Although the Washington estate Tregaron had been chosen as the site of the social scenes, it still required a great deal of redecorating before it could be a movie set.
More than 400 Washington socialites, politicians, and members of the diplomatic corps volunteered to portray themselves at the function. For their efforts, the standard $25 daily salary was donated to a charity of their choice.
Furniture, paintings, and other props were installed in Tregaron to give it just the right appearance. Preminger, center, directs the crew while Charles Laughton, left, looks on.
The Senate minority leader (Will Geer) and Senator Seab Cooley (Laughton) participate in a bipartisan game of poker at Tregaron. Moments later the senators learn that Senator Brigham Anderson (Murray) has committed suicide.
Although Lily Spandorf worked primarily in black and white for the Washington Star, she also created some works in color. This gouache (a type of watercolor) of Tregaron is one of only two color works she did of the filming.
Sketch made in 1961 during the Washington filiming of the movie Advise and Consent.
Senator Seab Cooley (Laughton) and Senator Bob Munson (Pidgeon) descend the columned steps of Tregaron.
Being an extra in a film was more difficult than many of the volunteers imagined. From 7 p.m. until 2 a.m. the participants had to endure a “party” with non-alcoholic drinks, where they could not smoke (unless they had already started, in which case they were not permitted to stop!), and which they could not leave.
The daughter of the Indian ambassador was an extra in the party scene. Henry Fonda is seated at right.
This view of the Tregaron party features the Belgian ambassador's daughter on the far right.
Otto Preminger cultivated his reputation for having a terrible temper. Years later, artist Lily Spandorf reminisced about this scene: “Preminger must have been in one of his good moods, because he was talking to a little girl....”