Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Wrong Man” was a film he enjoyed doing, experimenting with a narrative genre he had never attempted before. His narration in the prologue marks the only time he ever spoke in any of his movies. The film, starring Henry Fonda and Vera Miles, premiered in New York City on Dec. 22 1956.
Fonda played a nightclub musician and family man accused of an armed robbery he did not commit. We watch him being humiliated in minute detail by the process of justice that is supposed to protect him.
In 1956 the American motion picture industry was in financial straits. Warner Bros., competing with television, filmed the movie on location in Queens andManhattan, shooting in black and white with a newsreel quality to the footage.
Several sites were considered in the Bronx and Brooklyn, but Hitchcock selected 40-24 78 St. in Elmhurst, near the Jackson Heights border, to be Fonda’s home. The house was built in 1920 and owned by Harold Greenberg, who leased it out to Warner Bros. and stayed with relatives during the shooting. The famous home was sold to one Enrique Martinez in the early 1960s. Public records show it has been owned by Phairoda Sawetpibul since 2005.
The movie’s on-set technical advisor on how the New York Police Department works was Retired NYPD Sgt. George Groves (1901-1990), who resided on Booth Street in Rego Park.
The city has always been a favorite of Hollywood producers and directors. As they would put it, “there is a flavor and feel that cannot be reproduced on any artificial movie set anywhere.”