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Movie locations

Discussion in 'The Moving Picture' started by BlueTrain, Sep 21, 2017.

  1. BlueTrain

    BlueTrain Call Me a Cab

    The comments in the thread about Film Noir made me think about movie locations that you can actually visit, not counting studios.

    My son, when he first moved to L.A., made a special trip to visit the stairs that were in the Laurel & Hardy short "The Music Box." Similar stairs that were in a Three Stooges short (the one in which they are delivering ice) is somewhere else not too far away but I don't think he visited that location.

    Speaking of stairs, I've never visited the stairs in Georgetown, D.C., that were in the movie "the Exorcist," but I've never seen that movie. The one movie location that I made a point of visiting was in Fawnskin, California, near Big Bear. The location is in the first scene in an obscure semi-sci-fi movie filmed there in the late 1950s. Little is changed but somehow there's no magic in visiting a location like that. Same with visiting a battlefield.
  2. A few off the top of my head, more to follow:
    • The pizza place where "Mystic Pizza" was filmed: okay pizza, not bad, but nothing special
    • In NYC - way too many to name or mention, but a few that stand out:
      • Up until an early '00s (hatefully modern) renovation, the Oak Bar at the Plaza Hotel was like stepping on the set of "North by Northwest" where Cary Grant has a drink before being abducted. Oh, and after a few unsuccessful years as a "modern" bar, the bar closed, but it had always been packed when it looked like it did in "North by Northwest," but somebody, I bet, thought it looked "too old."
      • I saw the filming of the movie "Letters to Julia" when it was filming in Bryant Park (my office was right across the street) and I happened to walk by the day Amanda Seyfried was filming the key Bryant Park scene (that never happens to me)
      • The entrance to the Central Park Zoo where Robert Mitchum and Janet Leigh meet in "Holiday Affair" on Christmas Day - it is remarkably, all but, unchanged in its major architecture and landmarks to this day
      • I lived for awhile 2 blocks from the base of the 59th Street Bridge where a key scene from the very good noir film "The Dark Corner" takes place - easily recognizable despite some surface changes
    • Cardozo Hotel in Miami's South Beach. Here's the funny thing: I went there to see its Art Deco architecture years ago when I was in South Beach and it was only a few weeks ago that I saw the movie "A Hole in the Head" where that hotel, under its movie name The Garden of Eden, is central to most of the movie. Hence, I visited that location before I knew it was a movie's location
    Matt Crunk likes this.
  3. Benzadmiral

    Benzadmiral Call Me a Cab

    In NO, there's the apartment building at Dauphine and Orleans, in the French Quarter. It was used as the exterior of a smaller hotel in the 1967 Hotel, with Rod Taylor and many other stars of the time. (The building is reputed to be haunted. I grew up 1.5 blocks away, and certainly never saw or heard anything coming from it.)

    The cemetery shown in the final scene of 1970's WUSA, with Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, may well be the Holt Cemetery, a sad little potter's field near NO's City Park. The film graveyard has that exact look, with head boards (not stones) whitewashed and hand-lettered in black paint, vases of bedraggled flowers on the graves, etc. In that final scene, a sign is shown: "Graves Must Be Kept Clean or They Will Be Used." I don't know if there really is such a sign in Holt -- but I wouldn't be surprised.

    Two films shot here really capture the NO flavor. One is the 1982 Cat People, and the other is the early Fifties thriller Panic in the Streets. Especially the latter will show you how run down the Quarter was shortly after WWII, and what it looked like when it was a business and (cheap) residential section, not a theme park.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2017
  4. Fort Worth, adjacent the old convention center (which looks like a spaceship) is a small park where much of "Logan's Run" was filmed.

    Sent directly from my mind to yours.
    Edward likes this.
  5. Benzadmiral

    Benzadmiral Call Me a Cab

    In Denver, I think some exteriors from the Al Pacino/Gene Hackman early '70s road-trip drama, Scarecrow, were shot there. IMDb says it was at 539 W. 43rd Ave., which is just SW of the junction of I-70 and I-25. I mention it because a long-time Denver resident told me about the film, and its being shot there. Apparently the house used as an exterior is gone now.

    I was also told when I was in NM that some exteriors for Robert Redford's Milagro Beanfield War were shot in northern New Mexico, on the road between Santa Fe and Taos.
  6. BlueTrain

    BlueTrain Call Me a Cab

    In some films made in the late 1940s and on through the 1950s, there seem to be a lot of run-down locations, both inside and outside, that appear in movies. And sure enough, part of my hometown that I keep mentioning, the part around the old railroad station, had the rundown look--and still does. It was about three blocks long and incredibly enough, is designated as a historic district. To me, it's just old. I believe most of the buildings there date from around 1900, give or take ten years, as that was the boom time for the railroad there. But time has passed it by. The main business district move up the street several blocks to where it was when I lived there. But time didn't stand still and not that part of town is run down, too. I don't think there even is a main business district anymore.
  7. Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley, California used to have an area in the middle for flying model airplanes and landsailing. They built a futuristic-looking military base there for the boot camp scenes in Starship Troopers. They also used to film car commercials there. I definitely recognize those trees which are part of the golf course.

    Last edited: Sep 23, 2017
  8. VERTIGO with James Stewart , several filming locations are easy to find:

    FORT POINT below the Golden Gate Bridge, SF

    Palace of The LEGION of HONOR museum

    Madeline's home Brocklebank Apartments, 1000 Mason Street, San Francisco, California

    Mission Delores, SF

    Palace of Fine Arts, SF

    Mission San Juan Bautista, Ca
    Windsock8e likes this.
  9. Basically, New York's Central Park could be seen as one giant movie set that, when not in use, doubles as a park for New Yorkers.

    It pops up in way too many moves to name or remember. What's almost more fun is when a movie claims to have a scene taking place in Central Park but it isn't - which happens occasionally and looks really wrong to those of us very familiar with the Park.

    As noted in an earlier post, "Holiday Affair" contains one of my favorite Central Park scenes in a movie. "Breakfast at Tiffany" (a fantastic New York City movie overall) has a long and plot-pivoting scene shot there as well. "It Should Happen to You" a movie I just saw has a couple of really good Central Park scenes.

    These older movies also provide a nice visual history of the Park as you see areas you recognize but that have small differences from today in the layout, or structures or something that show the changes that have happened over time.
  10. FF, I've mentioned this here before, but it's worth repeating:

    If you don't already know it, be on the lookout for a book called Celluloid Skyline by James Sanders, published around a decade ago by Knopf. It's a really interesting read by an architect/film scholar about how NYC has been portrayed in films - with tons of details on Hollywood sets and production design - and in turn, how the mythic NYC of the movies has influenced the city itself. No doubt it's out of print now, but it can probably be found at the Strand or the library, or from Amazon.
  11. BlueTrain

    BlueTrain Call Me a Cab

    Any movies made in Chinatown, in San Francisco? It probably isn't the greatest place for shooting a movie but it certainly has atmosphere.
    2jakes likes this.
  12. Agreed, in fact, this is our copy ⇩

  13. Looks just like mine. I should have you known you'd have this covered!
    Fading Fast likes this.
  14. My hometown, Whittier, California, has been used in a number of television and movie productions over the years. Arguably the most notable in semi-recent years is the use of Whittier High School as Hill Valley High School in the Back to the Future movies:


    The angles are different, the building was "dressed" for the movie (i.e., signage was changed, fake street lamps and bicycles were added, etc.), and the bottom photo was taken approximately 30 years after filming. They used other parts of the school in other scenes, but contrary to popular belief most of the "dance" scenes (where George McFly kisses Lorraine for the first time) were filmed elsewhere.

    In the early 1980s another crew was filming a different movie, and while chatting with one of the crew I asked why Whittier was so "popular" for such projects. His response was that time had seemed to pass Whittier by--drive through one neighborhood, and it's like being in the 1930s; drive through another, and it's like the 1940s; drive through another, and it's like the 1960s. Move the modern cars and replace them with era-correct models, and you have an entire city block to film on. It made their jobs easier, and the actual neighborhoods looked far more authentic than studio backlots.

    Sadly, much of that changed when the "Whittier Narrows" earthquake devastated large parts of the city on October 1, 1987. Homes were destroyed, storefronts in the long-standing "Uptown" area collapsed, even a three-level parking structure was flattened. After the rebuilding and retrofitting was done (which took considerably longer than anyone expected; some areas still haven't completely recovered), the city had lost much of it's history and "charm" and filming here became much more infrequent.
    2jakes likes this.
  15. Benzadmiral

    Benzadmiral Call Me a Cab

    Now that I think about it, the film Angel Heart had some exteriors shot here. I believe (since it's been some years since I saw the film) that the story is set in NYC in the 1950s. However, a stretch of Magazine Street, now a trendy shopping district upriver from the French Quarter, stood in for several exteriors in the movie. And with the addition of period cars parked and driving by, it worked very well, as those blocks had not changed very much since the 1950s.

    That was, what, 30 years ago? Now that stretch is home to bistros and coffee shops and trendy clothing stores.
  16. Benzadmiral

    Benzadmiral Call Me a Cab

    Television shows, naturally, since they were located in southern California, used the locations in and around L.A. a lot, and not only for Westerns. An episode of U.N.C.L.E. famously used the Griffith Park Observatory to stand in for a similar observatory "somewhere in the Austrian Alps." Going on location was unusual for that show. Nearly all the episodes used the MGM backlot sets (the New York street, the jungle, etc.), or filmed outdoors on the MGM lot itself, using the Irving Thalberg Building to stand in for a college, for example.

    Farther afield there was -- I forget the name of it, Vasquez Rocks, or something like that? But Star Trek filmed there, and U.N.C.L.E. had the area stand in for the Andes in a story set in Peru. Without looking it up, I dunno if that area is still semi-wild, or if it's been taken over by homes.
  17. BlueTrain

    BlueTrain Call Me a Cab

    It is true that most of the movie ranches have been taken over by development but others that are further away continue as working filming locations. Westerns aren't as popular as they once were, of course.

    The websites about the Columbia/Warner Brother's "ranch" was very interesting, although it's really a backlot. We toured the Warner Brother's studio a few years ago and it was fascinating. We also toured a studio in Orlando and saw the set for Thunder in Paradise, which only lasted a year, I think. A surprising amount of filming is done entirely inside on sound stages. Supposedly Hitchcock liked to do as much as possible inside, so he would have more control over things.

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