Lily Spandorf was originally sent 'on location' by the Washington Star newspaper to illustrate the Capitol filming of Advise and Consent for the paper's Sunday pictorial spread. Once she completed that specific assignment, she used her press pass over the next several weeks to continue portraying scenes from the filming.
New York Times correspondent Allen Drury employed his experience as a Capitol Hill reporter to write the novel Advise and Consent. In adapting the novel to film, director Otto Preminger shot on location to produce as realistic a film as possible.
Director Otto Preminger saw the Senate as his toughest audience, and chose actors who would reflect favorably on the senators. In a search for authenticity, Preminger also persuaded a number of Capitol Hill regulars to accept small parts or be extras. He was even able to persuade former Senators Guy Gillette of Iowa and Henry F. Ashurst of Arizona to portray senators in the film.
Preminger had access to the entire Senate wing of the Capitol, but could not film in the Senate Chamber itself. Instead, he updated the set originally constructed for Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
Advise and Consent highlighted the Russell Senate Office Building and the grand Senate Caucus Room on the building's third floor. The tense scenes in this room were among the most dramatic of the film. The room has been the site of many Senate investigations, including the sinking of the Titanic, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and Watergate.
Preminger chose the palatial Washington estate Tregaron as the setting for an important party that explained the motives of the characters in the movie. It was the former home of Marjorie Meriweather Post and her husband Joseph Davies, U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1936 to 1938. It was a fitting location for a film about the Cold War, for Davies had written an influential memoir, Mission to Moscow, at the start of World War II.
Director Preminger filmed at several Washington locations to produce as realistic a film as possible.