Royal Albert Hall, London
The Royal Albert Hall is a concert hall on the northern edge of South Kensington, in the City of Westminster, London, best known for holding the annual summer Proms concerts since 1941.
Since its opening by Queen Victoria in 1871, the world's leading artists from several performance genres have appeared on its stage and it has become one of the UK's most treasured and distinctive buildings.
The Ring (1927)
The climatic fight takes place in a packed Royal Albert Hall.
According to most sources, none of the fight was actually filmed in the Hall and Hitchcock used the Schüfftan process, which British International Pictures had recently licensed from Eugen Schüfftan, to give the illusion it was filmed there. Painter Walter Percy Day worked on the scene as an uncredited matte artist.
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)
Having discovered that a foreign head of state will be assassinated during a concert at the Albert Hall, Jill Lawrence attends the concert. During the performance, she is torn between disrupting the assassination and ensuring the safety of her daughter, Betty.
For wide shots, photographs of the interior of the Hall were blown up into large transparencies, onto which the Italian-born artist Fortunino Matania painted most of the audience. During periods when the Albert Hall was empty, the crew returned and used the transparencies and the Schüfftan process to insert a small number of actors amongst the painted audience to give the illusion that hundreds of extras had been used in the scenes. For tighter audience shots, around 50 seated extras in evening dress were used.
Arthur Benjamin's Storm Clouds Cantata was recorded live at the Hall, with H. Wynn Reeves conducting the London Symphony Orchestra and chorus. Parts of the performance were filmed in front of an audience of extras for editing into the final film.
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
The larger budget of the 1956 remake allowed Hitchcock to stage the assassination scene with a sizeable number of extras. Composer Bernard Herrmann extended Arthur Benjamin's Storm Clouds Cantata and can be seen conducting the London Symphony Orchestra and Covent Garden Chorus in the film.
Filming took place during June 1955, although many of the tighter shots were filmed back at Paramount where Henry Bumstead recreated the box office, sections of the curved corridors and the boxes of the assassin and his victim.
Albert Hall Staff Canteen
According to Gary Giblin, after struggling to locate a suitable location to double as the foreign embassy kitchen, production manager Doc Erickson and Hitchcock selected the staff canteen at the Albert Hall. The segments in the final film are a mixture of location footage and material shot later on the Paramount sound stages.
The other locations used for the embassy scenes were:
Other Links to Hitchcock
- The famous zoom effect in Vertigo (often credited to Irmin Roberts) was inspired by a drunken evening at the Hall. Speaking to Truffaut, Hitchcock recalled, "I always remember one night at the Chelsea Arts Ball at Albert Hall in London when I got terribly drunk and I had the sensation that everything was going far away from me. I tried to get that into Rebecca, but they couldn't do it. The viewpoint must be fixed, you see, while the perspective is changed as it stretches lengthwise."
- Hitchcock received the Academy Fellowship Award from the Society of Film and Television Arts during a ceremony at the Albert Hall on 4th March 4th 1971.
Notes & References
- Alfred Hitchcock's London: A Reference Guide to Locations (2009) by Gary Giblin, pages 174-77
- Hitchcock (1967) by François Truffaut, page 246