Stage Fright (1950)

110 or 113 mins | Mystery | 24 February 1950

Director:

Alfred Hitchcock

Producer:

Alfred Hitchcock

Cinematographer:

Wilkie Cooper

Editor:

E. B. Jarvis

Production Designer:

Terence Verity

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

Selwyn Jepson's novel first appeared as a serial in Collier's from 9 Aug--13 Sep 1947. According to the production notes included in the film's file at the AMPAS Library, Marlene Dietrich's costumes were designed by Christian Dior. Some scenes were filmed on location at London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, in two residences in Mayfair, a London pub, the interior of the Scala Theatre and at locations around Chelsea. Director Alfred Hitchcock makes his customary cameo by walking past Jane Wyman on the street.
       Stage Fright marked the first speaking role of Hitchcock's daughter Patricia. An article in NYT reports that camera operator Jack Haste used the same self-propelling crane and special camera that were used in Hitchcock's "one-take" film Rope (See Entry). "The Laziest Gal in Town" was written especially for Dietrich by Cole Porter, and she made it one of her signature songs, performing it for years in her nightclub ... More Less

Selwyn Jepson's novel first appeared as a serial in Collier's from 9 Aug--13 Sep 1947. According to the production notes included in the film's file at the AMPAS Library, Marlene Dietrich's costumes were designed by Christian Dior. Some scenes were filmed on location at London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, in two residences in Mayfair, a London pub, the interior of the Scala Theatre and at locations around Chelsea. Director Alfred Hitchcock makes his customary cameo by walking past Jane Wyman on the street.
       Stage Fright marked the first speaking role of Hitchcock's daughter Patricia. An article in NYT reports that camera operator Jack Haste used the same self-propelling crane and special camera that were used in Hitchcock's "one-take" film Rope (See Entry). "The Laziest Gal in Town" was written especially for Dietrich by Cole Porter, and she made it one of her signature songs, performing it for years in her nightclub act. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
23 Feb 1950.
---
Hollywood Reporter
23 Feb 1950.
---
Motion Picture Herald
25 Feb 1950.
---
New York Times
14 Aug 1949.
---
New York Times
24 Feb 50
p. 27.
Variety
1 Mar 50
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Addl dial
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
Marlene Dietrich's cost
MUSIC
Mus cond
Mus dir
SOUND
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Man Running by Selwyn Jepson (New York, 1948).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"The Laziest Gal in Town," words and music by Cole Porter
"La vie en Rose," words by Edith Piaf, music by Louiguy.
DETAILS
Release Date:
24 February 1950
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 23 February 1950.
Production Date:
31 May--19 September 1949 at Elstree Studios, England
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Brothers Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
21 April 1950
Copyright Number:
LP83
Duration(in mins):
110 or 113
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
PCA No:
14269
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In London, as budding actress Eve Gill helps a frantic Jonathan Cooper escape from the police, he relates the events that led to his being accused of murder: Actress Charlotte Inwood, Jonathan's lover, arrives at his door, her dress covered in blood, and tells him that she killed her husband during a quarrel. Believing it would be best for Charlotte to perform as usual, Jonathan goes to her house to get her a clean dress. After he collects the dress, he arranges things to look as if a thief broke in and killed Charlotte's husband. As he is leaving, however, Charlotte's maid, Nellie Goode, appears unexpectedly and sees him. He hurries home, where Charlotte suggests that he hide out. Telephoning Eve's house, he learns from her mother that Eve is rehearsing at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. The police arrive to question him and pursue the runaway Jonathan to the Academy. Eve, who is in love with Jonathan, a longtime friend, believes his story and helps him evade the police. When they arrive at the boathouse where her father, Commodore Gill, lives, Eve asks him to take Jonathan across the channel to France. Later, while an exhausted Jonathan dozes, Gill points out that the bloodstain was smeared on Charlotte's dress, giving the lie to her story, and suggests that they show the dress to the police to prove Jonathan's innocence. When Eve asks Jonathan about the dress, however, he angrily throws it on the fire. Now Eve proposes to try to learn the truth from Charlotte. Against the advice of her father, Eve returns to London and ... +


In London, as budding actress Eve Gill helps a frantic Jonathan Cooper escape from the police, he relates the events that led to his being accused of murder: Actress Charlotte Inwood, Jonathan's lover, arrives at his door, her dress covered in blood, and tells him that she killed her husband during a quarrel. Believing it would be best for Charlotte to perform as usual, Jonathan goes to her house to get her a clean dress. After he collects the dress, he arranges things to look as if a thief broke in and killed Charlotte's husband. As he is leaving, however, Charlotte's maid, Nellie Goode, appears unexpectedly and sees him. He hurries home, where Charlotte suggests that he hide out. Telephoning Eve's house, he learns from her mother that Eve is rehearsing at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. The police arrive to question him and pursue the runaway Jonathan to the Academy. Eve, who is in love with Jonathan, a longtime friend, believes his story and helps him evade the police. When they arrive at the boathouse where her father, Commodore Gill, lives, Eve asks him to take Jonathan across the channel to France. Later, while an exhausted Jonathan dozes, Gill points out that the bloodstain was smeared on Charlotte's dress, giving the lie to her story, and suggests that they show the dress to the police to prove Jonathan's innocence. When Eve asks Jonathan about the dress, however, he angrily throws it on the fire. Now Eve proposes to try to learn the truth from Charlotte. Against the advice of her father, Eve returns to London and waits with the crowd outside Charlotte's house. When the police leave, she follows them into a pub. She then pretends to faint, prompting Detective Wilfred Smith to offer his help. Eve quizzes him about the case, but he reveals nothing. He then offers to accompany her home and invites himself to tea with Eve and her mother the following day. Pretending to be a reporter, Eve approaches Nellie and offers her money to take her place as Charlotte's maid. Now posing as Nellie's cousin Doris, Eve learns that Charlotte claims to have ended her relationship with Jonathan, who then killed her husband out of jealousy. Later, she sees Charlotte kiss her friend, Freddie Williams. Eve returns home to meet Smith, whom she has nicknamed "Ordinary" Smith, for tea. Gill also appears unexpectedly and informs Eve that Jonathan has run away. After a few minutes, Eve returns to the theater to help Charlotte dress, leaving Smith behind, and Gill follows soon thereafter. Jonathan sneaks into the theater, and Eve overhears Charlotte tell him disinterestedly that she and Freddie will arrange for him to leave the country. When Jonathan realizes that Charlotte has been pretending to love him, he lies and says that he did not destroy her dress. Eve then contrives to warn Jonathan that the police are searching for him, and he escapes. Later, Eve and Gill return home to find Jonathan waiting for them. He admits that his love for Charlotte was foolish, but his words fall on deaf ears because Eve has begun to fall in love with Smith. Accompanied by Smith, Eve attends a society garden party, where Nellie demands more money from her. Eve decides to tell Smith everything, but Gill resolves to trick Charlotte into a confession by asking a small boy to present her with a doll whose dress is smeared with blood. His ploy upsets Charlotte, but she does not confess. Smith then discovers the truth about Eve's deception and believes that she was only pretending to be in love with him. Eve explains and reassures Smith that her feelings are sincere. Gill then suggests that Eve try to blackmail Charlotte and goad her into confessing. In a conversation that is broadcast to the police, Charlotte admits she was present when Jonathan killed her husband. The police then bring Jonathan into the theater to confront Charlotte, but he again escapes, and Eve, who still believes he is innocent, helps him. Meanwhile, Smith tells Gill that Jonathan was acquitted for an earlier murder when he claimed that he killed in self-defense. While they are hiding, Jonathan admits that he did commit murder at Charlotte's instigation and now knows that she wanted to be available to marry Freddie. Eve begs Jonathan to turn himself in, but when he threatens to kill her, she calmly leads him into a trap and summons the police. When he again attempts to escape, Jonathan is killed by the falling fire curtain. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.