High Anxiety movie cover Movie Locations Guide

Where was High Anxiety filmed?

1977

About High Anxiety

In the opening High Anxiety film scene (spoiler alert!), Dr. Richard Thorndyke is chauffeured by his driver Brophy to the Psycho-Neurotic Institute for the Very, Very Nervous. Here, he will start a new job, replacing the former Dr. Ashley who passed away both suspiciously and suddenly. He is warmly welcomed by the hospital’s staff Dr. Philip Wentworth, Dr. Charles Montague, and Nurse Charlotte Diesel. Thorndyke also reconnects with his former mentor Professor Vicktor Lillolman.

Thorndyke notices unusual sounds emanating from Diesel's room, and Brophy accompanies him to investigate. Diesel tells them the noises were coming from the TV, but in truth, it was her practicing BDSM with Montague. The following morning. Thorndyke is awakened by a light coming through this window from the direction of the violent ward. Montague and Thorndyke find the source of the light, a patient named Arthur Brisbane who is convinced he is a dog.

Wentworth desperately wants to flee the institute and argues with Diesel. She releases him, and he drives home, and his radio blares rock music at deafening levels. Unable to get out of his car, he dies from a combination of an ear hemorrhage and stroke.

Thorndyke and Brophy go to San Francisco for a psychiatric convention. He quickly discovers that his room at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco is on the top floor, a problem for a man suffering from “high anxiety.”

Victoria Brisbane explodes into Thorndyke’s hotel room, asking for assistance getting her father Arthur released from the institute. She tells Thorndyke that Diesel and Montague are not being honest about the patients’ conditions to bilk millions of dollars from their families. He concludes that Dr. Ashley was killed for uncovering Diesel and Montague’s schemes.

Diesel and Montague hire a man named Braces who was responsible for both Ashley and Wentworth’s deaths. His role is to impersonate Thorndyke and shoot someone in the lobby of the hotel. Thorndyke is tasked with proving he is innocent. He discovers Brophy took a photo of the shooting, and at the time the image was captured, he was in an elevator, thus proving his innocence.

Braces discovers Thorndyke on the phone and attempts to throttle him, but Thorndyke murders him with a piece of glass from the phone booth’s window. Thorndyke and Victoria return to rescue Brophy and notice Montague and Diesel have kidnapped the real Arthur Brisbane and are taking him to a tower to murder him.

Thorndyke's fear of heights keeps him from ascending the tower’s stairs, but with the assistance of Lillolman, he is able to overcome his high anxiety. Thorndyke pushes Norton out a window, rescuing Brisbane. Diesel attacks Thorndyke but plummets out the window, laughing maniacally and appearing to ride a broom. Montague surrenders and then is knocked out by a trapdoor.

City Locations

Northern California: Presidio of San Francisco; Fort Point: Hyatt Regency Embarcadero, Fort Point; San Francisco

Location Types

American, House, NatureScapes, Hotels/Motels, Hospitals/Medical

Location Styles

Americana/Anywhere America, Cabin, Classic Car, Modern Building

High Anxiety Locations

Filmed in 1977, High Anxiety is the brainchild of well-known actor/producer/director Mel Brooks who plays the lead character in the film. The cast of High Anxiety brings together the same ensemble team featured in many of Brooks’ most beloved movies and includes Cloris Leachman, Madeline Kahn, and Harvey Korman. The movie was intended to be a parody of several things including Freud’s style of therapy and Alfred Hitchcock’s movies.

The filming locations for High Anxiety are mostly located in Northern California. Among the places used as High Anxiety film sets are the Presidio and the Hyatt Regency Embarcadero.

Love a good slapstick comedy? If so, any Mel Brooks movie is sure to delight. If you are among Mel Brooks’ biggest fans, why not plan a trip to visit the filming locations for High Anxiety? You’re sure to have a great time!

Fun Fact:

The film High Anxiety was intended as a parody of some of the most popular films of the director Alfred Hitchcock including Vertigo, Psycho, The Birds, and Spellbound

Thorndyke is treated for his fear of heights scene in High Anxiety

Stage 14, 20th Century Fox Studios - 10201 Pico Blvd., Century City, Los Angeles, California

Thorndyke is laying on a psychiatrist’s couch receiving treatment for his high anxiety from his mentor Dr. Lillolman. He awakens from a dream where he is falling, and Dr. Lillolman says to him, “Fight it, fight it, you must fight it, do you hear me? Fight your fears! The only way to overcome high anxiety is to fight it!” He begins repeating, “Fight it! Fight it!” and rises from the couch and begins dancing around and throwing punches like a prizefighter, knocking down Dr. Lillolman.

One of very few High Anxiety action scenes filmed on a studio lot, you can easily visit the spot where this footage was captured by taking bus lines 5 or 7.

Thorndyke questions patient files scene in High Anxiety

Mount St Mary’s College, 12001 Chalon Road, Bel-Air, California

In this High Anxiety scene, Thorndyke is in his office awaiting a meeting with Dr. Montague. Montague is buzzed in for a meeting with Thorndyke. He apologizes for arriving late to their appointment. Thorndyke expresses to him that he notices some case histories indicate there is nothing wrong with some of the patients, yet the hospital continues to “treat” them and take money from their families. Thorndyke indicates that some patients appear normal at times and at other times show signs of severe mental illness.

They call in a patient named Mr. Cartwright to examine together. Thorndyke interviews the patient and feels he has recovered sufficiently to be released from the hospital. Montague uses elastic bands to shoot the patient in the head without his knowledge or Thorndyke’s. Cartwright assumes it is his phantom pain resuming, and that he is not “cured” after all. Montague unleashes another elastic, hitting Cartwright’s body then inserts a pair of fake fangs and looms over the patient, reminding him of his fear of werewolves. In one of the funniest scenes in High Anxiety, the following conversation takes place.

Cartwright: I think the pain is going away now.

Thorndyke: Oh, good. Breathe deeply.

Cartwright: I feel perfect. {Montague hits Cartwright with another elastic}. OWWWWWWW!!!!!

Bus routes 602 and 761 will take you right to this former High Anxiety production location. You can also drive yourself, call a taxi, or use a rideshare app.

Thorndyke speaks at the psychiatry conference scene in High Anxiety

Stage 14, 20th Century Fox Studios - 10201 Pico Blvd., Century City, Los Angeles, California, USA

Thorndyke gives a speech at the psychiatry conference held at the Hyatt Regency hotel in San Francisco. His peers are given an opportunity to ask him questions.

Dr. Colbert: You mentioned in your address that penis envy should be deemed an antiquated psychiatric concept. Could you expand on that?

Thorndyke: Of course. Let us remember that the term penis envy was created in a predominantly male atmosphere…and that…

Unknown doctor, entering the lecture hall with several young children: Excuse me. Sorry I’m late. Forgive me for bringing the kids. I couldn’t get a sitter.

In one of two scenes filmed at the 20th Century Fox Studios, you can enjoy a tour of the grounds during a visit to this iconic film set.

The Psycho parody scene in High Anxiety

Hyatt Regency Hotel - 5 Embarcadero Center, San Francisco, California

The concierge at the Hyatt Regency Hotel informs Dennis, the bellhop, that Thorndyke has placed another request for a newspaper. Dennis, sick of being nagged by Thorndyke, throws a little temper tantrum.

Thorndyke enters the shower in his hotel room. Eerie music plays. As he begins to soap and rinses off his body, a figure approaches the transparent shower curtain. In a mock attack, the bellhop Dennis repeatedly stabs Thorndyke with the newspaper, yelling in a high-pitched voice, “Here’s your paper! Here’s your paper! Here’s your paper!” before throwing it at him and leaving. The ink swirls down the shower drain.

Thorndyke closes the scene with these words, “That kid gets no tip.”

To reach the Hyatt Regency Hotel, the site of this well-known High Anxiety scene, you have lots of public transit options from which to choose. To travel by bus, you can take lines 1, 14, 14R, 38R, 5, 6, J, or NL. By train, follow line LTD 5. The BART Blue, Red, and Yellow lines also take you to this destination. The light rail lines M and N are also good transportation options.

The hotel lobby scene in High Anxiety

Hyatt Regency Hotel - 5 Embarcadero Center, San Francisco, California

This High Anxiety film set is none other than the Hyatt Regency hotel lobby in Southern California’s San Francisco. Brophy calls Thorndyke’s name and snaps a photo. Shortly thereafter, Braces comes on the scene dressed in the same attire as Thorndyke and carrying a gun. He shoots one of the hotel employees in the stomach and then again in the head. People panic and race for the exit while the real Dr. Thorndyke exits the elevator and is handed the gun by his imposter Braces. They exchange this little dialogue.

Braces: Dr. Thorndyke?

Thorndyke: Yes?

Braces: Here’s a little present for you. {He thrusts the gun into Thorndyke’s hand}.

Thorndyke: What is this? Who are you?

Braces pulls off his mask to real his true identity, leaving Thorndyke with a myriad of questions and the gun in his hand.

You can easily find this High Anxiety filming location simply by walking through the front doors of San Francisco’s Hyatt Regency Embarcadero.

Victoria and Thorndyke escape the hotel scene in High Anxiety

Rose Bowl - 1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena, California

Victoria and Thorndyke arrive by car just outside the tower grounds. Victoria is overwhelmed and has an emotional outburst, saying.

“Oh, Richard! Richard! The world has gone crazy. I mean nothing makes any sense anymore. I mean don’t know what to believe and what not to believe. My life is just all topsy-turvy. I mean one minute you’re singing love songs and the next minute you’re pumping bullets into an innocent man. And then it is not you. It is the other Thorndyke. I mean how much more can a girl take? I mean my nerves are cracking, I feel like I am going to die! I think I am going to explode!”

Thorndyke hugs her and tells her to calm down, and the two try to sort out a way to prove Thorndyke’s innocence.

To visit this High Anxiety filming location, take bus lines 256 or 51. On the other hand, you can also get there by private vehicle, cab service, or a rideshare app.

Conclusion

One of the most memorable comedies of modern times, High Anxiety is sure to bring a laugh to even the most stoic movie viewers. With a landscape that covers some of the most beautiful outdoor attractions, SoCal has to offer as well as the iconic Presidio and the Hyatt Regency hotel, the backdrop for this movie perfectly sets the tone for this comic spoof.

If Mel Brooks is one of your all-time favorite directors, producers, and actors, then a vacation to visit High Anxiety filming locations is the perfect trip for you! Our comprehensive guide will be an invaluable help in planning your itinerary.