Jump to: navigation, search

Life (1943) - Shadow of a Doubt: $5,000 Production





Hitchcock makes thriller under WPB order on new sets

As a director of movies like The Lady Vanishes, Foreign Correspondent, Rebecca and Saboteur, Alfred Hitchcock has already proved himself ingenious in creating suspense-filled melodramas. As a director of one of the first movies to be produced under the Government restriction placing a $5,000 ceiling on new materials used for sets, he has shown he has more than one trick up his sleeve. Accustomed to spending more than $100,000 on sets alone for one picture, Hitchcock made Shadow Of A Doubt by reverting to the "location shooting" of early movie days. Instead of elaborate sets he used the real thing. To shoot scenes supposed to take place in New Jersey, he traveled cross-country and shot them in New Jersey. Instead of building a studio version of a typical American city, his main setting, he searched for a ready-made one. Selecting Santa Rosa, Calif. (pop. 13,000), Hitchcock with his cast and crew took over the entire city for four weeks, converted it into a complete motion-picture studio. The result is an exciting and highly realistic film, whose new set cost, mainly for studio replicas, was well under the imposed limit. The pictures on these pages of Hitchcock & Company in New Jersey, Santa Rosa and Hollywood, taken by three of LIFE's photographers, document the making of a motion picture in wartime.


 Exterior of House, Front       $1,200.00	
 Exterior of House, Back           217.00	
 Interiors, Both Floors            430.00	
 Garage                            101.00	
 interior of Library                38.50	
 Interior of Train                OLD SET
 Interior of Restaurant           OLD SET 
 Cafe and Bar                      211.00
 Wall Paper, Drapes, Paint, etc.   781.50
 Total                          $2,979.00


Besides turning Santa Rosa into a great movie studio for four weeks, Alfred Hitchcock did a final bit of magic and turned one of the city's younger children into a motion-picture starlet. Before the Shadow of a Doubt company moved into town, 10-year-old Edna May Wonacott was just another little girl who rode home from school on a bus and occasionally helped her father run his grocery store. Today she has a 7-year contract and a prediction from Hitchcock that she will be a star within a year.

The reason for this sudden transformation came about when Director Hitchcock wanted a little girl with freckles, pigtails and glasses to play the part of Teresa Wright's young sister. He looked around Santa Rosa for such a girl, just as he had looked for houses, banks and churches. Spying Edna May Wonacott, Hitchcock gave her a brief conclusive test, rushed her into the picture. Unlikely to be spoiled by Hollywood glamour, Edna May will go on living in Santa Rosa. According to her contract she can make only two pictures a year, these when school is out for the summer.