Shown upper left is rooftop photography on a Paramount soundstage
of To Catch a Thief, Hitchcock's first film
in VistaVision. Upper right, an uncharactersitic Hitchcock in shirtsleeves
as he shoots on location in Marakesh for his remake of The
Man Who Knew Too Much. Both pictures depict the Technicolor conversions
to VistaVision. These cameras held 1,000 foot rolls, which provided 1/2
the shooting time of conventional 35mm photography. The coaxial 2,000 foot
magazine was developed to allow for longer running times.
Back on the Paramount sound stage, breathy Doris Day had a stint as one of Hitchcock's blonde leading ladies in his VistaVision - Technicolor version of The Man Who Knew Too Much. Day played opposite James Stewart in the role of a Broadway singer. Que Sera, Sera didn't seem to help the film, though it became a pop hit. Hitchcock seems not to be paying close attention to Day's facial expression.
The small light mounted underneath the camera lens is frequently called an "Obie", ostensibly named after actress Merle Oberon, who, despite being a beauty, is reported to have had complexion problems that were solved by placing a fill light in this position. Whether or not that's the real source of the term, we really can't say.
Cary Grant's troubles are about to begin as Hitchcock shoots him entering
a taxi on location in Manhattan. The camera seen at left is the elephant
ear model developed by Mitchell. The film is Hitchcock's only M-G-M film,
North by Northwest. The film is argueably
Hitchcock's best American effort and it was most certainly the most
popular with both critics and audiences. The script was written by the near
genius of screen writers Ernest Lehman, working closely with Hitchcock.
Eva Marie Saint and a not so menacing James Mason on the set of the hilarious Chicago auction scene in North by Northwest. The elephant ear camera swells with the addition of a soundproof blimp. Click on the picture at right to see a large version of the photo.You are on Page 4 of
Photo courtesy of Stephen Paley
Read the complete text of the VistaVision article written for
WideGauge Film and Video Monthly
©1996 - 2004 The American WideScreen Museum
Martin Hart, Curator