not enter, for the way was barred to me. Then, like all dreamers, I was possessed of a sudden with supernatural powers and passed like a spirit through the barrier before me. The drive wound away in front of me, twisting and turning as it had always done. But as I advanced, I was aware that a change had come upon it. Nature had come into her own again, and little by little had encroached upon the drive with long tenacious fingers.
And finally, there was Manderley - Manderley - secretive and silent as it had always been, the grey stone shining in the moonlight of my dream. I looked upon a desolate shell, with no whisper of a past about its staring walls. We can never go back to Manderley again.”
Cary Grant & Eva Marie Saint on the set of North by Northwest (1959, dir. Alfred Hitchcock)
Alarmed by reports that North by Northwest’s Mount Rushmore sequence would feature the actors engaging in murderous shenanigans all over the former presidents’ faces, including throwing an enemy agent off Lincoln’s nose to his death, Rushmore authorities denied Hitchcock’s request to shoot on location.
Instead, the sequence was shot on a sound stage using enormous, rear-projected still photographs as the background against which the actors were filmed. Set designer Robert Boyle also used studio mock-ups of sections of the stone heads – “just enough to put the actors on so we could get down shots, up shots, side shots, whatever we needed.”
Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, Martin Landau & Lincoln’s nose in North by Northwest (1959, dir. Alfred Hitchcock)
“In North by Northwest during the scene on Mount Rushmore I wanted Cary Grant to hide in Abraham Lincoln’s nostril and then have a fit of sneezing. The Parks Commission of the Department of Interior was rather upset at this thought. I argued until one of their number asked me how I would like it if they had Lincoln play the scene in Cary Grant’s nose. I saw their point at once.”
-Alfred Hitchcock, 1965 (via Hitchcock on Hitchcock: Selected Writings and Interviews)