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BFI (2012) - The trouble with Vermont




The trouble with Vermont

Nathalie Morris, Wednesday, 15 August 2012

This week in 1899, Alfred Hitchcock and his future wife and creative partner Alma Reville were born one day apart – on 13 and 14 August. To mark their anniversary, curator Nathalie Morris unearths a letter Reville sent from the location shoot of The Trouble with Harry, where the autumnal New England colours that Hitchcock so wanted to capture were quickly fading from the trees.

In October 1954, Alfred Hitchcock and his wife Alma Reville arrived in Vermont, along with the cast and crew of The Trouble with Harry (1955). Starring Shirley MacLaine, John Forsythe and Edmund Gwenn, this blackly comic tale of a corpse that refuses to remain buried strongly appealed to Hitchcock’s rather macabre sense of humour.

Shooting on Hitchcock’s previous film, To Catch a Thief (1954), had only wrapped a couple of months before, but the director went almost immediately into The Trouble with Harry because he was desperate to capture the glorious but fleeting autumn colours of the New England landscape. Events, however, conspired against him, as this letter written by Hitchcock’s wife Alma Reville to British producer and exhibitor (and old Hitchcock family friend and business associate) Sidney Bernstein, attests.

The Lodge
Smuggler’s Notch
Oct 7th

My Dear Sidney,
I’m sure you can’t wait to try the recipe on the other side.

It’s a heavenly place here – but we now have your ‘summer’ weather – rain,
rain and more rain. Even so they are managing to get a few magnificent shots,
and getting all the interiors done in an American Legion Drill Hall, about
2 x 4!

Thanks for sending the cuttings on Peter Baker – what a dreadful thing to
happen. I can’t get them out of my mind – his parents, I mean. It is
especially hard with all Reg’s pomposity.

When are we going to see you? We...