In "Hollywood Babble On" Marlene Dietrich is quoted as saying, "I did one film for Alfred Hitchcock. Jane Wyman was in it. I heard she'd only wanted to do it if she were billed above me, and she got her wish. Hitchcock didn't think much of her. She looks too much like a victim to play a heroine, and God knows she couldn't play a woman of mystery - that was *my* part. Miss Wyman looks like a mystery nobody has bothered to solve."
The scenes where Jane Wyman first enters Marlene Dietrich's home undercover she introduces her self as Doris Tynsdale, but Dietrich refers to her first as Phyliss, then Elsie, then Doris, then lastly Mavis. It was classic dialogue play for Hitchcock.
During filming, food was still strictly rationed in London. Alfred Hitchcock circumvented this problem by having steaks and roasts flown in from the United States to be prepared and cooked at some of the city's finest restaurants. He treated himself and his leading ladies Marlene Dietrich and Jane Wyman to frequent, extravagant dinners. The director told the actresses that "Ladies must be well fed."
Part of the reason that Alfred Hitchcock wanted to make this film was so that he could spend time with his daughter, Patricia Hitchcock. The director had been based in California for several years and his daughter had been enrolled as a drama student in the Royal Academy in London. By producing the film in London Alfred Hitchcock was able to spend time with his daughter and even offered her a small part in the film.
Because Patricia Hitchcock (played Chubby Bannister in this film) bore a resemblance to the star Jane Wyman, her father Alfred Hitchcock asked her for doubling for Wyman in the scenes that required "danger driving" in the beginning of the film.
In an extraordinary move for the normally controlling director, Alfred Hitchcock provided Marlene Dietrich an exceptional amount of creative control for the film, particularly in how she chose to light her scenes. Hitchcock knew that Dietrich had learned a great deal of the art of cinematography from Josef von Sternberg and Günther Rittau, and allowed her to work with this film's cinematographer, Wilkie Cooper, to light and set her scenes the way that she wished.
One of the songs that Marlene Dietrich sings in this film is Édith Piaf's signature song, "La Vie en Rose." Dietrich and Piaf were close personal friends, and Piaf granted Dietrich permission to use the song in the film.
According to Alfred Hitchcock, he ran into great difficulties with leading actress Jane Wyman. Wyman was required to appear frumpy and inelegant when she goes incognito as a maid, but the actress was reluctant to appear so plain when Marlene Dietrich appeared so glamorous. The director recounted that Wyman would cry when she would see Dietrich looking glamorous on set when she herself was in her maid disguise. Hitchcock said that she could not accept the idea of her character being frumpy or dowdy. Much to the director's chagrin, Wyman would secretly put on makeup or otherwise try to improve her appearance, thus failing to maintain her character.
Alfred Hitchcock gave his daughter Patricia Hitchcock's character the decidedly unflattering name "Chubby Bannister." In addition to the joke, the name was a term of endearment according to the director. Alfred said that he liked calling Patricia "Chubby Bannister" because she was "a girl you could always lean on."
Alfred Hitchcock has said that this film is more than a murder mystery, it is a critical examination of the acting craft. He said that this is a subject that long fascinated him, and this film provided him with the opportunity to explore it.
Cole Porter's song, "The Laziest Gal in Town", ran afoul of censors for its sexual innuendo and for being too risqué. Several lines from the song were reworded, and the tamer version appears in the film.
According to Marlene Dietrich's autobiography, she began a heated love affair with Michael Wilding while making this film. Both Dietrich and Wilding were married, although Dietrich had been estranged from her husband for many years.
Originally, filming for this production was supposed to take place on location on the English coast, however prolonged and exceptionally bad weather precluded this. Filming was instead moved to a sound stage instead, at Elstree Studios.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
This movie is significant because it broke a long-established cinematic convention that flashbacks were always a true account of earlier events. In this film, though, the opening flashback turns out to be a lie, a device which at first baffled then enraged cinemagoers who felt that they had in some way been cheated.
Alfred Hitchcock built the plot of this film based on lies - one after another. The characters are telling one lie after another from the beginning of this film. But Hitchcock built up the last part of this film by revealing the truths - one after another. The truths the major characters and the audience didn't know.
The 'false story' flashback at the beginning is 13 minutes long and the only one in the film. It begins and ends each time with Jonathan Cooper telling Eve 'what happened' and a transitional dissolve. The flashback itself features distinct visual techniques that appear artificial, but still work within the realism of the film: It is not made obvious that the character is lying.
Alfred Hitchcock's Stage Fright is very different from the novel "Outrun the constable" by selwyn jepson. Alfred Hitchcock made his own adaptation for this film with his wife Alma Reville and Screenwriter Whitfield Cook. In the novel, Freddie Williams is the killer and there is no false flashback. In the novel, the role of Commodore Gill was also a small role. Alfred Hitchcock added a biblical reference in this film where "Eve" gets deceived in the "beginning" of the film.