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Sunday September 23rd 2018

High Anxiety | 1977

High Anxiety filming location: Hyatt Regency, Embarcadero, San Francisco
High Anxiety location: the vertiginous hotel lobby: Hyatt Regency, Embarcadero, San Francisco

Mel Brooks’affectionate parody of/homage to Alfred Hitchcock doesn't quite live up to the brilliance of Blazing Saddles or Young Frankenstein, though Hitchcock himself reputedly laughed out loud at the tracking shot crashing through the window.

Set in the quintessentially Hitch city of San Francisco, where the hotel lobby with glass lifts that triggers off the acrophobia of Richard Thorndyke (Brooks), is the twenty-storey atrium of the Hyatt Regency San Francisco, 5 Embarcadero Center in San Francisco’s Financial District – which in the Seventies was also seen as the lobby of The Towering Inferno.

High Anxiety filming location: Fort Point, San Francisco
High Anxiety location: the Vertigo homage: Fort Point, San Francisco

The homage to Vertigo was filmed, of course, at Fort Point, beneath the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge. There is no phone box there, of course, but the view is now disfigured by some ridiculously ugly chain-link fence.

The ‘Institute for the Very, Very Nervous’, though, is in Los Angeles. It’s the campus of Mount St Mary’s College, 12001 Chalon Road, Bel-Air, which is just north of Bellagio Road where Hitchcock himself lived, at number 10957.

The park used for The Birds parody, where Brooks was actually splattered with mustard, is Brookside Park, 360 North Arroyo Boulevard, north of the Ventura Freeway toward the Rose Bowl at the western edge of Pasadena.