May 1st in Seal Beach History

On this date in 1940, it was decided that a movie set would not be built in the tidal flats just northwest of Seal Beach for the Alfred Hitchcock film of “Foreign Correspondent.”

The April 30th edition of the Santa Ana Register warned that on the next day Walter Wanger Productions would start building a road north of Bolsa Avenue and east of the Seal Beach Waterworks to simulate the Dutch countryside, complete with windmills, for their film, “International Correspondent.” The project was estimated to cost $1300, and the film crew was expected to work in town for three weeks.  

Unfortunately, the location scouting had been made during low tide, and the crew discovered that hide tide made the location impractically wet for filming. The only footage from the area that would make it into the actual film would be some second unit shots of a hat being blown along the flats into a channel of water.

Here’s a portion of the windmill scene that would have been filmed in Seal Beach with some quick inserts of the hat in Seal Beach (it’s a plot point, but if you blink you’ll miss it):

– Michael Dobkins

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