North by northwest house

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snoopy
Posts: 26
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 2:21 pm
Location: La Neuvelle les Scey - France

North by northwest house

Post by snoopy »

Hi everybody

I'm a french guy and I'm 38, for many years I'm really fond of contemporary mid-century american houses of 50's, 60's and 70's. According to me, the beautiful house I know is Fallingwater from FLW, but I also love houses of Richard Neutra, Pierre Koenig and others architects of the same style...

Since I saw for the first time the movie North by northwest (title "La mort aux trousses" in France) I really falled in love with this awesome house that we can see at the end of the movie.
Image

When I didn't have internet, I wasn't able to know where this extraordinary house can be situed, who have designed it, etc... Today I know that this house doesn't exist, but I decided to try to draw what it could be in reality. and maybe if one day I would get enough money... build it ! I have already made a first try but I'm not satisfied, as soon as it possible I'll show your what I've done.

This is the reason why I desperetely try to get some informations about this house, is there anybody here who can help me, maybe show me his own plans of this house, give me some informations, pictures, weblinks of Hitchcock's movie... In France it's impossible to get useful informations...

Thanks you in advance for the help you will bring me.

Jeff Myers
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Post by Jeff Myers »

Actually from the documentary on the North by Northwest DVD the house was built in full scale on a Hollywood sound stage. They literally could pan around the model it was a real house. From what I have heard is that Wright was asked to design the house but he overpriced his fee and they didn't go through with it so the set designers had to design and build it. In the interior I have seen hexagonal stools in the right hand corner of the screen, I guess harkening to Wright?
I have a few mobile phone photos I took while watching the movie. Hitchcock designed very interesting sets,sometimes very technical challenged sets like in Rope.
JAT
Jeff T

Reidy
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Post by Reidy »

This has a lot of information:

http://www.jetsetmodern.com/modatmovies.htm

One hears the same story (he didn't want the job, so he deliberately set a price he knew the studio wouldn't pay) more often about The Fountainhead. The only source for this is a 1945 article by George Nelson; I've never seen letters, public statements or the like, by Wright or anyone close to him, to document it.

Possibly MGM, or some library or private collection, still owns the drawings. That would probably require a trip to the US.

snoopy
Posts: 26
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 2:21 pm
Location: La Neuvelle les Scey - France

Post by snoopy »

:D Thanks you for this link but I already know it, I also discovered a website dedicated to the storyboards of Hitchcock's movies:
http://filmmakeriq.com/2010/11/hitchcoc ... sic-films/

I found this drawings but useless to tell you that making detailled plans with only this kind of thing is very difficult !
Image

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Hmm -- well, that's more than we've seen of the design until now. Remember that the only things necessary to the design of the set were the angles and views required by the script. Garage, kitchen, most bedrooms, baths, etc were never drawn, I'm confident.

So, if you like this house, you'll have to fill in the blanks as you see fit. There are some nice details among the stills that we have from the movie: the balcony outside the bedroom, glazing detail, etc. But it's purely a fantasy -- and hardly a work of architecture . . .

http://art4logic.blogspot.com/2012/02/v ... hwest.html

SDR

snoopy
Posts: 26
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 2:21 pm
Location: La Neuvelle les Scey - France

Post by snoopy »

:) I'm happy to notice that I taught you something you didn't know before, tomorrow I'll post the first plans I did a long time ago, my own interpretation of the fact that could be this house.

I often carefully saw the end of the film and every time I wonder if there are incoherences between the exterior views, the interior views, and the general organization of the house plans ???... An example ? If you look at the first picture above, and you compare with the one below, you can see that the living room seems to be less wide than the exterior view; the french windows have no the same cut on the two pictures...
Image

Jeff Myers
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Post by Jeff Myers »

When I first saw the table and hexagonal stools and the hassocks I first thought of Wright.
Now why didn't they just use the origami chair?
JAT
Jeff T

Reidy
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Post by Reidy »

A Summer Place and House on Haunted Hill used real Wright exteriors (Walker and Ennis respectively), but, as here, the interiors didn't match - probably more egregiously than in the case of NXNW.

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

Hollywood rarely spends more money on sets than they need to. Even for Tara in "Gone With The Wind," a few columns were placed in front of an MGM backlot building for an exterior shot, then the rest of the house was filled in by the art department after shooting.

Two movies with full-scale houses built to be destroyed are "Zabriske Point" (1970; a $7M movie that grossed less than $1M), in which a house in the desert is blown to smithereens, and one of the "Lethal Weapons" franchise in which a full-scale replica of Lautner's "Rainbow" House was brought down by Mel Gibson, a cable and a winch.

Hollywood is very casual about accuracy. In "House On Haunted Hill," exterior shots of the titular structure are of Ennis, while interior shots completely ignore the house. Same with "Female" (1933) with Ruth Chatterton, Ennis exteriors, and Warner Bros. studio interiors. One exterior shot done on a sound stage placed a swimming pool where the car court is. I think this was the first time a FLW house was used in a movie. That various shots in "NBN" don't quite jibe is not surprising.

"North By Northwest" is, in the end, an elaborate romcom. All the McGuffins used throughout the movie are just devices to get Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint together.

Jeff Myers
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Post by Jeff Myers »

I will have to find a clip because I do swear they made a full scale model of the house.
In the making of documentary they said they built the house and recounted how fun it was to move the camera around the model as if it were built in Rapid City.
They built a concrete Mount Rushmore since they couldn't use the location itself. There is one thing I didn't know before Eve shoots Roger Thornhill in the restaurant if you look closely a kid covers his ears before the gun goes off.
JAT
Jeff T

snoopy
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Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 2:21 pm
Location: La Neuvelle les Scey - France

Post by snoopy »

Roderick Grant wrote: Two movies with full-scale houses built to be destroyed are "Zabriske Point" (1970; a $7M movie that grossed less than $1M), in which a house in the desert is blown to smithereens, and one of the "Lethal Weapons" franchise in which a full-scale replica of Lautner's "Rainbow" House was brought down by Mel Gibson, a cable and a winch.
I'm very surprised because i've been heard that it was a model of a real house which have been blown up :?: :?: In all case I also do love this house because I find it looks like FLW design, generaly I love cantilever houses...

Jeff, concerning the boy with fingers in his ears, I read recently that Hitchcock found that so funny, then he decided to keep the scene in the movie :lol: For the house they built I would really like to find photos or anything else...

I'm going to make new plans of this house, but when I saw the copies-screen I actually have, I think I'm going to have to show imagination, because there are many nonsenses... Look at the two first pictures below, the balcony seems to stop at the end of Eve's room, confirmed by the second picture where we can see the end of the balcony with a wooden beam down basin on a stone post:
Image
Image

But later, when Vandamm, Leonard and Eve go away from the house, this one has a balcony on all the lenght of the house, and the wooden beam or stone post have disappeared, someone can explain please ???!!!!
Image

Jeff Myers
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Post by Jeff Myers »

I think the art department messed up on the last photo you show snoopy. I will have to watch the movie documentary,and also see if they have photos.

at snoopy: Hitchcock had a fondness for a little added humor in his movies.
JAT
Jeff T

SDR
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Post by SDR »

The last image is clearly not a photo but a painting. The car is a dead give-away, and the stonework is bad. This was a backdrop for the escape scene.

Hitchcock used such matte paintings a lot -- there's a harbor-area backdrop in "Marnie" which is so patently fake-looking that it's ridiculous.

SDR

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

No matter how complete a set is, there is no way that anything more than might show in the finished product would be constructed. The shots of the NBN house show limited areas of the interior, so nothing inside that does not show would have been built or even planned. Moreover, the stone in that set was just plastic, a noxious concoction that smells up the entire corner of the lot (at least at Paramount).

The "Zabriske Point" house was shown blowing up from a distance, so no interior detail was needed. The "Lethal Weapon" house also was shown only from the downhill side for the demolition. If I remember correctly, some interior shots were done in the actual house ... which they did not destroy.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

I wondered about the faux stonework on NBN set. It's certainly the most accomplished part of the whole ensemble -- both as to design and to fabrication, wouldn't you say ? I'm going to look, now, for repeats in the pattern . . .

SDR

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