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San Francisco, California - quotes

Quotations relating to San Francisco.


Hitchcock wanted Bill Devane, but Bill Devane was not available. So, his second choice was Roy Thinnes, and we cast Roy Thinnes and began shooting the picture with Roy. I believe it was five days or six days after we were shooting with Roy Thinnes that Mr. Hitchcock found out that William Devane was available, and so he made the switch during production. Now, that meant we had to go back and reshoot some of the material.

I think it's always horrible when any actor is dismissed or fired. I think it's worse when you're not fired for any particular reason other than you were the second choice and the first choice is now available. I believe it was that very same evening when Hitchcock was having dinner at Jack's restaurant in San Francisco... that Roy Thinnes walked up to his table and said something to the fact, "You've dismissed me," or "Why did you dismiss me?" or "You did wrong." And he just stared him down, and Hitchcock was speechless, and in a very difficult situation and didn't like being there. And they just looked at each other for a long while, and then eventually Roy Thinnes left.

After Roy Thinnes left, we had to go back to Grace Cathedral and shoot the one scene where the bishop is kidnapped as well as other scenes had to be retaken. Now, if there were any shots in the sequence that didn't have Roy Thinnes in, then we only picked up those shots to replace the actor. We didn't shoot-necessarily shoot the entire scene over.

Film Production

One of the things he did at the very last minute, which was quite unusual for Hitchcock, was to really take away the set that it was originally designed in, or the period and location. Hitchcock had been famous for traveling the world and really opening up locations in filmmaking. And he said to me, "I want to take away anything "that said Northern California. I don't want any names on police cars. I don't want names on badges. I want you to investigate every person's name in the screenplay and make sure that that person really doesn't exist. And if he does, change it. I want it no city." And he never gave me an explanation for that. But it was a challenge to change it so that it became a nondescript city. We shot in San Francisco, we shot a great deal on the stages, but it was nondescript.

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)