Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest was the first ever film to be shot on location at The Plaza Hotel. Founded in 1907, movie scenes that appeared to be in hotel were merely Hollywood’s replica backdrops, in 1959 The luxurious Plaza Hotel made it’s first official debut on the silver screen.
The Plaza was the location for the dramatic sequence where Roger O. Thornhill (Cary Grant) is mistaken for a government agent and kidnapped from the famous lobby.
Like The Plaza, New York City landmark, Grand Central Station had also been the setting of many films, prior to the 1950’s. Filming on location had become all the rage in the 50’s. Hitchcock wasn’t hesitant to go on location for filming Roger O. Thornhill‘s (Cary Grant) escape from New York City. North by Northwest is one of the first films to shoot inside Grand Central.
A particular scene in the film called for Roger O. Thornhill (Cary Grant) to enter the United Nations. When production could not get permission to film on location at the UN building, Hitchcock’s resolution was to set up a hidden camera and film Grant entering as if he were just an average pedestrian. Hitchcock got the exterior shot, but a matte painting was used for the interior.
1958 the Associated Press released information that Alfred Hitchcock had plans to fulfill his ambition of filming a chase scene through the four famous faces of Mount Rushmore.
The press was eager to find out what tricks the famous director has in mind for the star-studded cast. During an interview, Hitchcock revealed, that scene anticipated to be shot on the national landmark would be filled with fighting and deaths.
Once the information was released to the public, it was not long until government officials banned the film from being shot on site and the team was sent back to Hollywood where MGM had no other choice but to create a replica of the monument for filming purposes.
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