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Henry Bumstead - quotes

Quotations relating to Henry Bumstead.

Bumstead recalls spending a weekend in 1957 at Hitchcock's second home in Scotts Valley, California....

I went up to Santa Cruz for his birthday when we were making Vertigo, for instance. His daughter Pat was there, and we were on the veranda as the phone was ringing with well-wishers. Hitch was quite a guy. I couldn't keep up with him. You know, he would even carry your bags up to your room. He had terrific energy. I couldn't drink as much as he could, either. I would have to go to bed by midnight, and even then I would be dead the next morning. But not Hitch.

Film Pre-Production

Hitchcock had long been known to be one of the early directors to storyboard and do conceptual designs. And, of course, with the conceptual designs that came from the production designer, Henry Bumstead. But Hitchcock, personally, would do some of the storyboards, and then he'd commission Tommy Wright to do a number of the storyboards for him. And he would meet with Tommy and tell him exactly how he saw it. He'd look at those drawings and make adjustments.

Film Production

Hitchcock tried to use the same crew over and over again, at least the ones he liked, as do all of us. Edith Head did the costumes, and Henry Bumstead, who had won two Oscars at that time and a number of nominations, was the production designer. Lenny South, the cameraman, was actually recommended by the studio but had worked as only Hitch's operator in the past, not as a cameraman. Some of the other key positions were new. But he liked to be comfortable. But even though he worked with these people, there were very few who ever talked to him.

Hitch had wanted to shoot in San Francisco. I had looked for two days for this location, for this spooky house on a corner with a garage situation, and the set was all lit. So, up drives Hitch with his driver, Ole, and the window went down just a little bit. And Hitch says, "What are we doing here?" So, I says, this is exterior so on, so on, this and that, And he says, "Why are we doing it here?" I said, "Hitch, you wanted to do it here." And he says, "Well, how do you expect me to get a performance out of my actors in this cold weather?" And he said, "That's the trouble with you young art directors." He says, "You have no imagination. I think we'd better do it back at the studio." With that, the window went up, and the car drove off. So, the whole schedule changed.

But anyway, we built the set, and it was very nice. Now, comes to the time to shoot the set... Hitch always drove right on the stage with his car, took six or seven steps to his chair and now he says, "This is more like it. This is nice." "Well, do you like it?" He says, "It's beautiful." So I said, "Well, then, everything's okay?" And he says, "Fine." Well, I never stay with the company, and once Hitch says it's okay — or any director — I'm off, 'cause I'm working ahead of the company. And I'd taken about ten steps, and Hitch says, "Bummy, my friends in San Francisco tell me that of all the corners in San Francisco, "you picked the coldest. How did you manage?" So, what could I say? I just said, "It wasn't easy, Hitch."

Hitch always had two or three things he was very adamant about. In ''Family Plot'', he was very adamant about that high shot in the cemetery. You really followed what he had in mind on those, and gave him what he wanted, you know.

Henry Bumstead (2001)