Vertigo Filming Location: Alfred Hitchcock’s American psychological thriller

Directed and produced by Alfred Hitchcock, Vertigo is about a police officer, John “Scotty” Ferguson, who retires from his duties after developing vertigo and acrophobia. Thanks to an incident at his workplace. Thus, he occasionally finds himself wandering around. Galvin Elster hires him to follow his wife, Madeleine.

It took some time for people to accept the American psychological thriller movie. However, it has become one of the greatest films of all time and a classic Hitchcock film. It surpassed Citizen Kane (1941) to become one of the greatest films of all time.

Vertigo’s reception in England was less friendly. But France gave it a warm welcome. The movie was produced by Alfred J. Hitchcock Productions. Made with $2.5 million, Vertigo grossed $7.3 million internationally. Alfred Hitchcock appeared in a cameo appearance in a gray suit with a trumpet case on the street.

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Vertigo filming locations

Vertigo is based on a novel d’entre les morts by Pierre Boileau and was published in 1954. The movie was shot from September 1957 to December 1957, under the title From Among the Dead. Principal photography began in September in San Francisco.

Mission San Juan Bautista Tower

Scotty discovers that Judy is Gavin’s mistress, and the pair cover up his wife’s murder. Scottie has a fear of heights. So, he tells Judy to go up the tower. There is another scene in the movie where Madeleine falls from the tower. However, the tower was made more dramatic for the movie.

The tower is located in Mission San Juan Bautista, California. Judy Lanini, associate producer, urged Hitchcock to film there. Crew members built a staircase in the studio and presented it as the tower staircase in the movie. The rest was the result of Hitchcock’s trick photography and matte painting at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles.

Mission San Juan Bautista Tower Credit: Reel SF

Golden Gate Bridge

Madeleine, believed to be possessed by Carlotta, jumps into San Francisco Bay. Scotty jumps into the bay to save her. Later he took her to the car shouting her name. Fortunately, he wakes up on film. The scene was filmed at Fort Point, Presidio, under the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge (Credit: Paramount Pictures)

Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Scotty saves Madeleine, and the pair move to Muir Woods, north of San Francisco, according to the movie. There, they talk about Scottie’s supposed possession. The scene was actually filmed at Big Basin Redwoods State Park in Santa Cruz County, nine miles from Boulder Creek.

Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Big Basin Redwoods State Park (Credit: Paramount Pictures)

Hotel Vertigo

Scotty meets Judy, who resembles Madeleine. However, he wants her to change herself to look more like Madeleine. The red-headed woman, Judy, agrees to change herself for Scotty as he promises to love her afterwards. Judy says she lives at the Empire Hotel.
In real life, this is the Hotel Vertigo/York Hotel at 940 Sutter Street, San Francisco. It is located on Lower Nob Hill. Although the hotel is permanently closed, there are banners made for the movie.

Hotel Vertigo
Hotel Vertigo (Credit: Movie Locations)

Cypress Point, Pebble Beach

Madeline and Scotty walk through the Muir Woods to reach the beach. Madeline hugs Scotty, and they kiss each other. The scene was filmed at Cypress Point in Pebble Beach, California. Pebble Beach has a golf course and coastal splendor.

Cypress Point, Pebble Beach
Cypress Point, Pebble Beach (Credit: Paramount Pictures)

Legion of Honor, San Francisco

Madeleine looks at a portrait, and Scotty asks an attendant about the lady in the portrait. The lady appears to be Carlotta. The scene was filmed at The Legion of Honor, an art museum in San Francisco, California. The museum still has many of the portraits featured in the movie. However, Carlotta’s portrait was erased and lost after filming.

Legion of Honor, San Francisco
Legion of Honor, San Francisco (Credit: Paramount Pictures)

St. Joseph’s Hospital

According to the movie, Scotty receives treatment at a sanatorium. This is the real-life St. Joseph’s Hospital, 355 Buena Vista East, which was built in 1928. In 1979, the hospital was closed, and the site was turned into condominiums.

St. Joseph's Hospital
St. Joseph’s Hospital (Credit: Paramount Pictures)

McKittrick Hotel

The McKittrick Hotel featured in the movie is operated as the sports grounds of the Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory School. It was a Victorian mansion with one owner when the movie Vertigo was shot. Now, the school is in Cathedral Hill, California.

McKittrick Hotel
McKittrick Hotel (Credit: Paramount Pictures)

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