‘Hitchcock’ home designs nail late-1950s style
“Hitchcock,” which opens Friday starring Anthony Hopkins as the famed director and Helen Mirren as his wife, has a lot more to catch the eye than Scarlett Johansson’s re-creation of the Bates Motel shower scene in “Psycho.” Production designer Judy Becker walked us through the film’s varied interiors, which run from from Old Hollywood parlor to Jet Age kitchen to midcentury bachelor pad at the beach.
“We followed their basic taste,” said Becker, who pored over period photographs of Alfred and Alma Hitchcock’s clapboard, pre-World War II residence in Bel-Air and consulted vintage swatch cards for wall paint colors. “Alma loved to garden and swim, which is reflected in cut flowers throughout the house, floral wallpapers and a color palette of corals, yellows and aqua. Alfred was an avid art collector and interested in architecture, designing a stainless steel kitchen that was very modern for its time.”
Becker, whose credits include “Brokeback Mountain” and “Silver Linings Playbook,” went for a more streamlined Moderne approach in the “Hitchcock” kitchen: glass-front cabinetry and countertops and a graphic patterned floor made from four contrasting neutral colors of sheet Marmoleum cut into tiles at Linoleum City in Los Angeles.
“We wanted to make a bridge from traditionalism to modernism,” she said.
The refrigerator was bought from Savon Appliance, a vintage appliance dealer and refurbisher in Burbank.
“We choose the fridge because of the interesting handle with the round detail,” said set decorator Robert Gould, whose father, Charles, worked as a second unit director on Hitchcock’s “Psycho.”
“It had an innuendo of a peep hole, a subtle way of referencing Hitchcock’s voyeurism throughout the film.”
Director Sacha Gervasi wanted to emphasize Hitchcock’s English roots with a Tudor mansion (exteriors of which were shot at a rental home on Alpine Drive in Beverly Hills) and interiors and furnishings that were more traditional, including a living room and wood-paneled study filmed on location in a Pasadena home.
The Hitchcock boudoir, however, was designed with a photograph of the couple’s bedroom.
“It looked like a nice, traditional hotel room from the period, with a tailored headboard, fitted bedspread and bench all upholstered in the same fabric,” said Becker. “We did go for a little Hollywood Regency.”
Inspired by the images of architectural photographer Julius Shulman, Becker’s design for a beach house embraces the sleek style of Scandinavian-accented, late 1950s California modernism and amps up the color scheme. The result is an interior that captures the era and mood yet still resonates with contemporary audiences.
“This living room could be today, we all wanted to live in it,” Becker said. “Today, most of us feel overwhelemed by clutter. Back then people didn’t have as much stuff, and it was a period in which furniture design was simple but sophisticated, a period that has not been matched before or after. When we look at a space like this, light and airy with sleek, well-designed furniture it just looks so enticing.”