Saturday, January 17, 2009


The silent, choppy zoom into the face of the dead farmer, his eye sockets pecked clean by "The Birds" is one of my earliest movie memories. I must have been only 3 or 4, but I can vividly remember the scene, watched on our console television, on the ABC Sunday Night Movie in the early 80's. Since that night I have been, even if I didn't know it at the time, a fan of Alfred Hitchcock.

When I was 10 I received my first Hitchcock VHS - "Psycho" - for Christmas. From there, my collection grew and has slowly switched over to DVDs and digital downloads, and will probably transition into BluRay Discs when my desire for additional bonus features gets the best of me.

I experienced the ultimate "bonus feature" this week when I went on a scavenger hunt of Hitch's filming locations in the bay area for the movies "Vertigo", "The Birds" and "Shadow of a Doubt". I was even able to stay in the hotel where a pivotal scene in "Vertigo" was filmed. Formerly called The Empire Hotel, it is currently being renovated and is now aptly named Hotel Vertigo. Below are a few photos of my hotel room, followed by photos that I took of the movie locations compared to scenes in each of Hitchcock's three films...I find it especially interesting comparing plant/tree growth in the images - it is cool to see how high a tree can grow in 40 years (click on images to enlarge)







THE BIRDS - 1963

The "Bodega Bay School" (The Potter School)









SHADOW OF A DOUBT
- 1943



"The Newton Home" Santa Rosa, California


The Santa Rosa Train Depot, where ominous black smoke signaled "Uncle Charlie's" arrival.




VERTIGO
- 1958




The Empire Hotel, currently being renovated as Hotel Vertigo...
Judy (Kim Novak) lived on the 3rd floor, I stayed on the 6th...


Scotty's (Jimmy Stewart) Apartment on Lombard St. near Coit Tower...


Midge's (Barbara Bel Geddes of Dallas fame) Apartment...


Another view near Midge's apartment...


Madelyn's (Kim Novak) apartment...


The Palace of Fine Arts...


I also visited the Argonaut Bookshop, on which the Argosy Bookshop was based. The store has been relocated, but it is still owned by the son of the original owner. I was able to speak with him and he told me that Hitchcock would visit the store when he was in the city and got to be friends with his father. He also signed his photo in the book "Footsteps in the Fog" which outlines Hitchcock's northern California filming locations. I should have bought this book sooner -- it would have come in handy!