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Transatlantic Pictures

Hitchcock and Bernstein

During the summer of 1945, whilst the pair were working on German Concentration Camps Factual Survey for the British Ministry of Information, Hitchcock had proposed the idea of forming an independent film production company to Sidney Bernstein.[1]

Bernstein had been considering a number of possible post-war career options, but felt that Hitchcock's proposal was the most interesting. The director had also pitched a similar idea to actor Cary Grant.

Following the end of the war, Bernstein travelled to California and the pair decided not to include Grant as a partner in the proposed company.

Initial press reports from August and September 1945 had indicated the company's first project would be a modern-language version of Hamlet, with Grant in the title role. Over the following months, Under Capricorn and The Life of Keir Hardie were also reported as planned projects for the company.

Transatlantic Pictures was officially launched in April 1946, with Under Capricorn to be their first production, starring Ingrid Bergman. A few months later, Hitchcock proposed to speedily film an adaptation of Patrick Hamilton's 1929 play Rope using long takes and this became the company's first production.

The first two Transatlantic films, Rope (1948) and Under Capricorn (1949), both released in the United States by Warner Bros., did poorly at the box office. A third film, Stage Fright (1950), began as a Transatlantic production before moving to Warner Bros.

During the production of I Confess, Bernstein decided that Transatlantic Pictures was unlikely to have a successful future and the partnership with Hitchcock was amicably dissolved. Bernstein then returned to England where he founded the independent Granada Television company.

Amongst the unfilmed properties acquired by Transatlantic, two were later purchased by Paramount — Dial M for Murder (1954) and To Catch a Thief (1955).

See Also...

Notes & References

  1. Much of the history of Transatlantic Pictures is documented in Sidney Bernstein: A Biography (1984) by Caroline Moorehead.